Module 5: Social Networking and Information Policy

Reasons Why Libraries Should be on Social Media

1. Reach and Attract a Wider Audience: School libraries can use social media to highlight resources, services, events and activities to students, teachers and parents. Tools that may be used include Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Blogs, RSS and Twitter. These pathways allow busy teachers and parents to stay informed as to what is happening in the library. In NSW DET Schools there may be restrictions on using some SM tools.  

2. Increase Student Involvement: Social media can be used by the TL, teachers, students or parents to:

  • share book recommendations
  • share book review
  • engage in book clubs
  • post comments or queries on library services
  • post comments or queries on library activities or events.

Students enjoy seeing their work published, therefore social media can be used to highlight and praise the work and efforts of students (likewise the work and efforts of teachers). This communication will lead to conversation and guide the librarian in what the community want (Burkhardt, 2009).

3. Number of Students, Teachers and Parents Reached can be Increased: School Libraries of the future no longer only advertise on noticeboards and school newsletters, to then live in hope that the learning community will see the information and respond! School libraries of today and the future must position themselves in places where their students are gathering if the aim is to increase the number of students reached! One answer is the use of social media, for example Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Having a presence on social media may attract new users (Houghton-Jan, Etches-Johnson & Schmidt, 2009).

4. Sharing Knowledge: The TL is no longer the expert and the guardian of knowledge. TLs are encouraged to highlight to their learning community social media sites where selected information can be obtained, and then explain the benefits and procedures to contribute their created information to these sites. Social media tools that could achieve this are wiki pages or social bookmarking sites such as Delicious. The pooling of our knowledge is far more powerful than each of us working alone.

Social media will alter how in the future school libraries will teach and engage with their learning community. The aim of a school library using social media is to create a stronger community and a better informed learning community. School’s will require a Social Media Policy to educate and guide acceptable online behaviour and activity in order for social media to be a positive experience for all.

Creating a Social Media Policy

When developing a social media policy within a school, consider: 

1. Overall procedure:

  • All stakeholders.
  • Focus on desired behaviours.
  • Review existing policies.
  • Use available reference documents.
  • Draft the document.
  • Seek legal opinion.

2. Clearly State the Purpose of the Policy:

  • Clearly define what the policy is intended for.
  • Who is the policy aimed for.
  • Include information regarding legal requirements.
  • Use positive language.
  • Make the policy available to all in the learning community.

3. Define Terminology:

  • All terminology relating to the policy, and used within the policy, must be defined.

4. Simple and Concise:

  • Keep the policy simple and concise.
  • Be inclusive of all in its circulation, promotion and education of the policy.

5. Further Questions:

  • How will the policy be monitored and enforced?
  • Are different policies required for students, staff and administration?
  • How will social media tools be evaluated?

The impact of social media on society is outlined in the video – Did you know video. The five main points were;

  • Digital ads are growing rapidly.
  • In 2020 the mobile phone will be the primary connection tool to the Internet.
  • News channels in the traditional form are becoming less significant.
  • Ebooks are gaining in popularity.
  • Self publishing of content in a variety of media has increased and continues to increase, for example You Tube.

How might the outlined points highlighted in the video affect employer/employee relations:

  • The use of the internet by employees in the workplace- personal use may be questioned.
  • Loss of work time by employees.
  • Inappropriate use of the internet, or unlawful activities by employees.  
  • Reference made by employees on social network sites that relate to their workplace/ employer or fellow staff members may be questioned.
  • How will mobile phones, and other mobile internet devices, be used by the employee in the workplace.

Information Policy – Why Schools Need One?

According to Weingarten an Information Policy is, ‘the set of all public laws, regulations and policies that encourage, discourage or regulate the creation, use, storage and communication of information’ (as cited in Overman & Cahill, 1990, p.803). As the amount of information available to schools increases, an Information Policy within schools will be important as it will outline the rules that will guide how information can be accessed, used, stored and communicated within the school.

An Information Policy may be a statement of vision, or an outline of a strategic plan. An Information Policy may include:

  • goals and objectives
  • methods/ procedures of implementation
  • responsibility/ roles for implementation
  • time schedule, resources and other factors relating to implementation

Due to the use of social media being on the increase, the impact this will have on how society functions (ethical, social and educational implications), is being closely examined by policy makers. Information Policy issues (relating to social media) that are being examined are:

  • Intellectual property
  • Copyright 
  • Emergence of the Creative Commons
  • Privacy and disclosure of personal information 
  • Cyber safety 
  • Online information access 
  • Appropriate and adequate bandwidth to support increased online activity 
  • Equality for all – breaking down the digital difference
  • Information literacy
  • Digital literacy
  • Social Networking Policy – guiding online behaviour


Burkhardt, A. (2009). Four reasons libraries should be on social media. Retrieved from

Houghton-Jan, S., Etches-Johnson, A., & Schmidt, A. (2009). The read/write web and the future of library research. Journal of Library Administration, 49(4), 365-382. doi: 10.1080/01930820902832496

Overman, E.S., & Cahill, A.G. (1990). Information policy: A study of values in the policy process. Policy Studies Review, 9 (4), 803-818.

XPLANE (2009, Sept, 14) Did you know 4.0 [Video file]. Retrieved from:

Further Recommended Reading


Burkhardt, A. (2010). Social media: A guide for college and university libraries. College & Research Libraries News, 71,(1), 10-24. Retrieved from 

Dempsey, L. (2009). Always on: Libraries in a world of permanent connectivity. First Monday, 14(1). Retrieved from

Rogers, C. R. (2009). Social media, libraries and web 2.0: How American libraries are using new tools for public relations and to attract new users – Second Survey November 2009. Retrieved from

Valenza, J. (2009). 14 ways K-12 librarians can teach social media. Tech & Learning. September 27. Retrieved from:



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