Using Instagram in the Library

I have an Instagram account for my elementary school library. It’s useful to promote things like the book fairs, author visits and other special occasions. It’s also great just to show off pictures of people using the library alone or in groups for reading or using the technology or whatever.

When I first got into this school librarian gig, if you wanted to promote your program online you had to use this antiquated format called a “blog.” Nowadays some people use Facebook and/or Twitter, Intagram, Snapchat, ClassDojo and probably things I haven’t even heard of.

Instagram is my pick because it’s easy and fun. I don’t have that many followers and this isn’t one of those annoying posts on “how to leverage Instagram in your library media program!” Ugh.

But I do find it interesting that when I started being a librarian there were all these ideas about using photos of students on your blog. Not necessarily rules, but strong recommendations on either using stock photos or blurring out faces or showing things and not people because you did not want to mess with student privacy.

There may still be people being careful about this kind of thing and I’m not recommending we don’t be careful. But I take photos of kids in my library often now and post them without too much thought. Sometimes I show the student the photo and mention I might post it. In the two years I’ve been doing this I can only think of one student who said not to post.

Privately I’ve thought, if any student or parent asks me to remove a post I will, no question. But it’s never happened. I don’t put student information in the captions. Not even first names. Almost all of our students and staff are covered by the “media release” form they fill out at the beginning of each year. You could count on one hand the students that haven’t had one signed.

So I just take a bunch of pictures once in a while and sometimes I post them on the library Instagram. Sometimes I tell the people I photograph and sometimes I don’t. I’ll be happy to remove anything that someone wants removed but it’s never been an issue.

And that one student who didn’t want me to post? He help up a book fair book that had a shark with his mouth wide open and he mimicked the wide open mouth of the shark. I laughed and snapped his picture. I said I just had to post it on Instagram. He said no. I handed the book to a different kid, had him open his mouth up WIDE and did the same thing; posted it and it was awesome. Later that afternoon the first kid’s mom came in and I showed her his photo. “I thought you’d want to see this since he didn’t want me to post it.”  She looked at him an was like, “Why not?!? That’s wonderful. Can you send me a copy?”