Monday, March 4, 2013

Advocacy = Communication

As technology leaders, Teacher Librarians are expected to be masters of all things wired, wireless and shiny. So it makes sense that we would use technology to communicate about our library programs to our stakeholders.

A well-kept library website is absolutely necessary for our students and school communities. Students and adults alike are used to the internet being their first source of quick information. A library website should provide those quick bits of info... quickly!  When is the library open? What is the phone number if I have a question? How can I see the library catalog? What sources are available to me online? What programs or events are coming up?  The website can be simple, but it must be clean and organized, informative and user-friendly.

Social Media is successfully being used by many libraries and librarians to communicate about their programs. Facebook pages for the library include much of that “quick info” patrons often want, and also provide an opportunity for interaction about literature, programming, or instruction. Twitter offers a quick update on the goings-on at a library that parents and community members can follow at their own pace. Pinterest can be used to curate collections of recommended books, give you ideas for displays, and organize digital materials in a visually pleasing way.

If you are, like I am, guilty of using social media inconsistently (a Twitter account that updates daily for a week and then nothing for 4 months isn’t likely to be effective), then stick to more traditional forms of communication.  A monthly newsletter can be posted on the library website, distributed at school, and emailed to stakeholders.  Set up a template with categories like “Library Learning,” “Technology Connections,” “Collection Development,” and “Collaboration” and set aside 30 minutes a month to give a brief summary of that month’s successes. Keep a camera handy throughout the school year and snap pictures of students at work, book displays and special events. Insert a couple photos and a page-long newsletter fills up quickly.  

Below are a few examples of libraries using communication tools effectively. Each one has strengths and weaknesses, but think of them as inspiration for your own communication tools.  

Share links to other great examples in the comments!

Library Websites:  

Library Newsletters:

Library Blogs:

Library Facebook Pages: