Boosting your Library's Image with Free Digital Tools

2015 TCEA Library Academy

Jeanine Boyett, Library/Digital Media Coordinator, Region 8 Education Service Center           903-575-2669  

                      Karey Brown, Instructional Technology Specialist, Denton ISD                                    940-369-1600    

Today’s students don’t want to go to the library. What can we do to encourage them to use the library? Technology impacts every area of our lives, especially for students who are digital natives who are always multitasking with their devices. They take their devices everywhere and learn through interactions and collaborations. Our goal today is to provide you with some options to draw students into the library and cultivate a love of books.

Social Media Options

Pinterest is  a social media tool based on recommendations and works like a virtual pinboard. You can collect a ton of visuals to tell your story and users browse your pinboard. Lots of libraries are exploring how to use Pinterest to promote their work.

Use Pinterest to pin book covers in order to showcase your collection. Set up boards to show case genres, new releases, book club selections and more.  

There are just four steps for using this mobile app.

  1. Take a photo with your phone or tablet.
  2. Add a filter: For example, Inkwell to create a black and white photo, or 1977 to give it that old Polaroid feel.
  3. Add a caption.
  4. Share with your friends and networks.

Instagram creates some interesting opportunities in a world where visual storytelling is the most powerful form of marketing.  At the secondary level, most if not all of your students are using Instagram accounts outside of school.  Many of your parents have accounts, too.    Why not create a library account to promote what's happening in your world?  You can use Instagram share new releases, book clubs, upcoming book fairs and more!   Have students promote their favorite reads, share projects from class and so much more!   They say a picture is worth a thousand words......give it a try!

Also available as apps in the iTunes and Google Play Stores

This is an extremely easy to use social media tool. Have you ever said something witty and only the walls are listening? Now you can tweet your witticisms out--along with any other 140 character headlines, newsflashes, and quick tips. All you have to do is get patrons to follow you. Think signage. And contests where they have to "follow" you to win.or

#librarychat - consider a weekly opportunity for students and teacher to chat about new book releases, book clubs, school events and maybe even a slow chat.   A slow chat would allow students and staff to spend the day (or a few hours) talking  about books, favorite characters, dynamic plots and more.    

This can be your virtual gathering place, news feed and photo album--all for free. Just be sure to keep up with it. Many "fans" and "followers" lose interest if you are not updating frequently and providing current material—sort of sounds like your print collection, right?

Living Tree

LivingTree provides a private, secure collaboration network. Districts, schools, teachers, and other organizations can send alerts, manage volunteers, share messages, photos, files, calendar events, and more - all in a single, private and secure place, wherever you are.

Edmodo is a social network and learning platform combined.   Teachers/Librarians add groups, classes or clubs, students and parents can join through an access code....and communication begins in a controlled environment.   Create a quiz on library skills, provide access to 100's of free apps, have book discussions, send out alerts and news notices, have students post reviews or summaries of the books their reading, conduct polls, upload commonly used files, videos and more!   Create a community of collaborators and spread the love of reading!   

Even if you choose not to use it with your students, most teachers love it as a way to create a professional learning network (PLN) and  network with other people with similar interests.  This list contains groups from a variety of interests and educators all over the world.  Edmodo PLN List

Also available as apps for use with Android Devices, Apple Devices and Chromebooks

Augmented Reality

An augmented reality tool allows you to overlay images and videos as your student’s tablet or smart phone scans an area or item. Aurasma (one of the most popular apps)  allows you to select a “trigger” image like your circulation desk, library stacks, or even a photo, and then magic happens! As students scan an area you have set up your library with a device, an “aura” will appear. An overlay is revealed on top of what the phone/tablet is scanning. The cool part is that the layer can be an animation, a video, or even a URL. It can be a very Harry Potterlike experience—scanning a poster or bulletin board can give the impression that the images themselves are coming to life!

Create images throughout the library to showcase your resources, and to instruct in the use of library devices. For example, if a student scans a smart phone over the circulation computer, a brief “how-to” video appears, giving instructions on how to search for materials. Student work can be displayed, animated book trailers created , ..... the possibilities are endless.  

Bring books to "life" with Augmented Reality Tools!

QR Codes in the Library

QR, or Quick Response Codes are used for a variety of purposes.  In education, one of the best ways to use a QR code is to get information out to our students quickly.   There are lots of options for using QR codes, but the best part is they are easy to create......and students love to use them.   QR codes allow you to add audio, video, web links, and more

Promotional Tools

There are numerous ways to promote your library both online or in print .  One of the most crucial pieces (in our humble opinion) is a library website or blog.   Student are "plugged in" to all types of media - to reach them we must be" plugged in" as well.  


Applications:  Word/Docs, Publisher, Smore/Tackk, Canva, PowerPoint

Library Newsletter Resouces on Pinterest

Book Reviews

Try:   Animoto, Powtoon, PowerPoint, YouTube, Teacher Tube, 30Hands(iPad App),  Interactive elements like QR codes or AR objects and Chatterpix

Book Review Templates

Student book reviews- Teacher Tube

Websites, Blogs or Wikis


Canva makes design simple for everyone. Create designs for Web or print: blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers, flyers, posters, invitations and so much more.  It's even an iPad App!  


An easy free way to create online flyers, websites, blogs and more!  

Library Tackk to access databases

Advertise your book fair!

General Information -Forms and Instructions


Collect Information with the power of Google Forms

  • Book Requests
  • Book Recommendations/Reviews
  • Young Reader's Choice Surveys
  • Sign in/Sign Out Forms
  • Research Materials Requests
  • Equipment Request Forms
  • Student Surveys
  • Teacher Requests

Word Lens - now Google Translator App- Android or Apple

Word Lens is an augmented reality translation application now a Google Translation app.  Word Lens uses the built-in cameras on smartphones and similar devices to quickly scan and identify foreign text (such as that found in a sign or a menu), and then translate and display the words in another language on the device's display. The words are displayed in the original context on the original background, and the translation is performed in real-time without connection to the internet. For example, using the viewfinder of a camera to show a shop sign on a smartphone's display will result in a real-time image of the shop sign being displayed, but the words shown on the sign will be the translated words instead of the original foreign words.

Video - Slide Show for Presentations

Adobe Voice

An  easy-to-use app that  allows you to create stories using a combination of still images, icons, voice narration, and background music. The end result is a cross between a video and a slideshow. Available as an iPad App

Creating your own YouTube Channel

YouTube is an online video hosting service that lets people share their videos. Businesses, schools and individuals use YouTube to share or find videos, including entertainment, promotions and instructions. YouTube enables people around the world to interact, share and create content through online communities.

Because of its popularity with teens, and YouTube's many features, it can be a useful way to market your library.

Consider videos for:

  • Book check out procedures (self check out)
  • How to connect to the school the Wifi
  • How to use the card catalog to find your book
  • Basic library procedures
  • Log in procedures for the library database resources
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Proper Citation