and received a 2017 Web Seal of Excellence.
Today, various social media platforms are powerful tools which are used for many reasons: to connect with others, promote certain messages, and to bring social groups together being just a few. Most teenagers and young people today use social media platforms of all kinds for these reasons, to see what others are doing, and in some unfortunate cases, for negative purposes. Over the last year, Twitter has become even more popular, and often controversial, due to its prominence in our most recent Presidential election and in our current President’s first term in office.
On many levels, Twitter can be a great tool to use for promoting one’s agenda, speaking directly to one’s audience. However, one must be careful when using any social media, as it has the potential to cause trouble. In this article, I will be looking at how I use Twitter to promote my school library, various school-wide activities, and even provide a few messages of motivation! I am able to reach out to a wide and varied audience, especially tweens and young adults, as well as our faculty, staff, parents, and beyond.
Even though the content of my Twitter feed is varied in nature, the majority of my content focuses on school-wide announcements and events, interesting seasonal (or monthly) library displays, and pictures of my students interacting with each other and working in the library. I also try to include inspirational messages for my students (especially around mid-terms and finals), interesting stories and articles about books, and connections with various authors (Laurie Halse Anderson and Ashlee Cowles seem to be the most popular connections!).
Student achievements and activities are an important part of the content that gets posted. Notre Dame Academy has multiple Twitter accounts (i.e. a general school account, a Theater Department account, Athletics, etc.). We often re-tweet each other’s messages, and we feature each other’s activities on our own feeds. It has been a great source of collaboration, inspiration, and information sharing. We support each other! Any time I post student photos on my Twitter feed, the posts are often well-liked and re-tweeted by various groups, including the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur!
I often view other school library Twitter feeds and can often incorporate others’ displays and ideas in my own library. It is always interesting to see what others are doing in the field. I see it as an informal professional development opportunity, as well as a chance to remain connected to other school librarians across the country. In addition, I see my Twitter feed as an important marketing tool for what happens in our library. My followers include students, parents, school administrators, members of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, authors, other librarians, and members of the community at large, all of whom see the content I post. It is always exciting to see others “like” and “re-tweet” my content, especially to a much broader audience.
As Notre Dame Academy is now in the process of becoming an International Baccalaureate School, it is my hope that I can use my Twitter feed to highlight and promote the activities taking place both in the library and in the larger school community. In addition, I am hoping to connect with other Catholic IB schools to build connections and to help our students become truly global learners.
Some of my other content includes special interest pieces or articles from newspapers, which may relate to various holidays and seasons as well as to various events within the Catholic liturgical calendar. Special exhibits in local libraries such as in the John F. Kennedy Library and the Boston Public Library are posted as well. At times, articles about new and forthcoming books are tweeted, along with connections to books that are being made into movies, or to information related to past or current authors.
My Twitter guidelines can be applied globally, to almost any library Twitter feed: promoting patron (student) achievements, talking about literature-related stories, or highlighting community events. The possibilities are endless. Re-tweeting is a popular way to build connections as well. Authors often love it when you comment on their books and will often interact with their fans. I’ve found that re-tweeting, and also being re-tweeted, brings a new audience to my Twitter feed, and it has often resulted in a bump in our follower numbers. Other organizations, such as the John F. Kennedy Library, seem to appreciate the positive attention I bring to their organization.
Our library motto is “words matter”. In today’s world of constantly changing ideas, fake news, and mixed messages, it is even more important for our words to be thoughtful, current, clear, consistent, and in keeping with the mission and vision of our schools. Each day provides a new opportunity to highlight the fact that today, and every day, libraries (especially school libraries) can transform the lives of their users and send them information of all kinds in all sorts of ways. I always love new “followers” to my library’s Twitter feed. I’m looking forward to seeing you all in the Twitter-sphere. Follow me. And I can assure you, that you have not heard the last of me!