Google has long dominated in the battle for supremacy between online search engines and is a great resource for information, but with Google+, things get taken a step further as Google becomes even more of an Internet giant. Many stand to benefit from Google's move into the social media realm, including school libraries. With integrations, new opportunities for communication, resources for organizing information, and more, there are so many ways school librarians can use Google+ to improve what libraries offer and enrich the learning experience for students. Read on, and we'll take a look at 50 great tips for getting the most out of Google+ as a school librarian.
Stay in touch with students, teachers, parents, and more through these cool tools and ideas for using Google+ as a communication hub.
- Create polls: Choose films for movie night, pick games, and more through the use of polling on Google+.
- Keep teachers informed: Use Google+ to stay connected with school teachers and make sure that they're always up to date on the latest offerings from the library.
- Offer a Google+ reference desk: With the Messenger feature, you can answer reference questions and more.
- Use instant uploading: Keep your school library on the cutting edge of updates by using instant uploads to share photos and videos from your mobile phone.
- Be responsive: Check out +mentions, messages, and other notifications on Google+ and be sure to interact back whenever possible.
- Find new people through search: Search is what Google does best, and you can find new people to follow on Google+ by searching for a keyword or location.
- Get personalized: Create a custom URL to make it easy for students and teachers to get connected with your school library page.
- Check out suggestions: Be sure to pay attention to the suggestions Google+ offers for you to find interesting people to follow.
- Organize your PLN: With Google+, you can organize and extend your PLN and expand your staff learning.
- Share what's going on at school: Share exciting content about your school library with media, events, and more.
- Have a Page: This one's simple: be sure to set up a Google Plus Page for your school library, to serve as a jumping off point for connections and resources.
Find great ways to organize your groups and get better connected through Google+ using these ideas for Circles.
- Connect with authors: Stay in touch with authors and reading resources in your Circles.
- Make targeted announcements: Share targeted messages within your groups, with different updates for teachers, students, and even parents.
- Create micro-circles: Don't be afraid to create even tiny circles, which will help you broadcast tailored messages to group project members, volunteers, and other important library groups.
- Create study groups: Make circles for students to connect with discussions, book readings, exams, and more.
- Cut down on the noise: Use Circles to carefully compartmentalize the people and pages you want to listen to the most, and check on the right people at the right times.
- Set up circles for students and others: Google+ offers the option to put your followers into a variety of different categories, so take advantage of it and put students, staff, and teachers in groups of their own.
Check out these tips to find out how you can use Hangouts to host chats, reference desk hours, and more, all through Google+.
- Use Hangouts for library learning: If you can't get students to come into the library for seminars on using tools and resources, go to where they are and host chats through Google+ Hangouts.
- Host guest panels: Bring in professors, experts, and other guest speakers through Hangouts that you can share with your school.
- Join Hangouts: See what Hangouts are happening, and join in on ones that are helpful and relevant to your work as a librarian.
- Hold "librarian hours": Host times when students can check in with you for help and ask questions, before, during, and after school.
- Host Q&A sessions: Offer sessions for guidance, Q&A, and resource gathering using Hangouts.
- Host language learning chats: Put together live chats for students to share with learners and language buddies around the world on Google+.
Through these integrations, Google+ plays nice with great tools for learning and librarianship.
- Google+ Badge: Direct users and students to your page with a badge on your library page.
- Google Translate: Chat around the world and gather international knowledge for your school by using Google Translate with Google+ Hangout.
- Google Docs: Create documents in Google Docs, and you can easily share them through Google+. This is great for news, resources, and more.
- Google Calendar: Share events, important dates, and more by integrating Google Calendar with Google+.
Google is a hub of information, so it's not hard to imagine that Google+ only builds upon that. Here are a few ideas for sharing information within or beyond your school library with Google+.
- Share your Reader posts: If you're using Google Reader, share interesting items with your library on Google+.
- Create public sparks: Sparks allow you to type in keywords and build a stream of information, sharing links and resources with your circle, and creating a great place for students to find information.
- Share a variety of documents with the school: Share notes from staff meetings, documents, and more within relevant circles.
- Do lots of listening: Google+ is a great resource to share with students, but it's even better for gathering information and learning as a librarian.
- Join educational circles: Google+ and social media in general offer an incredible opportunity for connecting with and learning from school librarians and educators around the world, so be sure to seek them out and join circles you can learn from.
- Archive interactions: Use Google+'s "Data Liberation" feature to download student interactions and assignments, making them available to share with instructors.
- Every post has a permalink: Click any post's timestamp to get a permalink that can be shared with colleagues who aren't on Google+.
- Share links: Through Google+, you can share links to e-reserves with the whole school.
- Save important content: Create a private Circle just for yourself, and share important content with that Circle. No one else has to see it, but your posts will be archived in that stream.
- Convert your Hangouts to YouTube videos: Turn Hangout interactions into YouTube videos to share great things that were brought up with those who could not attend.
Maximize your time in Google+ by putting these efficiency ideas to work.
- Start important circles with a period: Circles with a first character of a period will be displayed at the top, followed by those with an asterisk.
- Cross-post your updates: Even if you're on Google+, chances are you haven't quite abandoned Facebook and Twitter yet. Instead of taking the time to update all three separately, use a tool like Start G+ to cross-post updates all at once.
- Mute annoying posts: Commenting on posts is a great way to engage, but some threads just get out of control, clogging up your stream. Fortunately, you can mute them temporarily.
- Use shortcuts: You can post and use Google+ quickly by taking advantage of keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys.
- Manage your notification settings: Be careful about getting distracted by notifications by changing your settings to tune out what's not important.
- Tune out the stream: The Google+ stream represents a fire hose of information. Tone it down by checking out updates in Circles instead.
- Pay attention to your stats: Find out when students are most likely to tune in and take action with stats, and be sure to do most of your activity at that time of day.
- Collapse comment threads: Power-browse through your stream by shortening the amount of information you read. Simply click on the comment threads you actually want to expand and read.
Protect your privacy, and that of the library, school, and students, by using these privacy tips for Google+.
- Cut your email out: Check out your Google+ settings to edit who is allowed to send you an email from your profile.
- Remember that public posts are indexed by Google: You should always be careful about what you post online on behalf of the library, but it's especially important to remember that Google+ will index all public posts for the world to see.
- Control what you share: Carefully share only what you really need to by carefully selecting who sees what you're posting in Google+.
- It is possible to block users: Although libraries should aim for an inclusive Google+ environment, abusive users can be blocked if necessary.
- Disable instant upload: Instant Upload is a great feature, but only if you want it. Think about whether or not it works for you and your library's privacy.