New in the Library: Getting the Word Out with Newsletters

January 2012 marks the one year anniversary of when I started my first position as a teacher librarian. In celebration and in way of thanks for all the help I’ve been given in that year, I am hosting a series of posts this month for new teacher librarians.

Stepping into the library for the first time, I knew I wanted the staff to know what was available to them through the library. When I came on board in the district, my school now had a librarian for two days a week rather than one (I had a floating day every other week to work on different technology related library things for all the elementary schools as well). I wanted to let everyone know what I was doing and how that extra time would be used (flexible scheduling being a new opportunity then), what the third and fourth grade classes I saw weekly would be doing, etc.

As I wasn’t in my building every day last year, I created a simple e-mail newsletter to send out to the staff with updates about library events and announcements of new books coming into the library. My newsletter comes out at least once a month and often try to get one out twice a month. Other times it comes out more often. I keep my newsletter’s appearance pretty basic.

I love collecting ideas. I subscribe to many different blogs and I love pouring over what librarians and teachers post to Twitter. I tag some of the resources with grade levels or curricular areas. This year I also started added my links to a diigo account I can reference at the end of my newsletter as a place to check for links from previous issues. The links I include might be directly related to information literacy or literature appreciation, but they are just as likely to be science or math sites at the elementary level.

This year I also send out a monthly newsletter to all four of our elementary schools as part of my technology time. I’ve created screencasts on how to use some of our resources so more teachers can be aware of them and highlighted different features that aren’t as obvious.One added benefit of sending out my newsletters is that then staff will reply to them if they have other library or technology related questions for me, such as how to access our databases. The newsletters also show I’m actively looking for resources that will benefit them in their classroom and not just for things that help me.

At first, I was nervous about sending out too many emails to my staff and stuck primarily to my newsletters to get out information. Now I’m more comfortable targeting a grade with a particular resource or opportunity. My school also has some Montessori rooms so they will get updates on things that specifically match their curriculum.

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