Sunday 22 May 2011

Facebook in school libraries

Early this year I expressed my concern to colleagues about our marketing of books and reading to the students. Statistics show Facebook "has" our students. Each class surveyed in the library by show of hands, demonstrates more than 75% in the secondary years, have a Facebook account.

What an excellent opportunity this presents for establishing a page to promote reading and/or other library services.

Many schools and educators are still very wary of using Facebook given the negative incidents that are highly reported in the media. While some schools fail to take on responsibility for teaching digital citizenship skills, this fear of social media may still be found amongst teachers.

How many of the staff at your school are truly comfortable and knowledgeable with their own use of Facebook?

I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to present an awareness raising session for some staff this week. Some were Facebook users others were not. To cater for the diverse audience within a limited time frame, I chose to concentrate only on an overall view of the differences between personal accounts, pages and groups.
It is important for staff to be able to counsel and educate students about the use of social media so for those without a Facebook account this opportunity to "see" what students see was important. The presentation was used in conjunction with a live Facebook site. Yes, there are a myriad of privacy settings, but only by investigating can educators have a good understanding. I'm delighted to have had much positive feedback from staff.

Excellent examples of the use of Facebook for school libraries have shown us what works. Members of my PLN have modelled good practice:
Leanne Windsor at the Illawarra Grammar School TIGS Library (Goodhew Centre)
Buffy Hamilton at Creekview HS The Unquiet Library
Our library page at The Arthur Holt Library is relatively new and has been promoted to my PLN and some Facebook friends. One needs 25 "likes" to claim a shortened, easy to remember URL.
This having been achieved, now comes the task of marketing, gently gently, to the students and school community.

I'm interested in hearing from others who use a Facebook page for their school library.


    1. Hi Carmel, thank you for a great post.

      Facebook is not going to disappear and addressing it as an important tool for teachers to understand is commendable.

      It's good news that the response to your presentation was positive. If you are interested, I've set up a Facebook Group called FacingIT that you are welcome to join. It would be good for us to know more about your presentation, the staff responses and how things go with your library page.

    2. Penny thanks for your comment. We now have a poster in the library with a QR code to the FB page. FB is still blocked at school but students can access at home and of course through their mobiles.
      Students are telling me they are looking but there is not much "liking" happening. I think students are still wary that a school page may "look" at them on FB. I reassure them that library staff would never have time or inclination to do that.
      It also speaks volumes about posted contnet. Will they be interested in things we promote? Only time will tell.


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