Karah's #hyperlinkedlibrary Blog

Emerging Technology Plan: Let’s Launch a School Library Instagram

Posted in Uncategorized by on March 24, 2019

Goals/Objectives for our Library Instagram


Students and the wider school community will be able to connect with the school library and engage in conversation, programming, and activities via Instagram (BHS Library).


Though engagement is the primary objective, there are worthwhile pedagogical goals embedded within the plan to use Instagram in the library. The World Economic Forum published a piece outlining “8 Digital Skills We Must Teach Our Children” in 2016. As both a teacher and a parent, this brief article resonated with me and should help guide the goals for this endeavor. Because the effort is collaborative with the librarian acting as coach, students will learn through modeling and practice about each of these skills in ways both explicit and implied. Evaluation of these goals will be included and discussed to establish the extent to which the library Instagram has contributed to the cultivation of these important skills.

The World Economic Forum provides useful articles, charts, and infographics to help stakeholders talk about digital skills. Students collaborating on the library Instagram will practice all of these skills, either explicitly or implicitly. Including skills in the project goals is important, especially for administrators who may be uncomfortable straying from traditional pedagogical practice.
Images retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/digital-danger-kids-protect-themselves-online/
and https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/09/8-digital-life-skills-all-children-need-and-a-plan-for-teaching-them/

Description of Community to Engage

Students at Bloomfield High School as well as the wider school community (faculty, staff, parents, families, administration, board members, local/regional/global school library communities).

Action Brief Statement

Convince students and the wider school community that by engaging with the school library on Instagram they will connect with and contribute to happenings at the library which will enrich their school library experience because libraries are for and about people.

Evidence and Resources to Support our Library Instagram

https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=the-hygge-state-of-mind-office-hours (the philosophy behind the decision to start an instagram)
https://aislnews.org/hygge-in-the-library/ (the philosophy behind the decision to start an instagram)

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy Related to our Library Instagram

First and foremost, the mission statement. The library mission will guide the Instagram project, and is adapted and inspired by the building mission:

The Bloomfield Public School district, a culturally diverse system, is committed through cooperative efforts within an educational community to provide an equal opportunity for all learners to achieve individual success and to be prepared to meet the needs of an evolving society.


The building mission paves the way for the library mission:

The library provides equal opportunity through cooperative community efforts to achieve success and prepare to meet the needs of an evolving society.

In short, we are people helping people be successful.

From the readings. What follows may ultimately be too much to include in this plan,but I think it is important to lay out guidelines to work from and help lead us in what is new, uncharted territory for our school library. Particularly, what guides us pedagogically and why? Why and how is a school library Instagram valuable? What does our mission look like in practice? I hope to gather answers and guidance to these questions here:

  • “We should be able to say, ‘We teach, we develop independent learning skills, we inspire, and so much more!’ If we can teach our students about these new things, but they enter a workplace culture that doesn’t support transformation, their skills will go to waste. Thus, librarians should seek to encourage and facilitate learning of all kinds within our spaces.” (Stephens, 2013)
    Turning again to the goals discussed above about eight digital skills, the model of the hyperlinked library speaks directly to the ideas outlined in the World Economic Forum article: “Above all, the acquisition of these abilities should be rooted in desirable human values such as respect, empathy and prudence. These values facilitate the wise and responsible use of technology – an attribute which will mark the future leaders of tomorrow. Indeed, cultivating digital intelligence grounded in human values is essential for our kids to become masters of technology instead of being mastered by it.” (Emphasis mine). When speaking about pedagogical value, these skills should serve to guide the conversation.
  • From Rhea Kelly’s 2016 piece, “9 Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2016,” four trends–Makerspaces, Accessibility, Mobile First, and Video–are viable in the school library and can be featured, promoted, and grown using Instagram. I included quotes from the article that resonated with me the most and speak most directly to the mission of the project:
    • On Makerspaces
      • “Makerspaces are great for building collaboration and a must for campuses. But, in reality they are an administrative change that results from the convergence and democratization of technology.”
      • “They model a peer-based pedagogy, which is one we’re grappling with as we head away from sage-on-the-stage. Our formal teaching can learn from this relatively informal practice.”
      • “Maker pedagogy also models blended learning, as practitioners rely on digital (often mobile) devices for information and for sharing results.”
      • “Artisans, welders, woodworkers, knitters, tinkerers of all sorts can contribute to the campus environment through a makerspace, improving town-gown relations. Faculty and staff can benefit from these connections as well.” I already have relationships with parents who contribute to the library through volunteering and donations; imagine the possibilities of offering community contributions to the library makerspace in this way! Our library Instagram can harness and grow this possibility.
    • On Accessibility
      • “The challenge in accessibility moving forward is vetting products as we move to a more open learning ecosystem. The questions become: Who’s responsible for accessibility? The vendor who creates the plug-in? An LMS certification process? What if the software is free in the first place? Does the school assume responsibility? As various technologies mature, they will be held to a higher standard of inclusion.” This article is speaking to higher ed, but I think the mere existence of a school library Instagram with shared content creation among students, teachers, and community members opens up the conversation around accessibility in ways that don’t currently exist for us in the school library. For example, we have two smaller, special needs schools that live within our larger high school ecosystem; how will they interact with our school library Instagram community? What do we need to make our library’s virtual as well as physical spaces accessible to all users? (Campus Technology published 8 Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2019 and included Accessibility again, noting: “As we engaged in compliance with accessibility standards at [our university], we broadened our thinking to include universal design for learning…. We are driven by our mission to seek student success in all activities for all of our students, being inclusive in all our endeavors.” (Italics are mine.)
    • On Mobile First
      • “Mobile devices will continue to impact teaching and learning in multiple ways. First, continued negotiation over the role of mobile devices in classrooms. [This is a daily conversation among my colleagues.] Second, growing use of mobile for off-campus work (home, community involvement, study abroad, research, etc.). Third, possible realization that underserved populations use mobile more than the typical college audience; we could see more mobile-first design to meet that group [My students often at least try to follow along on their phones when they have forgotten to charge or left their school-issued devices at home].”
      • “In focus groups we did with students in early 2015, we heard students ask us why our services aren’t mobile-friendly when everything else is.” Users expect everything to be mobile-friendly. I know I do.
    • On Video
      • “‘Video’ is a misnomer that reinforces traditional beliefs and misses the potential. Video in the classroom is still largely a one-way medium. The group with the knowledge (faculty, institution, etc.) makes a video (or worse yet, ‘captures’ a lecture) and then replays it online. But even at the highest Hollywood production quality, it’s still a ‘sage on the stage’ model. This is not where students are. Students have fluency in Vine, Periscope, Snapchat, etc., and are communicating with video and other forms of media at level far beyond the basic concept of video. It’s interactive. It’s engaging. It’s two-way. When they go into the classroom, whether in-person or online, it seems primitive. It’s like asking faculty to go back to typewriters and Wite-Out.” I worry a bit about pandering to students when we start talking about what we perceive as primitive to them; it is what seems to follow every time we in education try too hard to engage students in using technology. In cases like these, attempts to use video can end up alienating students instead of engaging them. But it is true that more and more, library users are engaged by and involved in content creation involving video; how can our school library Instagram feature, promote, and grow this bit of ed tech?

Funding Considerations for our Library Instagram

Initially, members of the Student Library Advisory will be asked to collaborate with the librarian on this project; interested students will need to contribute their time. As the community grows, we will be on the lookout for additional opportunities for collaboration which may result in in-kind contributions or pro-bono contracts. (I am thinking of community members offering programs and services in the library that can be featured, promoted, and grown using our school Instagram.)

BengalLibrary’s first post! Before going any further, I’ve decided to “Plan to Plan” a bit more and gather more information on posting guidelines , at the risk of “overthinking and dying.” (Stephens, 2008)

Action Steps & Timeline

The Instagram has been created and I have secured one Student Library Advisory student collaborator (yay, Josie!), but I need to write our bio this week. I would like to gather and post training materials over the next week, and begin posting daily, at least, in the next two weeks. Training materials should include content considerations (see “Asking the Right Questions: The User Experience”, collaborative inquiry projects, credit for reading “anything and everything” (Loertscher,2008)) I would like to bring in at least two more student collaborators and have them complete training in the next month to bring the team to a total of four, including me. From there, we will evaluate our reach and make a plan to grow our community. Whether or not students drop out, or otherwise do not contribute regularly, I will continue to look for contributors interested in regular participation. I would like to see increasing participation, collaboration, and engagement between now and June, with a plan in place to keep the profile active through the summer months when school is not in session.

Staffing Considerations

Initially, at least, I will use the existing Student Library Advisory to help build our Instagram. Hopefully, engagement will bring in additional students and community members interested in helping to run the project. Staffing considerations and opportunities for collaboration will be included in promotional efforts.


I will use our existing Student Library Advisory Google Classroom to gather training materials (guidelines on posting, captions, hashtags, filters, etc.) and bring in one or two SLA members to turnkey training to interested parties that come on board. The username and password can be shared with collaborators once they have completed training, perhaps demonstrating competency by posting 3-5 times with guidance from existing collaborators. Training can conducted in person during a student’s lunch, after school, and/or completely online with effective use of our SLA Google Classroom and selection of relevant materials.

I want to make note here of something Michael Stephens says in “Taming Technolust: Ten Steps for Planning in a 2.0 World” because I often feel pulled between his step seven, “Overthink and Die!” and step eight, “Plan to Plan.” Essentially, always be gathering information, but don’t let that stop you from moving forward. When you have gathered enough information to launch the project, launch it. Then manage it by creating timelines and an audit process, and having “effective meetings with action items and follow up.” I shouldn’t be afraid to have meetings as long as they are focused always on planning:

Planning projects focuses creativity. Meandering meetings sap creativity.

(Stephens, 2008)

Have a plan, action items, and evaluation in place. Repeat.

Promotion & Marketing

  • Contests for best posts using our hashtag (#blfdbengals)
  • Be aware of the most popular school library related hashtags and use them to increase engagement.
  • Display on whiteboard projector in library and on screens around the school
  • BengalLibrary is the Instagram username and it is linked to a Twitter profile by the same name. Everything posted to Instagram will also post to the Twitter profile. Create a bio that includes links to all the content creators additional profiles (where appropriate) to increase marketing reach.

Evaluation of our Library Instagram

  • Track “likes” and followers gained; Track comments received; look for average number of comments per post to increase–this indicates a growing community and loyal following. Seek out this feedback, grow the community, and share this information regularly on the ‘gram.
  • Be direct–ask for feedback and share stories and anecdotes; make adjustments based on the feedback.
  • Meet with SGA (Student Government Association) and SLA (Student Library Advisory) to review usage and brainstorm new ideas. Post about this process.
  • Meet with teachers and admin to share and brainstorm. Make connections between school mission and core values and the library Instagram.
  • Instagram Stories are not as easily measurable, so don’t spend too much time on them for now. Focus on building a community first, but look to the future and plan to integrate stories more and more as we grow.


Casden, J., Nutt, M., Lown, C., & Davidson, B. (2013). My #HuntLibrary: Using
Instagram to crowdsource the story of a new library.
Kelly, R. (2019). 8 Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2019
Kelly, R. (2016). 9 Ed Tech trends to Watch in 2016
Loertscher, D. (2008). Flip this library: School libraries need a revolution.
McDonnell, A. & Mollet, A. (2014). Five ways libraries are using Instagram to share collections and draw public interest.
Park, Y. (2016). 8 digital skills we must teach our children.
Schmidt, A. (2016). Asking the Right Questions.
Stephens, M. (2008). Taming technolust: Ten steps for planning in a 2.0 world.
Stephens, M. (2013). Holding us back. In The Heart of Librarianship, page 9.

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