I am here to tell you it’s simple: you can be a better librarian just by following people on Instagram. There are tons of way to develop yourself, but this one is my favorite. And it’s not as cut and dry as you might think! Following school librarians will let you cut right to the chase. But there is so much wealth to be found by following publishers, classroom teachers, and organizations. What you follow is what your library becomes, so check out this list of seven of my favorite Instagram accounts for school librarians to follow.
I follow Lee and Low books because I am IMPRESSIONABLE. It’s very rare that a book goes across my radar and I don’t instantly want to add it to our collection. Lee and Low, a family-run diverse book publisher, is constantly showcasing their amazing titles, and I don’t have to think twice before purchasing. It’s a relief to know that the books are by authors speaking to their own experiences, free of stereotypes, and of the highest quality — that’s what Lee and Low does. They also have a thriving blog with tons of lesson plans to accompany their books, and often offer really engaging webinars.
Right here! This is your classic school librarian follow. Leigh is a school librarian and a prolific maker of MATERIALS. Lesson plans, signage, social media templates — she does it all. I really appreciate that she’ll often advertise products around the time you’d need to use them — as a new school librarian, I really appreciated the reminders. By following her, you’ll get teasers about new releases, and she often offers discounts during the first few days something is listed in her store!
The Tutu Teacher is pure radiance. Vera creates a rainbow of wonderful in her kindergarten classroom, and education is better for her amazing, constantly updated resources. Her name is always the first one I pass along when people are looking to diversify their classroom libraries. I’m a huge fan of her book recommendations — she does a really cute segment called The First Five, where she shares the first five pages of a book. I’m also over the moon to read her picture book debut, You Have a Voice, which comes out in fall 2021!
Beekle is one of my favorite book characters of all time, and Dan Santat, the author and illustrator of Beekle’s story, has a really good Instagram. Dan Santat is not interchangeable, but this account is included to remind you to follow the authors that you want to include in your collection. Because my library is K–5, I follow lots of picture book authors and middle grade super stars. I like to stay in touch with what people are working on, get sneak peeks at their process, and know when new titles are coming out. Following and interacting with authors has allowed me to plan author visits and made me aware of tons of giveaways and free programs that I use to enrich the library.
Diversify Our Narrative is a grassroots collective of students who demand antiracist curriculum and societal change. It’s amazing to know our students are so informed and care so much about working for the world they deserve. DON offers breaking news, entry points for social justice issues of every kind, workshops and panels for students, antiracist book clubs, and an entire movement to Diversify Your Bookshelf. Their website includes reading recommendations and so many ways to connect your students with others who are taking action.
This is the least obvious follow I’ll suggest, but what Feeding Littles offers is too important to ignore. This account, on its face, is about infant feeding, but since diet culture and negative body narratives attack from infancy, they deal with some important issues. My biggest takeaway from Feeding Littles has been amazing replacement scripts to help adults navigate talking about food and their bodies. They gently suggest swaps such as “Instead of: ‘We can’t have sugar in this house’ try: ‘All foods have a place in my family’s diet.’” There are scripts for discussing exercise, special meals, unwanted comments about your child’s body, picky eaters…it’s frankly amazing. There is a shocking amount of diet talk that happens in a school, and being armed as educators with nonjudgmental phrases that protect all kids is so important. You will not regret following this account.
I started to follow Dawnavyn M. James because I fell in love with her TikTok videos showcasing a day in the life teaching kindergarten remotely. Now I follow her for EVERYTHING — culturally responsive, antiracist teaching, amazing outfits, in depth book discussions with her kiddos, and general jubilance. School librarians should follow for excellent book recs and ideas for facilitating conversations about texts that really let the students’ words shine. Everyone should follow her because they deserve the dose of joy while they’re scrolling.
This is a short list, so help me make it longer! Who are your can’t-unfollow faves? You can find me at @ashlieelizabeth to tell me who I missed.