Going Beyond Black History Month Library Displays with a #ReadBlack Social Media Campaign

 

For the record, I do believe that Black humans should be celebrated on the daily. But I also believe in the power of a month dedicated to amazing humans who have done great things in their lifetime. I have always done Black History Month library displays, but last year, I went a step further and incorporated it into my library’s social media campaign. 

Why I Use Social Media

I use social media in the library as a primary way to communicate with students and also get them into the library. 

The majority of my students use Instagram over Twitter, so though I have both for the library, I consistently post on Instagram for my students. I post to Twitter when big things are happening in the library and tag my district administration. For Instagram, on Sunday evenings, I post the library schedule for the week. I post at least once a day using a theme such as Mindful Monday, Tech Tip Tuesday, Weird Word Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, and then either First Page or First Line Friday. We also do Would You Rather Weekends. But, more on that in a later post. 

How I Use #ReadBlack on My Library Social Channels

Last year around this time, I was scrolling through Instagram. (I follow many school librarians). I came across the idea of #ReadBlack and the librarian had an Instagram post every day highlighting a modern-day black author. I thought this idea was unique and a new way to promote the diverse book collection I’ve been working so hard to develop at South as well as introduce students to new books and authors they may not know about. And what better time to do it than the month that celebrates Black humans? I asked if I could steal the idea and once approved, I ran with it and edited the idea to suit my students. 

Instead of featuring the author’s face in my post, I feature one of their books. I find that the students get more excited to see the book covers and that is what brings them into the library looking for those books/authors. 

In the caption area on Instagram, I explain a brief bit about each author’s books and tag their Instagram handle. The kids said they really liked looking at one book that each author wrote and loved that they could click on the author’s handle to follow them and see what they post. (You’re welcome authors for upping your followers!) 

Impact of #ReadBlack

After I did one year of this social media push, I noticed an uptick of books being checked out by Black authors. Students were also buzzing about the social media posts commenting that they really liked them, especially the fact that I added that you should read books by Black authors all year round. 

After this, I couldn’t keep books by Justin Reynolds and Ibi Zoboi on the shelf! I already had a hard time keeping Jason Reynolds, Angie Thomas, Nic Stone, and Tiffany D. Jackson on the shelves, but now they had waiting lists and I was ordering even more copies of all of their books. 

Some Authors to Start With

To easily find the authors in my collection that I have (because I want students who are interested to be able to check out those books right away), I did a simple Google search for “young adult Black authors.” Several of the lists that I looked at were: 

I try to pick different authors each year but there are some that I always repeat because they are so popular and I have all of their books (think Jason Reynolds, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Tiffany D. Jackson). The authors that I have used for 2021 and 2022 are: 

  • Elise Bryant
  • Rena Barron
  • Tiffany D. Jackson
  • Lamar Giles
  • Maika and Maritza Moulite
  • Brandy Colbert
  • Ben Philippe
  • Ibi Zoboi
  • Dean Atta
  • Liara Tamani
  • Tracy Deonn
  • Jason Reynolds
  • Justin A. Reynolds
  • L.L. McKinney
  • Namina Forna
  • Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
  • Kristina Forest
  • Pamela N. Harris
  • Somaiya Dowd
  • Julian Winters
  • Francina Simone
  • Nic Stone
  • Angie Thomas
  • Jay Coles 
  • Nnedi Okorafor
  • Renee Watson
  • Nicola Yoon
  • Kwame Alexander
  • Christina Hammonds Reed
  • Janice Lynn Mather
  • Kim Johnson
  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 
  • Kacen Callender
  • Tony Medina
  • Kalynn Bayron
  • Austin Channing Brown
  • Tiffany Jewell
  • Brittney Morris
  • Tomi Adeyemi
  • Justina Ireland

Grab my #ReadBlack author posts from last year and this year using the links below:

#ReadBlack2021

#ReadBlack2022

In what ways do you use social media to promote Black authors?

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