All librarians want to serve their communities and patrons as best they can, but knowing how best to provide that service isn’t always easy. The demands of day to day duties, not to mention privacy concerns, can make it hard for staffers to learn the finer details of how patrons are using their services. Without a clear picture of how services like computer access are being put to use, it can be difficult to determine how to fine tune them to the needs of users. Now, researchers at the University of Washington (UW) iSchool have introduced the Impact Survey, a tool that lets patrons anonymously report on how they use library technology while they’re using it, helping librarians understand how—and when—patrons are interacting with the access to technological resources that they provide—and to demonstrate the value of those services to local governments.
Teaching from the real world is pure joy most of the time. Students love it when they see something from class in the pixels of library journals and magazines, the mass media, or the technology press. Most of the time, discussing change while it’s happening is a visceral lesson in professional adaptability and continuous learning. However, I could have done without having to teach technology-related privacy issues to my “Digital Trends, Tools, and Debates” students in the shadow of the NSA’s newly-revealed surveillance practices.
I suspect we are missing our key audience when we follow our traditional inbound service model during Library Card Sign-Up Month. I believe we can be much more effective if we take a page out of political campaigns and meet the public door-to-door. I’d settle for event-based sign-ups at the grocery store, bank, train station, or playground. But door-to-door is extremely effective in transforming a contact into a conversation and that conversation into action.
This fall a new national “library staff picks list” will debut under the name LibraryReads. All public library staff will be welcome to nominate new adult titles that they have read, loved, and are eager to share with patrons via the website libraryreads.org, which will go live today at noon. The ten most frequently recommended titles will be calculated monthly, and beginning this autumn, the resulting list will be publicized and promoted by librarians in branches as well as in patron newsletters, websites, etc.
Walk Your Precinct: Use Campaigns Techniques To Activate Library Advocates and Voters | Advocates’ Corner
Our colleagues in the political sciences spend considerable time studying voter behavior. They have identified several key reasons that people do or don’t come out to the polls. Human factors like self-identification with a candidate’s issues, personal familiarity with the candidate, and the voter’s own sense of civic responsibility set a baseline for likely support. Whether the voter trusts the election process and government in general, is knowledgeable about the issues and not just personalities, and whether there are barriers to his or her enfranchisement are also significant drivers. Finally, is the voter motivated to go to the polls to punch a chad, or does the campaign need to activate him or her? Over time, candidates have leveraged and shaped these human behaviors into the modern Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign. GOTV approaches becomes best practices for us to follow in library ballot campaigns.
Thus far in 2013, the federal budget picture has been quite grim. Since March 1, the United States government has begun to adapt to the harsh reality of across-the-board budget cuts to particular categories of federal spending. This series of cuts—now commonly referred to as the sequestration—were enacted as part of the Budget Control Act […]
If you make one small change to the way you contextualise your marketing efforts, it can yield big results. It’s subtle but important, and here’s how to go about it.
Marketing libraries is a tough business, for all kinds of reasons. Lack of time, lack of funds, lack of other resources. The fact that public perception of what libraries actually do is about 15 years behind the reality in a lot of cases. But also the fact that there’s often a fundamental misunderstanding about what marketing should actually achieve.
Since Kickstarter launched in 2009, everyone from indie bands to technology developers to non-profit organizations has asked themselves, “Will crowdfunding work for me?” Libraries, which often turn to more civic-minded crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Fundly, are no exception. But the question remains: does it work?
Filling the Advocacy Gap: How Millions of Dollars Are at Stake on Ballots and What We’re Doing About It | Advocates’ Corner
Regardless of what The West Wing may have told us, elections are always a numbers game. Let’s say your public library serves a community of 10,000 people and you are fielding a $15 million bond measure to build a new library next November. If we run the “national average” numbers for a Congressional election cycle, you will likely have around 7,000 people of voting age in your jurisdiction. Voter registration runs as high as 60 percent for these biennial elections. However, turn out will be as low as 42 percent in a general election. If your bond measure looses by 4 percent, a not unheard of margin, you will have lost by 141 votes. If you are on the primary ballot—where turn out is in the 22 percent range—you lose by just 74 votes. Multiply that by five or by ten for bigger towns and cities and counties and we’re still talking about small numbers of voters.