Social Networking

What is a Social Network?

“Online social networks are communities of people who share interests and activities or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most services are primarily web-based and provide a collection of various ways for users to interact, such as chatmessagingemailvideovoice chatfile sharing,bloggingdiscussion groups, and so on. Social networking has revolutionized the way we communicate and share information with one another in today’s society. Various social networking websites are being used by millions of people everyday on a regular basis and it now seems that social networking is a part of everyday life.” (Wikipedia)

Because schools generally employ only one or two professional school library media specialists, many school library media specialists often feel isolated. Social networks can provide professional contacts, dialogs, collaboration and relationships.

Using Social Networks in schools

  • set up a site on MySpace or Facebook for their school for students and parents to access school resources and information
  • see what topics students are discussing
  • keep students focused on work
  • share information about school library media services
  • share information and ideas with other professionals
  • request help from professional colleagues
  • learn from professional colleagues
  • share what they are reading with colleagues, parents and students
  • host videos, photos and discussions with colleagues, teachers, and/or students
  • learn about social networking
  • keep in touch with friends, family and library media specialists in other schools and districts
  • work on professional association committees
  • teach students about social networks
  • teach students about Internet safety
  • teach parents about social networking and safety issues
  • teach teachers about social networking and how they can use them
  • provide a collaborative workspace for students’ multimedia projects
  • provide a collaborative workspace for teacher/lms work
  • communicate with students
  • provide a virtual meeting and sharing place for book clubs
  • catalog books
  • find new things for students to read based on what they like to read
  • find new things for professional reading and personal reading
  • collaborate with colleagues who have similar interests worldwide
  • store related things together: videos, photos, articles, RSS feeds, etc. by curriculum area, teacher, or research topic


Top Social Networking Tools

These are some of the most popular social networking tools used by school library media specialists.

  • Edmodo provides a safe and easy way for your class to connect and collaborate, share content, and access homework, grades and school notices.
  • Ning A site for creating your own social network for personal or professional use–or both! Or join one that already exists. See Ning features here. Search for topics of interest to you to see Nings that exist. Here are few ning groups that may be of interest to you:
    • Ning in Education For those using the Ning social networking platform in education
    • The Educators PLN is probably one of the most known social networks for teachers. This is basically a Ning site dedicated to the support of a Personal Learning Network for Teachers.
    • Literacy Forum Joining diverse groups of people to engage in literacy dialogue, collaborate on projects and boost literacy levels from coast to coast to coast
    • Classroom 2.0 For those interested in Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in education.
    • eBooks in Education A place to discuss and learn about the potential and the pitfalls of using ebooks in education.
    • EdubloggerWorld Created to facilitate connections and community among educational bloggers worldwide.
    • Great Libraries For school library media supervisors
    • Libraries 2.0 What’s new and what’s coming in libraryland? See the school libraries group, too.
    • Teacher-Librarian Network For those of us who connect, teach, share, and lead in new information landscapes–library media specialists! See groups within T-LN here.
    • BookVideoNing Sharing media (in any digital format) to promote books, reading, and literacy K-12.


  • Twitter A service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing? Through the use of hashtags, users indicate items of interest to specific groups. For example, #tlchat is used for teacher librarians, #edtech for educational technology, #librarians for items of general interest to librarians, #infolit for information literacy and so on. See more about educational hashtags.


  • LevelUp Book Club is designed for those interested in games in education to support one another, share ideas for gamifying the instruction and lend a hand for the epic win. Organized by two teacher librarians, Matthew Winner and Jennifer LeGarde, members read and discuss books on games in education, try out new games, and explore the question: Instead of competing with them, how can we harness what’s compelling and motivating about video games to make education a little more epic and a lot more fun?


  • Google+ Use your Google account to form circles of people with similar interests and share with specific groups. As of December 2012, it has a total of 500 million registered users of whom 235 million are active on a monthly basis. Google+ also includesGoogle Hangouts, live video chats for two or many so you can host virtual meetings or broadcast an event to the world. A relatively new feature, Google+ Communities allow users to create ongoing conversations about particular topics. Among the communities: TLChat, EdTech, Education Revolution, Common Core, Google Apps for Education, Harry Potter, School Technology Leadership, and Geeks.

More Examples

  • aNobii
  • Badoo
  • Bebo
  • Facebook A social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. The ISTE special interest group for school library media specialists has a Facebook page and there is a Librarians and Facebook group and a Librarians and Web 2.0 group. You can search for people or groups with like interests.
  • Friendster
  • imbee Social network for students. Educator accounts and information here.
  • Jaiku
  • LinkedIn claims to be the largest professional networking community with 175 million+ members. “Manage your professional identity. Build and engage with your professional network. Access knowledge, insights and opportunities.” Find jobs, connect with peers, schools, organizations and companies. Share articles and items of interest. Join groups focused on your interests.
  • LL4Schools – an e-safe social network for teachers and pupils (subscription based – no ads!)
  • LL4Education – a free social network for educationalists using the same platform as LL4Schools
  • MySpace Virtual community site allows users to network, meet people, browse their profiles, and make friends from all around the world. There are many groups for librarians and/or school library media specialists. Many libraries and school libraries maintain pages in MySpace because young people are frequent visitors.
  • Neetz similar to Ning. Create Blogs and Forums. Share photos, videos and music.
  • WackWall – create your own social network
  • Yuku -easy to create online community site with profiles, chat, photo galleries, polls, community calendars, in-line video embedding, blogs
  • List of Social Networking Websites (Wikipedia) with descriptions/focus
  • Social Networking Sites for Kids A mother provides lists of social networking sites and age requirements for participation in each
  • 35 Ways to Stream Your Life

Library and Educational Technology Oriented:

  • 22books Dedicated to the creating, sharing, and viewing of book lists. Titles link to descriptions from Amazon.
  • BookLamp is a system for matching readers to books through an analysis of writing styles, similar to the way that matches music lovers to new music and share comments with other readers.
  • BookMooch A community for exchanging used books. BookMooch lets you give away books you no longer need in exchange for books you really want. Every time you give someone a book, you earn a point and can get any book you want from anyone else at BookMooch.
  • Booktagger Another online bookshelf application to list the books you’ve read and to share them with others. Discover books to read by browsing others’ bookshelves, list the books you’ve read and want to read and much more.
  • Global Read Aloud“Global collaboration is necessary to show students that they are part of something bigger than them. That the world needs to be protected and that we need to care for all people. You can show them pictures of kids in other countries but why not have them speak to each other? Then the caring can begin.”
    • “The premise is simple; we pick a book to read aloud to our students during a set 4-week period and during that time we try to make as many global connections as possible. Each teacher decides how much time they would like to dedicate and how involved they would like to be. Some people choose to connect with just one class, while others go for as many as possible. The scope and depth of the project is up to you. In the past we have used Twitter, Skype, Edmodo, our wiki, email, regular mail, Kidblog, and any other tools we can think of to make these connections. Teachers get a community of other educators to do a global project with, hopefully inspiring them to continue these connections through the year. “
  • GoodReads See what your friends are reading. Rank and review titles you’ve read. Keep track of what you’re currently reading and what you’d like to read.
  • Integrating Technology for Active Lifelong Learning(IT4ALL)
    ” IT4ALL is a huge network with followers and graduates of Moodle for Teacher (M4T) workshops. The members of IT4ALL contribute to the success of the workshops and the learning community.The workshops at IT4ALL are facilitated by educators who follow a relationship-based collaborative learning approach where participants become active learners. Active learning goes beyond active participation as teachers and students become partners of learning and learn through teaching. The rationale behind active learning is that teachers are expert learners who can facilitate the process of learning.. “
  • LibraryThing Enter what you’re reading or your whole library—it’s an easy, library-quality catalog. LibraryThing also connects you with people who read the same things. Show your books: on a shelf oras a list. Library Journal says, “LibraryThing is a highly social service: find similar users, join groups, subscribe to watch lists or RSS feeds of your favorite LibraryThing catalogers, discuss books, and comment on others’ collections.” LibraryThing for Libraries lets you integrate many of LibraryThing’s features in your own catalog. A widgetallows you to share titles on your blog or webpage.
  • Libro “A simple way to tag, save, manage and share books from With emphasis on the power of the community, LibroSpot greatly improves how people discover, remember and share books on the Internet.”
  • Muse A social utility that connects you with Internet2-enabled technologies and educators in your region and around the globe. Learn how next-generation Internet applications are being used everyday to inspire educational excellence. Take the “librarian’s tour.”
  • Shelfari A social networking site focused on books. Members can build virtual bookshelves, tag, discover, rate and discuss books, and participate in online groups.
  • Web Junction from OCLC is an online community where library staff meet to share ideas, solve problems, take online courses – and have fun.
  • 25 Social Networking Tools for Librarians
  • (Over) 100 Social Networks for Learning Professionals
  • The Top 18 Social Learning Networks for Teachers

A little different:

  • Flock: An internet browser that “pulls all of your favorite people, places and content together in a convenient view and delivers a more personal experience of the web, where its users are more easily connected to what’s important to them.” It’s actually built on top of Firefox, and in most cases will support your favorite Firefox software plug-ins and extensions as readily as Firefox itself. What’s different from Firefox is Flock’s ability to work in harmony not only with sites like Facebook and Twitter, but also photo- and video-sharing sites like Flickr from Yahoo!, Picasa from Google, and YouTube. Essentially, it’s a regular Internet browser, but with added features for heavy users of social networking services like FacebookTwitter, and the like.
  • A social micro-blogging tool similary to the popular Twitter, but it lets you send almost any kind of file with your messages.
  • Second Life An online 3D virtual world built by and inhabited by users. Meet others, listen to lectures, take courses all in your Second Life. See Second Life Library blog. Alliance Library System maintains InfoIsland in Second Life. Take a Tour of InfoIsland via YouTube. ALAand ISTE also have property there.
  • iBreadCrumbs “A social network for researchers to share recorded URLS, track websites, review notes online, and encourage online collaborative research.”
  • Second Brain Organize all your links, videos, photos, social bookmarks into folders and share with others. You can also explore what others have collected.
  • We Are Teachers – a social network for teachers: “provides a tangible business opportunity, enabling teachers to productize what they do, to be paid for their expert advice, and to have a stake in the knowledge marketplace.”



Learn More!


More Info

For more about how libraries and school library media centers are using social networks, see: