Posts Tagged ‘marketing’
Due to the library renovation taking place at MPOW (you can read more about the project here) the librarians are embedded around campus in different academic buildings. We tried to relocate each subject librarian to be near at least one of the departments they liaise with or, in some cases, in highly student-trafficked buildings. Some goals of the initiative are to improve library visibility to the entire university community, develop more meaningful and effective relationships with faculty, and provide research assistance more closely to the point-of-need for students (before, during, between, after classes, etc).
Another facet of this “experiment within an experiment” is that librarians will be holding regular open office hours – starting with three hours per week. As far as I’m aware, this hasn’t been done at Millersville in the past, but I am very excited to give it a try. It’s one of the many things we are adding to our “suite of services” since we are not staffing a traditional reference desk for the time being. Yes, you heard right, but that’s the topic of another post coming very soon so you’ll have to wait to learn more.
I think one challenge to offering librarian open office hours will be promoting it. It’s not simply a case of “if you build it, they will come.” Teaching faculty have class syllabi where they can list this sort of information and they also have the power of grading on their side. Some things I am doing (or are in the works) to promote my office hours include:
- The creation of this simple landing page which includes my contact information, subject areas, office location, photo and will eventually list my regular open office hours.
- QR codes leading to said landing page on my office door and courtyard-facing window.
- Emailed all faculty in my subject areas with my information, the landing page link, and the QR code inviting them to list it on their course syllabi.
- Will mention office hours in all of the library instruction sessions I teach this fall.
- Will have a sign on my door listing my office hours.
Problem #1: I have not set my hours yet (and have to within a week)! Has anyone tried this and had success or failure with any particular time slots or days? I suppose it depends on the institution, but I am interested in any feedback you have. I emailed an MU colleague and he suggested that late morning and lunch hour-ish tend to be best (between 10:30am-2:30pm). I also have to consider commuter students who have evening classes. Thoughts?
Problem #2: What am I not thinking of in terms of promoting this new initiative? How can I encourage students (or even faculty & staff) to stop by or schedule an appointment? All creative ideas are welcome!
*Note: Open office hours are not the only way we are providing research assistance to the university community during the renovation. I’ll also be doing at least 5 hours/week of virtual research assistance (monitoring phone, text messages, chat/IM & email inquiries) and we’re planning strategic “blasts” of in-person research help during the busiest times of the semester based on past statistics.*
I have a guest post over at ACRLog today, so check it out if you have a few minutes! I decided to talk about our upcoming renovation project since it’s the thing I’ve been spending the majority of my time on at work lately. As outreach librarian I have been coordinating lots of communication about the project (including its spot in the University Soar to Greatness campaign) as well as the transition and design planning.
Sunday was a busy day as well. I started out with the PRMS Swap & Shop in the exhibit hall. It was so heavily geared toward public libraries that I didn’t pick up much. I am pretty disappointed that more academic libraries don’t submit materials, and my experience really strengthened my resolution to submit something next year. I did pick up some nicely-designed pieces including the Northern Kentucky one book one community brochure, the Southwestern Indiana one book one community brochure, the Ela Area Public Library Anne Frank Exhibit and Special Event booklet (very awesome!), the Melsa Metro Public Libraries short film competition mailer, and the Grand Rapids Public Library Spilled Ink book club brochure. All of these items will be going on my office “wall of inspiration,” a bulletin board filled with well-designed promotional materials.
After wandering around the exhibits for a bit, I met up with two PA colleagues for lunch. We discussed our conference and EL experiences and did a bit of planning for an upcoming presentation. We will be doing a session at the Pennsylvania Library Association Annual Conference in Harrisburg this October. The presentation is going to be about our experiences and projects from the ALA Emerging Leaders program. If you’re in town for the conference, you should probably come see us!
Post-lunch was my first meeting with the ACRL 2011 Conference Planning Committee. We have such a great group of people working on the next conference! I am very excited and a little bit nervous. I’m really jumping right in as a co-chair of the virtual conference, but I am confident that my co-chair will help steer me in the right direction. The 2011 ACRL conference is going to be in Philadelphia, so all of you PA people take note. And if you can’t make it in person, please consider signing up or submitting proposals for the virtual conference!
After the meeting concluded, I accompanied one of my colleagues over to the Sheraton for a PA Librarians meetup! It was fun to chat with people I know (and somehow know me!) from PaLA about the conference and our nightmare of a budget back home. After some food and drink I headed back down Michigan Ave to get ready for the OCLC Blog Salon. The Salon was fun, and I got to meet a few (new to me) bloggers/twitterers (including Amy Kearns, who I actually sat next to on the airport shuttle w/out realizing it & Bobbi Newman from Librarian By Day) as well as reconnect with some people I met at the ALA Midwinter OCLC Blog Salon (including Lori Reed from Library Trainer). There are tons of people I wanted to meet there, but alas. Maybe next time.
For dinner we tried Nui Japanese Fusion Lounge for some sushi. It was probably the most delicious I have ever had! We started out sharing a seafood crepe and an order of edamame (addicted much?!). Then we split two rolls: mellow yellow (fresh Norwegian salmon, tempura crunch, avocado, spicy mayo, topped w/ mango & ginger sauce) and salmon delight (fresh scallop, Alaskan shredded crab, cucumber, radish sprout, topped w/ fresh Norwegian salmon, avocado & thin sliced lemon). And we had the most delicious desert – hot chocolate cake. So good! I tried a glass of plum wine as well, which was sweet and yummy.
My first piece as the new editor of the Job of a Lifetime (JOAL) column in College & Research Libraries News is available online now! Not only can you read about Brian Mathews‘ job as the User Experience Librarian at Georgia Tech, but we did a brief corresponding podcast as well:
One caveat – I do not have a “radio voice” and have not listened to the podcast since C&RL News Editor David Free kindly edited it up for us. So I can’t be held responsible!
I really enjoyed working on my first column, and I hope that the interview with Brian will help other libraries and librarians recognize the many creative ways we can reach out and listen to our users. Brian had just finished his first day at his new position as assistant university librarian for outreach and academic services at the University of California – Santa Barbara on the evening we recorded the podcast – so a huge thank you goes out to him for extending his already crazy day!
I’ll be starting the next interview shortly, so if you think you have the “Job of a Lifetime,” please let me know. Enjoy & feel free to leave comments!
In addition to attending the previously posted sessions at the 2009 SSHELCO Meeting, I had the opportunity to participate in my first library conference presentation, addressing the topic of academic library outreach. I was lucky that my first presentation didn’t have to be solo – I had a bunch of great colleagues from different PASSHE schools to alleviate some of the pressure. Here’s how we worked our panel session:
I contacted peers at other PASSHE schools who were obviously working with outreach/marketing/pr (I was able to tell from their job titles or previous communications). My goal was to have as many institutions represented as possible in order to gather different viewpoints. We ended up having six of the 14 universities represented (initially seven but one panelist had to drop out due to other obligations). We collaboratively wrote up the proposal and submitted it to the conference committee. After it was accepted, we talked via email until about three weeks before the session. At that point, I created a survey soliciting questions that academic librarians had relating to outreach, promotion, publicity and marketing. We got over 60 responses with 47 concrete questions. If you are interested, please view Outreach Questions, which includes the responses we received. It was cool how similar questions seemed to naturally fall into distinct categories, which can be seen with my headings in the document. It’s also telling that my (our) peers have so many questions about why, exactly, we need outreach/pr/marketing in academic libraries. I bet I could do something interesting with this data… hmmm…
After compiling all of the submissions, I forwarded the list to the group of panelists and had everyone rank their top three choices. I thought that it was important to let everyone decide which question they would be focusing on based on their different skills, job responsibilities and comfort levels. We also tried to touch on something from at least one of each of the main question categories. When we got together for the panel session, we had a very simple slideshow (basically stating the question, job title of the person who submitted it, and the name/title/contact info. of the panelist who was addressing it) and everyone talked about their question for approximately 9 minutes. At the end of the session we had time for questions and group discussion.
Overall, I think the panel went great. A few weeks ago I received the audience evaluations which were positive (comments included below) and gave me a nice little boost of confidence moving forward with other presentations/publications/research opportunities. Hopefully, this post will encourage other new librarians to try their hand at professional development – it’s not as bad as you might think! Panels are a nice way to start out because co-presenting helps distribute the workload, isn’t as nerve-wracking, and in the end provides you with a connected group of like minded colleagues (yay for networking!). Panelist Karen Wanamaker started the blog The Heart of the Campus as a follow up to our discussions at the conference, so check it out if you’re interested. Thank you to the SSHELCO conference committee for giving us the opportunity to present and to my fellow panelists for a job well done!
Panel questions that were addressed:
“What unique partnerships are libraries taking part in to offer unique promotions (theatre, athletics, first year students, etc.)?” – from a Help Desk/Web Support Librarian, addressed by Kelly Heider, Education Librarian & Chair of the Library Events Team at Indiana University
“Is there value in outreach events that are not seen as academic but are more for fun?” - from a Science/Outreach Librarian, addressed by Catherine Rudowsky, Outreach Librarian at Slippery Rock University
“What assessment tools or data collection measures have you designed to judge the effectiveness of any of your outreach efforts?” – from an Assistant Vice President of Technology and Library Services, addressed by Matthew Syrett, Reference Librarian at Mansfield University
“Some institutions have newly-developed positions for outreach librarians; what exactly do their job responsibilities include (and not include)?” – from a Science Librarian, addressed by Erin Dorney, Outreach Librarian at Millersville University
“How do you select which communication channel to use for outreach (Library Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Paper Newsletter, Email Newsletter, etc.)?” – from a Systems & Electronic Resources / Web Librarian, addressed by Karen Wanamaker, Education Librarian & Library Public Relations Committee Chair at Kutztown University
“With faculty busy and bombarded by email, how do you reach them to share important library information?” -from a Collection Management Librarian, addressed by Linda Neyer, Reference Librarian, Science/Health Sciences Subject Specialist & Co-Chair of the Library Marketing Task Force at Bloomsburg University
Comments from audience evaluations:
What I liked most about the session:
- Great suggestions and ideas about Outreach.
- The panelists were well-prepared, and seem to be doing exciting projects at their universities.
- Very inspiring – very knowledgeable; the format was nice too – culling questions in advance kept on task.
- Practical advice.
- Different perspectives on the topic, good ideas for marketing and outreach.
- EXCELLENT SESSION!
- Very informative topic & discussion; should continue each year or as a SIG or roundtable.
- Liked the format w/each panelist focusing on a specific question; great ideas!!
- Lots of good ideas on an important topic!
- I really loved the panels ideas, suggestions and programs that are working for outreach at their campuses.
- Interesting to see what various schools are doing.
- It was an interesting way to start discussion by doing the survey ahead of time and then using the questions from the survey.
- Couple of nice ideas.
What I liked least about the session:
- Would have been great to have examples of many of the things they talked about i.e. newsletter, blog, twitter, Facebook, etc.
- I liked the multiple-presenters set-up; it kept you engaged.
- It would be nice to see pictures/examples of outreach efforts – but thanks for offering to send them along if we ask!
- As a staff person, we see are very involved in helping patrons whenever we can.
- Not very motivational, could not hear them at times.
- Presentations were generally very good, one or 2 not as informative, did not focus on the question.
- Not very overwhelming.
- As an undergrad at our campus, I was very intimidated by asking a question of a librarian, and now they seem so friendly and helpful to all. Now I am one of them. We all really reach out to help patrons and the community.
- Next year could we have a discussion of outreach techniques that have been successful & those that failed?
Friday I am presenting at the 2008 ACRL/NY Symposium “The 21st Century Library: Targeting the Trends” at Baruch College in NYC. I am doing a non-traditional poster session. By non-traditional, I mean that I do not actually have a poster (say what?!). I do not have a poster because Amtrak guidelines would not allow me to bring my large poster board on the train. Due to the fact that my non-poster presentation is about practicing environmentally friendly methods of academic library outreach, I decided to practice what I preach (or do my best to try). I am taking mass transit from Lancaster to NYC as well as within the city, my non-poster did not require expensive printing or foam core spray mounting (rendering the poster board virtually useless after one presentation), and is fashioned from recycled materials.
As for handouts, I was supposed to print 170. Instead, I printed 75, on 30% post-consumer content recycled paper and I have sign up sheets for when/if I run out. Anyone who signs up during the Symposium will get a personal email from me including an electronic PDF of my one page handout, for their online viewing pleasure. Handouts are also available here on my blog and on the Symposium website for interested parties.
Please feel free to use any of these materials in your own way/shape/form. Many of my ideas and inspirations came from various blogs and articles, most of which I tried to link to here. Thank you!
My non-poster session materials:
A week from today, I was out in Valley Forge attending my first Pennsylvania Library Association Annual Conference (PaLA). I tried to briefly organize my thoughts below utilizing the classic “bulleted list.” I’ll probably be posting later about my poster session.
- Location: The conference location has got to be one of the most confusing buildings, ever. From my observations, it is essentially three different entities all joined together (in a very ramshackle manner): the Radisson Hotel, the Scanticon, and the Convention Center. I give the signage committee major props because directions were plentiful, clear, and concise. If not for those big white signs, I would have spent the majority of the conference lost in the bowels of the employee only entrance (seriously, it’s scary down there). Overall, I did not think the place was all it’s cracked up to be (or maybe it’s not, I don’t know, I’m the neewbie here). In more than one session, the drop ceilings were missing panels, you could hear other presenters (even though the Scanticon website touts “Acoustically designed space”), and the provided food was not very good. I suppose certain things have to be sub-par with such a large group, but it’s disappointing to pay $50 or $25 for a meal and not be able to eat it (I was able to enjoy at least some portion of each meal, mainly dessert, but some of my colleagues found theirs entirely inedible). I am very excited about the 2009 conference at the Harrisburg Hilton and even more so for the 2010 conference which is being hosted by the Lancaster County Convention Center at the Marriott Lancaster!
- Sessions: I enjoyed most of the sessions I attended. My favorites were Supervisory 101 (which I hadn’t initially planned on attending and am now glad that I did) and Creating a Brand Identity for Information Resources (I mean, come on, it blatantly screams my name). Highlights below
- State Award Winners Share Their Marketing Success Stories - So much can be accomplished with dedication! Two of the three winners coordinated award winning outreach events & services with less than five full time library staff members (Matthews Public Library & Village Library of Morgantown). The third designed a promotional campaign that invited patrons as participants, making it wholly successful (Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh).
- Reading People: Successful Advocacy for Savvy Trustees - “It’s all about who you know” – Janice Trapp, James V. Brown Library… ’nuff said.
- Ourselves and Our Colleagues: Librarian, Faculty and Administrator Relations in a Changing Academic Setting - The number one threat to higher education is resistance to change. Attributes for success include ability to innovate, sense of mission, and executive leadership. “Expectation shapes reality” – Terence Mech, King’s College. What does a “desk lunch” say about your institution? Think about it.
- Help! I’m in Charge!: Supervisory 101 - Help them see how their piece fits in to the overall organization, give sincere praise and recognition, facilitate open communication, and allow participatory decision making. Power is often confused with leadership. When there is an issue, “listen more than speak” – Tracey Carey, Public Library for Union County.
- Navigating the Future in Libraries - I tried to attend this, but the room was literally full! No floor sitting or standing room. I tried standing outside the door but then I couldn’t hear. It’s telling that so many of us were interested in hearing Norma Blake (Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year 2008) speak about upcoming changes in libraries and how to stay motivated in the midst of change! I’m betting it was good!
- Creating a Brand Identity to Market Information Services - Refocus vs rebrand, see it from the customer’s perspective, characteristics of a brand identity are memorable, noticeable, unique & purposeful. Why is it important to have a brand? Because we’re in a changing marketplace, we have competition, differentiation is more and more challenging, and choice is informed by belief as well as emotional values – Betty Jo Hibberd, Thomson Scientific.
- Academic Library Reorganization - The first library (Villanova University) changed “departments” to “teams” and replaced “reference” with “academic integration.” Academic integration includes collection development, liaisoning, research support & instruction. Research support = most librarians do consultations in their offices. The second library (Bucks County Community College) showed some awesome pictures of their new library spaces (I totally want to take a trip there and scope it out) and mentioned that they will be closing their library on Sundays this winter to cut down on fuel costs but will be having someone monitoring IM from home. Interesting!
- Other (?): On Tuesday I had the chance to meet and hear Joe Janes speak. He was wonderfully motivating! And an SU alum like me! The best quote from his talk: “I don’t teach reference, I teach interrogation.” I also got to attend the Annual Awards Banquet where I watched “statebrarian” Clare Zales receive the PaLA Distinguished Service Award. She’s the Pennsylvania State Librarian who recently testified for Congress regarding the importance of libraries. She’s done a lot of other amazing things too, and it was great to see her accept this honor. At that very same banquet, I ate some delicious chocolate raspberry chambord cake and heard author Mary Doria Russell speak about how libraries have impacted her life and writing. She is an amazing speaker! Tuesday was a busy day; it was also when I spoke briefly about being selected as the PaLA sponsored ALA Emerging Leader at the annual PaLA business meeting. Of course, I couldn’t figure out the microphone (again), I hate those things! But it was great to say thank you to all of the PaLA members who made this sponsorship possible.
- People: The best, best, best, BEST thing about the conference was the people. As a newcomer to Pennsylvania, I know practically no one here, let alone library people. But the conference allowed me to meet so many bright PA library people from all over the state and from all kind of libraries. I feel like I had a strong introduction to what could easily become a very positive and supportive base of peers, colleagues, coworkers, and collaborators. Thanks to everyone who gave me a warm welcome! I enjoyed meeting each and every one of you and look forward to working with you in the future!
Well, I suppose I was technically considered a librarian as soon as I received my MLIS (May 2008), but today marked the first time I was actually employed as one. That’s right, today was my first day as the Outreach Librarian at the Millersville University Ganser Library. I made it through a week of new faculty orientation, a week of cleaning out my office, and a crazy first day. Well, not too crazy. Some random observations:
My Office. My office space is actually a lot larger than I ever imagined. It’s the first time I have had my own office because at RIT I was part of a department with 2-5 people in the vicinity at any given time. I was rarely alone and enjoyed the company of my colleagues and our amazing student workers. It seems a little bit lonesome now that I’m all alone. However, I’ve been keeping my office doors (yes, there are actually three doors to my office area) open and many of my new colleagues have been visiting. I like that! My office is located in the old government documents section, and has been re-purposed for my Outreach activities. I cleaned out a lot of random stuff and extra furniture, and now it looks so empty! I’m working on getting a new desk and some other things to make it into a functional, professional, and creative space. I also have some windows, although small! Sweet!
My Schedule. OMFG, meetings! I kid you not, I have about 8 meetings already scheduled for this week! It’s insane. All good stuff though: I start my training on the reference desk, I’m meeting with the Interim Library Director, the department chairperson, the Library Fest committee, and a few other library faculty members. I am really looking forward to getting settled and started. There is a library welcome get-together tomorrow afternoon where I will be able to meet everyone I have missed during my various tours of the building!
My parents sent me an awesome plant/flower basket for my office, they’re amazing! I was just thinking about how this is the culmination of not only the past two years of graduate school, but a long process of figuring out what I want to do with my life. I didn’t plan on being a librarian until my junior year of college, but ever since that moment, I have been positive that I made the perfect decision. I’m sure that this year will bring lots of learning experiences, both good and bad, as I learn to navigate the somewhat choppy waters of being a “real life” librarian in academia.
So… tell me about your first job!
Over the past six months I was able to arrange viewings of the College of DuPage Press library teleconference series for RIT Libraries. These teleconferences are free for institutions within New York state, so basically I just had to reserve the room, login to the website, and handle a few technological difficulties (with the assistance of the library technology services team). Some of the teleconferences were better attended than others, but I think everyone appreciated what they did get a chance to see. I personally found the last teleconference, Tools of Engagement: Engaging and Attracting Library Users on May 9th, to be the most interesting. Below are some notes on the hour and a half long session. One highlight was the blunt yet continually overlooked fact that libraries are not selling a product, not even the product of information. We are selling critical thinking and civic involvement.
Questions to ask yourself (or your library): Are you making the benefits obvious to potential users? Are you picking a narrow target audience? Are you considering optimal timing for delivery of events or new services (for academic libraries, consult the academic calendar for times of the semester that might be high stress for both students and faculty and break periods)? Are you assessing your efforts (i.e. a raffle simply asking “Where did you hear about this event?”)?
A Few Ideas:
- Placing a “dorm pack” in every on-campus room for incoming freshmen with information & freebies.
- Have a succession plan in place, be transparent, and document publicity and assessment efforts.
- If library staff wants to help, but are worried that they don’t have any marketing background, there are ways to involve them by making use of their library-related skills. For example, librarians are excellent at doing research, so they could be helpful in conducting target audience and venue research. Writing is another popular library strength, as well as creative thinking.
- Have “outposts” in the library for the career and writing centers.
- Student orientation party with root beer floats and massages.
- Holding a summer party for faculty.
- Use Twitter or text messaging to send hold notifications.
The Power of Words: Choosing the right words can make or break a press release or marketing copy. Carefully consider word choices to be positive and uplifting. Including “education” is always a plus, as the general public sees education as important and worthwhile (Howard County Library).
Partnerships: Creating partnerships are one of the best ways to engage with the community (public, faculty, students). Offer library spaces for local events. One partnership example was between a local library and the town tourism industry, based on planting commemorative trees on the library grounds (Howard County Library – Blossoms of Hope).
Unique Library Experiences:
- Hold an annual community gala/multicultural events at the library.
- Create or participate in a community-wide book reading event.
- Design and give away car magnets.
- Partner with schools for a spelling bee.
- Investigate unconventional initiatives – One library had an artist-in-residence in the library for a year, working on different exhibits. Another offered yoga classes in the library.
Tips on Marketing to Faculty: Find the faculty gatekeepers, they will tell others of your greatness. How can you make services easier and more accessible?
Communication Tools: University-wide blogging at the University of Minnesota
One really neat project was transforming librarian/library liaison business cards into trading cards (Gould Library at Carleton College). Jennifer Edwins, Loan Services Manager and Assistant to the College Librarian has given me permission to repost the images below. I love them!
So, what is your library doing to engage and attract users? Some of these things? Other great things?
Well, well, well. Apparently, nothing is sacred in this consumer-driven society. According to the press release above, libraries in the United Kingdom have begun allowing advertising agencies to place promotional inserts into books loaned out to patrons.
Are you kidding me?! As a future librarian with a background in Communication & Marketing, this just tears me apart.
“…only one insert campaign will be allowed each month offering advertisers exclusivity across what is a unique advertising channel.” Great saturation for advertisers, but think about the avid library patrons who visit their library on a daily or weekly basis. Some people check out more than one book each time, so they will be getting multiple inserts (for the same product/service) each time they visit.
It brings up a lot of questions: Think about children who take out 8-10 picture books at a time. What are they going to do with all these inserts?Will the monthly insert campaigns provide different materials for users of different ages? If not, the entire campaign must be constructed at the lowest common denominator (i.e. children) in terms of what is appropriate and what is understandable. Does this constitute as discrimination now that certain advertisers wouldn’t be allowed to advertise their products using this method? Is anyone thinking about how library patrons will react to this intrusion of their favorite loaned materials? If they wanted a bookmark, I think they would find one of their own! Holy litter…
What kind of products and services are these advertising inserts going to be representing? What “audience segment” are these inserts aimed towards? How can an audience possibly be targeted? Are they going to place inserts in certain topical books? Will the circulation desk have to make a judgment call about which insert most fits the patron whose materials they are currently checking out?
Any thoughts on this development would be greatly appreciated! It just reminds me of a less-techie version of the prominent advertising platforms in the film “Minority Report”…