5 ways social media can connect students with authors they love

Published on: 05 January 2018 Author: Lucas Maxwell

Are you looking for new ways to connect students to authors in the library and classroom?

Here are five budget-friendly ways you can make it happen using social media from 2017's School Librarian of the Year, Lucas Maxwell at Glenthorne High School. 

Why not give some a go this year at YOUR school – or pass on the suggestions? 

1. Bookstagramming

Using Instagram to catalogue book returns and reservations can be a great way for students to learn about new books and authors and to bring them together. We use #bookdroplife to collect our book return pics, which are taken on a daily basis. I often have students ask for books that they have seen on the Library’s Instagram account (@glenthorne_library). By tagging the author to the pic, students that follow your account can provide feedback on the book and speak to the authors directly. 

2. Twitter chatting with authors

This has been one of our most popular programmes. Our book club, known as The Booklings, inadvertently started this great programme when an author we were supposed to Skype with had a webcam failure and couldn’t take part. 'Sir, why don’t we just ask her questions on Twitter?', one student asked, and #booklingschat was born. Every month, the Booklings meet in the library at lunch and take over the library’s Twitter account (@glenthornelrc) and take turns asking an author a question. It’s a huge amount of fun and students receive a lot of helpful information about writing, book recommendations and surviving high school.

3. Skyping with authors

Our first Skype with an author was in 2013 with Marcus Sedgwick and we haven’t looked back since. We typically Skype with between ten to 15 authors every year, covering as many year groups as possible. Skyping is often much cheaper than having an author visit in person and allows us to Skype with authors abroad, especially in the United States and Canada. We sometimes have students prepare questions in advance or try to make them up on the spot. Either way, they are a fun, interactive way to bring authors into your library or classroom. 

4. Using Flipgird

Flipgrid is an amazing program that can be used in hundreds of different ways. We use it to share book reviews and recommendations with other schools from around the world. With Flipgrid, you can create short 90-second videos on the topic of your choice. Our goal for the future is to collaborate with authors and educators to generate discussions around young adult literature. One of these events is a future debate we are holding in the library entitled 'Students feel they are accurately represented in young adult literature'. We plan to use Flipgrid, among other social media platforms, to capture student responses and carry on the discussion as much as possible. 

5. Blogging

The library has a very active blog and we try to get students involved as much as possible. One way is for students to write book reviews, which we do as part of our House Reading Challenge. By creating a space where students can write reviews, we can then tag authors on social media to the student reviews and connect them in ways that they hadn’t been able to previously. 

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