Back in 2008, like many librarians, I started a library blog. I had a million ideas for posts, and I still have half a million unfinished drafts in a queue waiting to be revised and published. Finding a long enough block of time to think carefully about what I wanted to say and how I wanted to write it—let’s just say that the blog seldom met my expectations.So last August my New (School) Year’s resolution was to join Instagram. My phone is already full of photos of my library, and there’s never a day when I am too busy to click and post. I’m a rules person, so I set some ground rules for myself.
- Post once a day Monday through Friday. (Occasionally twice if really cool things are happening.) Amazingly, in 14 months, I’ve only missed two times.
- Keep a stash of photos of fun book covers on my phone for days when I forget to post until I’m at home and getting ready for bed. Ready-made excuse buster.
- Never post names of students, and be mindful of students on the “Do Not Photo” list.
- Only post photos of my cats on Fridays. (Come on AISLERs, you can help me get #felinefriday off the ground!)
- Follow other libraries, particularly middle and high school libraries. During those odd minute-long breaks when you’re waiting for a class to arrive at your door, you can scroll through and immediately get ideas.
Last year, I put out a request on the AISL listserv for those schools with Instagram accounts to get in touch. I only got account information and advice from two schools, though I heard from other librarians who said that all social networking was blocked in their schools. I blazed ahead anyway and searched for libraries, and then Instagram did the work of suggesting libraries for me to follow. Compared with Twitter, I love the visual nature of photographs, and I still have 140 characters to express my thoughts. It’s the best of all worlds.
For me, my favorite part is that it has served as a virtual scrapbook documenting the past year. My administration sees the variety in my days and in the roles of a 21st century librarian, and I’m on my feet thinking about what is new and exciting in my life each and every day. The end-of-year report provides a one-time quantitative snapshot of the state of the libraries, and Instagram provides a daily qualitative check in.
You can find me at https://instagram.com/greenteamedia/
If you have any questions about how it’s worked, logistically or otherwise, get in touch. If it sounds good to you, feel free to share the Instagram love!