Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tweeting in the Library

Librarians love Twitter not only because it provides an instant and easy window into what is happening in their libraries, but also because it serves as a tremendous professional development resource as well as a tool to globally connect teachers and students. 

Using Twitter right from your cell phone enables librarians to provide the entire school community with a window into their library. Tracy Karas a Librarian in New York City uses her phone to Tweet updates about new books that have come in, to celebrate student successes, to provide reminders about upcoming events and more. All these Tweets are embedded directly on her library page from the school’s website. 

Other librarians use Twitter to help their students connect or reach out for on demand professional development using the hashtag #TLchat (T for Teacher, L for Librarian) started by the popular librarian Joyce Valenza. Using and following the hashtag provides viewers with a minefield of ideas, resource sharing and networking. For example here are some possible librarian Tweets:
  • 13 yr-old male who luvs skateboarding. Book ideas? #TLchat
  • Looking for a student(s) who’s reading or luvs Catcher in the Rye to join our book talk? #TLchat
  • Looking for someone to Skype with our class abt creating a digital footprint. #TLchat
  • Anyone have a resource for free eBooks? #TLchat
  • ALSC releases graphic novels core collection … #tlchat

Using this tag brings your message to innovative librarians across the globe. Your 30-second investment results in a payoff consisting of plenty of ideas and responses on demand and for free!

Another great way to use Twitter is to combine it with  Imagine students are doing a research project on dinosaurs. Have them tweet their dinosaur facts along with cool links, pictures and videos.  Make sure they use the hashtags you assign and at the end of the lesson, wah-la you have a newspaper with a collection of all their findings! For more on using for learning go here.
Librarians should also be aware of the many notable librarians that tweet. By following #TLchat, you’ll quickly see popular names appear time and again including @buffyjhamilton, @shannonmiller, @joycevalenza, @devenblack, @keisawilliams, and @gwynethjones. You can tag Tweeps (Tweeting People) like these in your Tweets giving them a virtual tap on the shoulder when you think they may have something to contribute. For example, you may Tweet, “Wondering what folks like @joycevalenza think about iPads as a replacement for books in the library.”

 For more ideas about effective ways to use cell phones for learning, including research-based strategies, lessons, and a section dedicated to librarians, order Teaching Generation Text


  1. Great post, Lisa! I will virtually present 2.0 for L4L: Empowering 21st Century Learners with Social Media to the Washington Library Media Asssociation (WLMA) at 11:30PM PDT this afternoon. That presentation will feature a Twitter-based research lesson, and how it impacted student thinking about resource evaluation. It is a free and open webinar. All are welcome!

  2. I think that teachers are far too resistant to the use of social media as an excellent learning tool. I guarantee that in college, students will use twitter and facebook like crazy for their assignments. Why not prepare them now to use it successfully?