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

This week we’re focusing on two hashtags that can get teens and library staff working together to create content and engage bibliophiles worldwide. The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report discusses the importance of helping teens gain experience with technology and social media, create digital and message content, and interact with adults who can serve as mentors. The report also highlights how it’s no longer the role of just those in the Children’s, Teen, or Youth Services departments to interact with teens, but that all library staff members regardless of position or department should work on engaging teens and building relationships. Creating content for your library’s Instagram feed is a fun (and often humorous) activity, but can be time consuming and something that gets bumped down the priority list as the school year comes to a close and public library summer reading programs gear up. Inviting all library staff to stage and snap a few photos while encouraging teen volunteers to assist and share ideas presents an opportunity to make introductions and work toward a shared goal.

If the #librariesofinstagram hashtag is the go-to for connecting libraries around the world, then #bookstagram is what brings book lovers together to share current reads and book reviews, to be read piles, favorite quotes, fandoms, and more. Usually these eye-catching photos feature one or two books staged with a complementary background, small props, and good lighting. Book publishers frequently #bookstagram new releases and libraries are featuring items in the collection, staff recommendations, and book club selections. Inviting staff and teens to stage photos allows for a change of scenery (perhaps literally with different surfaces, lighting, and desktop items to incorporate), camera angles, and a variety of titles to include.

Although National Library Card Sign-up Month isn’t until September, libraries post photos of their cards throughout the year and often invite patrons to participate in contests depicting their card on the go. Looking through #librarycard photos is exciting! Yes, a number of the images are libraries highlighting their card and all of the resources that can be accessed with it, but there are just as many photos of patrons excitedly sharing that moment when they’ve moved to a new town or have a young family member obtain a new card. A library card hashtag is easily customized to include your library or town for a summer contest featuring #librarycardadventures or #travelinglibrarycard. Easy to pack and the sky is the limit for photo ops!

Have you held summer or themed social media contests at your library? How do you spread the word and get teens in the community excited to participate? Offer any prizes or is it just for bragging rights? Share with us in the comments section below!



About Meaghan Darling

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

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