I love the power of social media in libraries. It’s an amazing way to share what you’re doing, promote your programs, and reach out to students and community members. Being a visual learner, Instagram is definitely one of my favorite platforms. It makes it easy to share striking visual images with as much or as little text as you prefer. This post isn’t here to convince you as to why you should have a library Instagram (check out Gwyneth’s awesome post if you are still on the fence). And it’s also not a post to share about best practices when posting to a school Instagram (although I think I now have my next post idea).
This post is here to share about why a physical display of your Instagram account can be powerful and how to create one.
Why You Should Have a Physical Instagram Display
Yes, many of our students are digitally savvy and connected. But not every student is. Not every student has a smartphone. Some parents don’t allow students to sign up for social media accounts. And while your Instagram account does a great job of reaching those digitally connected students while it’s in the cloud, don’t you want ALL students to be able to benefit? That’s where a physical Instagram display comes in. The idea is to create a display with images from your Instagram rotated out periodically. If you include your Instagram handle in the display, it promotes your account and encourages students to follow. And it allows anyone in your library to see what’s been going on, whether or not they have an Instagram account.
How to Create a Physical Instagram Display
At my current library, the Instagram display is set up on a large bulletin board in the hallway outside the library. My previous school didn’t have any bulletin boards, so I created it on my office window (check out that throwback post). You could even use an empty wall if you have one.
Here’s what you need:
- A color printer
- Files of your Instagram photos (I use IFTTT to upload mine automatically to my Google Drive)
- Tape, staples, thumb tacks, or some other method to attach images to your surface
- A ruler and/or level if you’re a perfectionist
I created the header above my display in Canva. I like stuff to look official, so I Googled what the official Instagram fonts are (Neue Helvetica was what I ended up using, and I found a .jpg of the logo). For the profile photo, I used a circular Canva frame. I printed all that out in color and attached it at the top–this part is permanent.
Printing Your Images
You can print your Instagram images using a color printer in whatever way works best for you. I always print square images with one image per page, meaning that my photos come out to about 8.5″ x 8.5″. I then cut off the excess so I have nice squares. When I first set up my display, I had a ruler and level handy to make sure that the images were centered and evenly spaced. You don’t have to be that much of a perfectionist if you don’t want to–that’s just me. Once you set up the display initially, it’s easy to change out the images as you add new photos to your Instagram account. I refresh mine every week or so. It makes a nice evergreen display that keeps your students up to date about what’s happening in the library.
Do you have a school library Instagram account? How do you promote it with your students?
Author: Diana Rendina
Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory, an independent 6-12 school. She was previously the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and learning space design and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace and is the author of Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.