The NYPL session at BEA, Building a Social Library, really gave me food for thought. In a school, with limited resources (limited money and people and time), how could I possibly make my library as relevant as NYPL has made itself?
Well, here are a few thoughts…
- Use the school archives. If you can scan in information, you can create digital collections of graduations, school productions (photos and playbills), school publications, etc.. Got more time? Scan in a few formal photos from a range of years, blur the faces and do a “fashion show”.
- Engage current students in “deciphering” archive documents, like playbills or graduation programs.
- Use GoogleMaps to pin where recent graduates have gone. Or where students have gone over their vacations (better yet, have them send you postcards and scan them in to use with the map!)
- Get a Twitter feed and a Facebook page (one school I worked for has a private page, Memories of PCS, that has started to engage alumni by posting photos and allowing members to post photos). When major anniversaries come around, use the archives and your current collection to create interest and disseminate information. Example? Some schools had a really active student population during the Civil Rights Era. With all the anniversaries coming up, showing how the school was involved can help current students and the local community remember and understand the events.
- If your school or district doesn’t want you have a separate site or Twitter account, ask for time on theirs – helping create content that isn’t just about upcoming events and meetings will keep the school in the public’s mind in a positive way (what a help at budget time – it’s soft advocacy!!).
- Point your students to places like NYPL and your local public and academic libraries to show them what other resources are out there. Show them how to interact (look at NYPL’s menu project) and start building a positive digital footprint.
Those are just a few thoughts. What can you think of to do at your school?