Meaghan is the Youth Services Librarian at the Sparta Public Library in Sparta, New Jersey.

Instagram of the Week – April 27

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

Showing off those new books and media!

Spring is in the air and new books and media items are popping up on our shelves. Now, how do we help our teens pick them and take them home? It’s interesting to see the variation in library posts that spread the word about new materials. Some post photos as soon as those delivery boxes are unpacked or as the books are nearly finished with processing. Others share a photo of all of the books in the new section or highlight one title with a brief summary or review. Participating in weekly columns such as #bookfacefriday and #fridayreads or April’s spine poetry contests can be another way to spotlight new titles in the collection. In addition to drumming up interest for new materials, these posts provide a great opportunity to remind our patrons that items can be placed on hold.

How do you show off your new materials? Have you found an approach that generates the most interest? Share with us in the comments section below!

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Instagram of the Week – April 6

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

In the past few days, not only have we had to flip our calendars, but the seasons have transitioned and spring has sprung! Are you in the process of switching over your book displays and bulletin boards? This week we’re sharing some fun display ideas from libraries and librarians on Instagram. Focusing on “April showers” is popular as well as gardening, spring creatures, and spring cleaning. April displays also provide an opportunity to highlight monthly themes such as National Poetry Month, National Humor Month, and Autism Awareness Month.

In addition to providing inspiration for new displays, spring can be a great time to spice up social media accounts with a new series or game. As our teens are heading outside for spring sports and activities, social media can be a great way to keep them engaged with the library when they’re on the go. To encourage patrons to interact with the library on Instagram, some libraries post fun trivia questions using emojis, pieces of text or illustrations, or clues that highlight a specific area or collection of the library. Creating a unique hashtag for the community to share images of their reading and showing a side of librarianship not usually witnessed at the service desk (such as mugs used by staff or their favorite snacks), will help patrons learn more about staff members without being present in the library. There are also a number of popular hashtags that are widely used by libraries and patrons alike that are specific to days of the week such as #bookfacefriday in which the face on a book cover is photographed over one’s own or #tbt to share an image for Throwback Thursday. Hover over the images below to see the hashtags libraries have created for weekly series posts.

Have an awesome spring display idea? Created your own hashtags for your library? Developed social media games for your patrons? We want to hear about it! Share with us in the comments section below.

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Instagram of the Week – March 30

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

It’s that time of year when public, school, and academic libraries start to feel the madness — the book madness, that is!  To coincide with the March Madness basketball tournament, many libraries are hosting their own tournament with brackets of books. Frequently called Literary March Madness or Book Madness, librarians pit books against one another and ask library users to vote for their favorite titles. The sky is the limit when it comes to organizing brackets as the examples below spotlight different genres or categories (teen books vs. banned books, humor vs. local writers), sports books in general, staff picks, or pit popular characters against each other. When it comes to the voting process, there is also a bit of variation with some libraries opting for traditional handwritten bracket sheets and others heading online via social media, Google forms, or Survey Monkey.

Is you library participating in the big book dance and hosting a literary tournament? We want to hear from you! How do you go about choosing which books to include? Do you set up the pairings yourself or are you a fan of an online bracket generator?  Which method of submitting votes have you found works best for your teens? Do you change your categories from year to year to keep it interesting?

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Instagram of the Week – March 23

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

On Saturday, March 21, over 130 locations throughout all 21 counties of New Jersey participated in the inaugural New Jersey Makers Day. From public libraries and museums to businesses and schools or youth organizations, each site celebrated maker culture by hosting events that promote making, tinkering, and STEM-based learning. Presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on activities introduced attendees to local makerspaces and provided an opportunity to interact with new technologies such as 3D printers, littleBits and Makey Makey kits, and computer programming. A wide variety of workshops were offered in which participants could try their hand at making things such as light bulbs, balancing toys, jewelry, duct tape bags, robots, and sculptures as well as learn the basics of sewing, gardening, origami, woodworking, car maintenance, and more! For more information on Makers Day and to see a list of activities provided by participating sites, visit the Makers Day website: http://njmakersday.org/

Similarly, just a week prior to Makers Day, Teen Tech Week took place from March 8-14 with the theme “Libraries are for Making.” Aimed at helping teens develop digital literacy skills and demonstrating the value libraries can provide for non-print resources and access to technology, this week also provides an opportunity to showcase all the library has to offer in a collaborative and hands-on environment. Many fun programs were held this year and shared on Instagram including a technology petting zoo where teens can interact with different products, using 3D pens, making solar powered cars, and a retro gaming night with older gaming consoles.

Did your library participate in NJ Makers Day or Teen Tech Week? Which types of programs and technology did you offer? How did you get teens involved? Did they volunteer and help ensure programs ran smoothly or share their interests with the community by conduction demonstrations? Did you collaborate with other local organizations or businesses? Share with us in the comments section below!

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Instagram of the Week – March 2

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

This week we’re focusing on school libraries and media centers. From board games to book dominos and book clubs to volunteer opportunities, school libraries can provide a place for students to have fun and unwind during free periods or before and after school. Prominent displays are one way to grab students’ attention and connect them with books and library services with which they may unfamiliar. Book themed bulletin boards can also call attention to library materials or can drum up interest for upcoming events.

We’ve included a few examples below, but we want to hear from you! Do you offer before and after school programs for your students? What’s the coolest display you’ve put together? Which bulletin board theme has been most popular? Do your teens give you input or decorate for you?

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Instagram of the Week – February 23

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

This past Thursday, February 19 marked the beginning of the 2015 Chinese New Year. Also referred to as the Spring Festival and based on a lunar calendar, each New Year is associated with an animal of the Chinese zodiac. Due to different translations, 2015 is either represented as the year of the sheep, ram, or goat. Regardless of which animal they opted to go for, many libraries participated in this year’s celebrations by offering a spectrum of community programs ranging from storytime for kids, activities and crafts for teens, author visits, and large-scale celebrations. Through collaborations with local businesses and organizations, some libraries and museums offered in-house festivities complete with dragon or lion dances, music, food, performers, artists, and red envelopes or oranges for good luck. Did your library host a Chinese New Year program or event this past week? What types of activities were offered and how did you get your teens involved? Share with us in the comments section below.

In addition to Chinese New Year celebrations, February has also brought with it some frosty weather that has us counting down the days until summer. While the photo-based nature of Instagram makes it a great platform for engaging patrons in conversation about shared weather experiences, it also doubles as a way to quickly and easily inform patrons about delayed openings or closures. What ways have you found to be most successful in disseminating weather-related information to your patrons? Read the captions below to see the catching ways that some libraries have informed patrons of changes to their hours of operation.

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Instagram of the Week – February 2

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform. Thursday, January 29 was New York Public Library’s #libraryshelfie day during which book lovers worldwide snapped photos of their bookshelves and shared them on Instagram. From library shelves and to-be-read bedside stacks to pets with books and color coded shelving, shelfies of all sorts were spotlighted. This week we’ve collected the posts of several libraries that shared photos of their YA collections. Did you or your library participate this year?

It’s hard to believe that February is already here! Will you be doing any special displays for Valentine’s Day?  Blind Date with a Book displays are always popular, but we found a few red-themed ideas as well (one of which provides an awesome use for those leftover bookmarks).

Instagram of the Week – January 5

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

Happy New Year! For many, the changing year brings with it a list of resolutions. What can we do for those who have made it a goal to read more books? For starters, we can share reading challenges with our teen patrons or create our own for our communities. The 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge has users set a goal of a specific number of titles to read, but other sources like Popsugar, Book Riot, and the TBR (To Be Read) Jar Challenge give category guidelines in which readers select a title of their choice.  Others, like Epic Reads’ 365 Days of YA reading calendar and YALSA’s 2015 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge (which counts toward the upcoming 2015 Hub Reading Challenge), ask participants to read a number of books from a provided list. Either way, these reading challenge avenues provide inspiration for creating your own reading challenge for your teens. Check out Random House of Canada’s year-long Reading Bingo Challenge (one general card and one specific to YA) — fun and motivating!

Another way to engage teens in a discussion of their reading is through book photo challenges. Offered monthly, these challenges ask users to take a book-related photo a day and post it on social media with the corresponding hashtags. The sky is the limit when it comes to daily photo tasks! Engaging library users in this type of discussion can provide clues to collection development and potential programming.

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Instagram of the Week – December 22

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

Embarking on a new social media platform to engage your library users can be a tough decision. Which platform to use? Who will be in charge of posting? How can we get users to follow us? What do our followers want to see in our posts? However, when it comes to engaging teens on Instagram, there appears to be a split — some libraries have accounts dedicated just to teens while others include posts for teens in an general library account alongside posts for adults and from children’s events. How do you decide which path to take?

If your library posts images for teens on Instagram, whether it be through a general or teen-specific account, how did you come to decide which approach to take? What is the division of responsibility among staff when it comes to posting? How frequently are posts made? And, perhaps more importantly, how are things working out? Any words of wisdom to librarians thinking of branching into Instagram?

 

Have a topic you’d like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.

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Instagram of the Week – December 8

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform. A new month with a new season approaching can only mean one thing — new book displays! From fireplaces Catching Fire to snowmen and book trees, these displays were snow cool that we just had to share. What types of displays are you putting together this month? Do your teens have a role is putting everything together?

It’s also the time of year for “Best of” book lists. The 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards were recently announced as were Epic Reads’ 2014 Shimmy Award Winners. YALSA announced the finalists of both the William C. Morris and Excellence in Nonfiction Awards and School Library Journal presented their list of the 70 best books of 2014. Are you using social media to promote these titles and educate teens about these awards? If so, tell us how in the comments section below.

To view this week’s Instagram images, please follow this link: Instagram of the Week – December 8

Have you come across a Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you’d like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.