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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Newsletters and Libraries

I’ve been looking at ways school libraries share news with their “customers.” Some have formal newspapers and staff in the schools. Some write just an article for the school newspaper. This summer as I traveled, I gathered Coffee News papers that were placed in “restaurants coffee shops, hotels, hospitals, etc. — anywhere people go to eat or where they have to wait.”

Some libraries take photos of students and run them through digital picture frames.  See PC mag’s reviews for Digital photo frames and CNET reviews. Do you wonder who has time to run around snapping photos and checking permission slips? Sometimes I wonder.

Some libraries have video programs and morning shows that run throughout the school. Our principal purchased two huge flat screen tv’s that are stationed for parents (one in the office and one in the main hallway outside the cafeteria). We can run movies created with MovieMaker and located on USB drops using a device called WebHD. I’m still waiting for all of our parent permission slips to come in before we can use any photos. In the meantime I create powerpoint slides at night and load these in the morning.

Some libraries are using twitter to send brief messages out. I surveyed two-thirds* of my students this first week of school to see how many owned cell phones, how many visited YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, nings, wikispaces, blogs, etc.  A huge percentage had a cell phone with unlimited text messaging. Nearly all had been to YouTube. A large percentage had facebook accounts. A smaller number still used their MySpace accounts. A handful of girls and 1-2 boys per class used Twitter. All of them agreed that they would prefer having a library Facebook Fan Page where they could subscribe to SMS text messages to stay “in the know.”

Some libraries send out email messages to parents and to staff members that includes links. These work only IF you have the names and email addresses of everyone and IF everyone will read them. Do you ever send out email messages with read receipts? Watch who doesn’t ever open or read the email, but simply discards it.

Nearly all libraries manage their own web pages, wikis, and blogs. These work as long as people are going to them to visit or subscribing to updates. The same thing goes for bulletin boards and signs in the library. As long as people are coming in and pausing to read them, they’ll know what’s going on. What about the faculty members who seldom visit the library?

I would love to hear your ideas for communicating. What am I leaving off this list? Go ahead and share your ideas with me by emailing and I’ll update you in September.

* I would have surveyed the entire school, but the first two days of school the guidance counselors took over the library so I could only see 2/3rds of our 950 students the first week during their rapid checkout and library introduction.


  1. Alice Yucht says:

    the Toilet Paper: the most successful LMC newsletter I ever published, was posted inside the stalls in all the FACULTY bathrooms in the building (another reason why you should make friends with your custodian).
    We used clear plastic sleeves that affixed to the inside of each stall’s door, and held a single sheet of 8×11 paper. Every month I highlighted useful resources and websites that faculty could use. This ran the gamut from new reference books to the best websites for airport delays (posted in December, before winter break). Never more than a total of 10 titles, and always a school-related cartoon or joke at the bottom of the page. It was a great conversation-starter. After a while, nobody blinked when someone said “you know, that book on the bathroom list last month.” Then one day the supt. asked me to send some extra copies up to the Bd office, because a BoE member had seen the latest ‘issue’ when he used the faculty bathroom during a meeting in my building!