Friday, February 1, 2013


Promoting your library through social media using Instagram and Webstagram 

Instagram--you've probably heard of it (even if you don't have an account), especially if you work with teenagers every day!

So what is Instagram, exactly? It's a social media services where users can share photos they've taken and apply various filters and frames to make it look unique and artsy.  Users can share their photos with followers on Instagram AND connect their Twitter and Facebook accounts to share their photos there as well.  Like users on Twitter, Instagram-ers use "hashtags" (the pound symbol: #)  to mark keywords or topics in a post and make it easy to find other posts that have that same hashtag.  

How can we use this in the library or classroom? 

(Before you begin using this in the library or classroom, make sure you familiarize yourself with the privacy policies of the social media service, as well as any privacy policies or filters your school district or library may have in place.  Share these policies with your students and remind them to always monitor what they put on the Internet, whether it be personal information or appropriate content.)
Instagram can be used in classrooms and libraries for collaboration, self-reflection, critical thinking, and communication skills, and they can also reinforce Common Core State Standards–“Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.” 
To read more about how Instagram can be incorporated into your lessons to accomodate a variety of types of learners, follow this link.
Also, the beginning of this video below has a great explanation of how Instagram can be used in the classroom:

Ideas for Instagram-ing your classroom or library:

  • photojournalism
  • writing prompts for poetry or creative writing
  • classroom blogs
  • digital story telling
  • character insight ("A day in the life of [Hamlet]")
  • metaphors
  • book sharing community (sharing images of finished books with mini reviews)
  • perspective
  • personal connections to classroom learning (students can take a photo of something outside of school that reminds them of a book or topic that's being discussed in class)
  • orientation or classroom tour  
  • community awareness        

The images below are from our library's Instagram project that we are using to promote all of our district libraries.  We used to create this gallery; you can see all of the images so far by searching #colonielibraries on Instagram.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Please support the mandate for all public schools to employ full-time certified school librarians

Please take the time (about one minute) to create an account in order to 
sign & share the petition:

Monday, December 3, 2012


Steampunk is a genre-blend of historical fiction (often set in Victorian-era England, but may take place in other countries or past eras) and science fiction (an emphasis on steam- or spring-propelled gadgets).  If you're looking for more details about steampunk--what it is, some examples--Wikipedia (gasp!) has a pretty nice overview.

 If we allow ourselves to judge a book by its cover, Steampunk books are often easy to identify based on the book jacket.  They usually have a cover with a sci-fi / fantasy feel with lots of gears, clocks, and technology.

Here is a list of some YA Steampunk books and series that have been published recently, although this is by no means a complete list:

 Goodreads (to which each title above is linked) also has many booklists, many of which include Steampunk titles or entire lists, such as this.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Winter Displays...

...that are holiday-neutral!

  • "Snow" better time for a good book ("snow" day like today for a good read, etc.)
  • Chill out with a cool book
  • Season's Readings 
  • Books with "winter," "snow," "ice," etc. in the title (or a winter scene on the cover)
  • Decorate with snowflakes, penguins, polar bears, scarves and mittens

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


 If you are fortunate enough to be in a classroom or lab where all students have Internet access at the same time, use to create a forum for discussion.  It's a great pre-assessment tool to find out what students already know about a topic before you begin instruction!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October Displays

Looking to do something other than your usual Halloween displays?

Here are two easy displays for October!

Make a display by color.

I chose autumnal colors (red, yellow, orange) for this display.  The books don't have to be from any certain genre or classification, so it's a good way to get some books on display that typically don't get as much attention as some of your favorites or the kids' usual checkouts. 


"Time to Hit the Books" display.

Gather a variety of baseball books to arrange for a display during the World Series--fiction, non-fiction, biography, poetry, etc. This is also a great type of display if you have reluctant readers who are boys, since they often gravitate towards sports books when they "HAVE" to read!