Category Archives: Media

Twitter Starter Kit


Libraryland loves Twitter and so can you now that we’re here to demystify this social media stumper.



What’s This Twitter Thing?:

I think it’s easiest to explain Twitter by talking about how it’s different from Facebook. Many people use Facebook to connect with the people they don’t see every day and provide updates, photos, and videos to help them stay in touch or help others get to know them. Facebook has become a shortcut to conversation topics when making friends. People you’ve only met once may know what your wedding looked like if they can search your name and access your profile. You can create a fairly detailed archive of your life, your interests, big events, small moments, and those little thoughts that pop into your head.


Twitter doesn’t offer as many tools and it’s not as deliberate. It’s not meant to act as an archive for your life or to give detailed information to people trying to get to know you. It’s brief, casual, spontaneous, and not as easy to search or navigate. It’s a place where you share the clever thought you had, the strange thing that just happened, the touching moment you can’t help but share. You can add photos to your tweets or you can provide links to videos, but you’ll notice that Twitter feeds don’t always display a whole photo and the only way to make something similar to an album is to create a list of your tweets that include photos and group them that way (which would be time consuming).


Twitter is really great for connecting with your contacts over one brief idea, but not great for building relationships or connections from scratch. If Facebook is a staff meeting where you can hash out plans or an interview where you can dig for details, Twitter is the chance encounter in the break room where you bump into someone you know and bond over the fact that you like the same yogurt before your five minutes is up and you have to go back to your desk.


It’s powerful for getting answers to simple questions, commiserating over similar experiences, or laughing with each other over a good joke. There’s lots of helpful chatter for librarians, but you’ll also see lots of personal tweets, too, and both are fun ways to network.


How do I use hashtags and mentions?

Hashtags are those phrases that you see following a number sign like #saturdaylibrarian or #blacklivesmatter. Hashtags link social media posts to a common, searchable phrase. So, for instance, if you wanted to see the global impact of the Yes All Women movement, a way that you could do that is by googling the hashtag #yesallwomen, or searching individual social media platforms for it like Twitter and Facebook.

Mentions are a way for you to start a public conversation or attract a person’s interest to a thread or post. All you do is type in @ and the person’s username to get their attention. You can do this mid conversation with someone else, too. For instance, if you start talking about your idea of the perfect book to use for your first storytime with a group, you could also mention someone else as a way to ask for their ideas, too.


Basic etiquette:

Be respectful when you’re considering joining a Twitter conversation between other people. For the most part, if users want a private conversation, they’re doing so through direct messages and that means they won’t  mind if you want to jump in on a public conversation. However, you don’t want to be that person who jumps into a conversation just to derail it with counter-arguments and debating.


Companies, non-profits, authors, and others with a brand or product to sell are big users of Twitter, so be aware that if you’re using hot terms in your tweet, those parties may come across it. For instance, if you’re describing a book you don’t like, just be aware that if you mention the title or author’s name, even without mentioning them directly, they are probably going to see it when they are searching for those hot terms that pertain to them.


This means you should also be careful in the way you respond to other users’ tweets. If someone is complaining about a product, but isn’t mentioning the name or tagging the company, it’s probably because they don’t want the attention of that company. Try not to respond using the name of the product or company, either. Doing that could draw a company’s attention to the tweet and that may not be welcome.


You don’t want every tweet to be sad, negative, or a complaint. As episodic as Twitter is, people will start to remember if you never have anything constructive or positive to say and they’ll unfollow you. Twitter can be a great place to find support, but it’s important to be supportive of others, too.


You can choose to curse or not curse. This is a personal choice and depends entirely on your beliefs in how social media should be used. Some may want to always appear professional for those employers who like to search social media, but others will use it as a way to just be themselves and accurately display their personality.


How to maximize the experience as a library professional:

Ask specific, quick questions and get answers from experts you know and trust.


Share an idea or link to blog posts and websites to discuss issues.


Re-tweet things that really spark your interest and add a comment about why or what you’re planning. You can also re-tweet as a way to signal boost for important causes.


Tag other Twitter users when you use their ideas and tell them how it went.


Share a library success story and consider using the hashtag #ilovemylibraryjob or #librarylife to add to an ongoing conversation about the nature of our work.


Live tweet presentations at conferences using the conference hashtag. This allows everyone to see your notes and it may spark some interest among peers who are unable to attend.


Now get started by following some Tweeps:






































A Favor to Ask: A personal story with a professional goal in mind. #ilovemylibraryjob

Hello badass ninjas! Joint Chief here to ask a favor of you that’s personal but also professionally related. It’s a simple favor but requires a little back story: Lately, I’ve been rather depressed which stems primarily from my mom, who was one of my best friends, passing away a couple months ago from her battle with cancer. I was devastated but I went back to work soon after, mostly to get my mind off of things and also because working with my kiddos as a Youth Services Librarian helps me smile. It works well a lot of the time, I’m also fortunate to have amazing coworkers who are like my support group but the sadness always comes back in some shape or form. The other day, one of my regular families who I haven’t seen in a while, comes in and the dad asks me how things are. We chat whenever they’re in and we know a general overview of each other’s lives. I update him on my mom’s passing, he knew about her cancer, and he immediately drops the books he’s holding, tears up and asks if it’s ok to give me a hug and I oblige. His young kids don’t understand what’s happened but all three of his little girls hug me too. And it takes everything in me not to bawl like a baby, from sadness but also from happiness that this family, who only knows me from the maybe once-a-month transactions we have when they return their books and get new ones, cares about me in this way. It moved me in a way I hadn’t felt since my mom died and made me realize even more about why I love my job and what I do.


So, from this experience I was inspired to try and find a way for library folk to share why they love their job and to act as a reminder for all of us that even on our worst days, what we do makes an impact, changes our world for the better and that there are many a patron out there who genuinely appreciate us. It can be incredibly discouraging when your libraries are underfunded; when we’re underpaid or understaffed; when you may be having the absolute worst day/week/month/year because you don’t feel appreciated, respected or valued. Some days may be so bad that you want to quit the profession all together. But sometimes, it’s the smallest of things that remind us why we put up with all that we do: when a teen absolutely loved the book you recommended and seeks you out for more suggestions; when you help an unemployed patron apply for a job and they’re successful in their pursuit; when a group of kindergartners group hug bear tackle you because they’re so excited to see you for storytime; when a patron says some kind words, writes you a thank you note, or may even give you a hug when you need one (if you’re ok with it of course). These are the things that keep me going and I hope they do for you too.


In an effort to find solidarity between our unique or similar experiences and to remind ourselves and others how important our roles are as library professionals, I ask you a small favor of you all: to share your own stories as you experience them and to simply tag the post with a #ilovemylibraryjob hashtag. This way someone who may be feeling uninspired or discouraged or cynical can search the tag and find some heartwarming stories, enough to give them to hope that tomorrow will be a better day and pick themselves back up. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever social media platform you prefer, if you don’t mind adding the hashtag any time you’d like to share, I believe it can help unite our stories, no matter how big or small, to bring us together as a profession and as a community.


So to the family who warmed my heart with a simple hug, thank you. You reminded me of why #ilovemylibraryjob. Thank you so much for your kindness.


And thanks for listening ninjas, I’m very much looking forward to hearing your own stories.


❤ Soraya

Tech and Toddlers with Maria

The joint chiefs are jumping up and down because we’re going to be sharing some diverse content from guest bloggers each month! We believe in using our platform to boost and raise up voices from a variety of library professionals and we’re so happy to have found guests to take that journey with us. Community, meet Maria!


I am a Youth Services Librarian in southern Wisconsin where I collaborate with two fabulous co-workers to create a storytime rich in early literacy activities for two and three year olds and their caregivers. When I’m not sharing stories, dancing, or singing in storytime, I enjoy reading (of course!), knitting, swimming, and playing board games. I am so thrilled to share with you my new guest blog series called Tech and Toddlers.

Tech and Toddlers

In the Tech and Toddlers series, I plan to share with you my thoughts on media mentorship in the library and how to put it into practice. I do hope that you will be able to gather ideas and find a way to incorporate media into your own library in a way that fit the needs of your patrons. With more and more parents in our community acquiring tablets and using them with their kids, we felt like there was a need to provide app recommendations and guidance for our patrons. In March of this year, I attended the Growing Wisconsin Readers-New Media Training to learn more about why and how to use apps in a storytime setting.

This summer we began to share a new app and tip each week in addition to our traditional storytime books, songs, puppets, fingerplays, and flannels. Following storytime, kids and their caregivers are welcome to try out the app together and/or play with other early literacy activities. For my last storytime of the summer I shared the app Nighty Night! by Fox and Sheep GmbH, which fit in well with my bedtime theme. In this app, a child clicks on a room with the light on to see which animal is still awake. When the child turns off the light, the animal will go to sleep. My tip for parents was to talk with their children about each animal they see and what sound they make, which helps to build vocabulary and phonological awareness.


Introducing new media into storytime doesn’t mean you need to abandon traditions. So to conclude my storytime, I decided to bring out the disco ball.



Flickr-Ewan Topping


That’s right…a disco ball.


The disco ball has been at my library for a long time and my co-workers were happy to share their time-honored technique with me. We hang the disco ball from the ceiling and then turn on our overhead projector.


Yes…an overhead projector.


They have created a perfect paper template that goes over the projector and lets out just the right amount of light to create an amazing starry scene. I think this is a perfect example of mixing something new with something traditional to create an incredible final storytime of the semester. I had the kids find their grown-ups before we dimmed the lights and sang “Twinkle, Twinkle” under the stars.

This fall we are planning to be even more intentional with apps and the play session that follows storytime. I can’t wait to share it with you!