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

This week’s Instagram roundup serves two purposes: to showcase the fun things happening in libraries as the holiday season comes to a close and to provide some inspiration for a teen Instagram takeover. It’s hard to scroll through Instagram without seeing an account that has been temporarily taken over by an outside person as a way of collaborating, sharing content, and introducing followers to other accounts and topics of interest. Many schools are jumping on the bandwagon and allowing students to take over their Instagram account for a day or week to highlight what it’s like to be on campus. For examples, take a look at Nazareth College’s Student Instagram Takeover page or Jamestown Community College’s Instagram Takeover Application.

If you aren’t ready to take the plunge and host a teen takeover on your library’s account, you can still involve teens by having them find and create content to post. The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report explains that libraries are no longer a place for users to connect with just print resources, but also digital resources, library staff, community leaders, and peers. However, the report also notes that the likelihood of teens owning or having access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone varies across socioeconomic and racial demographics. Libraries are in a position to provide teens with opportunities to use these digital devices and gain experience with the photo/video editing software and apps that come with them.

Although the images and videos selected for this week’s column may not have been created or posted by teens, they provide examples of the types of content teens could create for the library. For instance, teens could take a video of a program in action or photograph a display they created by using the library catalog to find materials with specific themes or cover art. By experimenting with different apps, teens can learn how to use effects, combine music with images or video, and have fun creating content for upload on the library’s account. Seeing their work uploaded may not only make them proud of their efforts and be inspired to continue to try new things, but can also encourage them to follow the library’s social media accounts. Getting teens to follow (and continue following) the library on social media is tricky, but gaining followers allows us to maintain connections with our teens once they’ve left the physical library space.

Have you hosted a teen takeover on your library’s Instagram account or asked teens to help create content? If so, we want to hear from you!  What type of content did they create? If you hosted a takeover, how did you recruit teens who were up for the task?

Take a look at the Social Networking Toolkit for more information on educating teens about social media.

Looking for different apps to show your teens? Visit the App of the Week archives from the YALSAblog.


About Meaghan Darling

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

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