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School Library Research

Social Media to Survive and Thrive: School Librarians Describe Online Professional Learning



School librarians balance leadership and instruction in a fluid role that is highly influenced by education trends such as innovation, budget cuts, and distance learning. Prior research found these professionals remain relevant by learning through social media. This exploratory project inquired about the activities, motives, and barriers associated with social media learning. The questionnaire results were dissected by media type (self-published content, curated content, microblogs, discussion forums, and social networks) and by user role (Passerby, Lurker, Networker, Content Creator, and Community Leader). The results showed participants used all five media types and most frequently identified as Lurkers. Although participants most frequently engaged in passive behaviors, participants who self-identified as having active roles were associated with active behaviors. Broadly, participants agreed with motives found in the literature but disagreed with barriers. Distinctions were found when the three question sets (activities, motives, barriers) were dissected by media type and user role. The results can guide individual users as they initiate or expand their social media use and can support leaders as they develop the school librarian community.


  • Michelle Cates, Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies, Florida State University

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