What would happen if your library’s website disappeared? You’d probably get a lot of phone calls. f I had to guess, most would be about: Finding library items, renewing library items, and library hours and locations. This thought experiment gives us some perspective about the things library websites should be focusing on—the critical tasks users are trying to accomplish. It also offers perspective on the aspects of our websites that are comparatively unimportant—everything else.
In this first of an interview series sponsored by SAGE, LJ goes in depth with this year’s Movers & Shakers from academic libraries, delving into just how and why they pulled off the projects that brought them recognition as innovators, change agents, and more. Karen Lauritsen was chosen as one of this year’s Tech Leaders for her work as Communications & Public Programs Coordinator at the Robert E. Kennedy Library of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.
In an internal Random House memo, Jen Childs, director of Library Marketing, reported that the department’s latest initiative, First Look Book Club, took off to a roaring start in February, with 2,500 subscribers opting in. The club, a new book discovery tool, is an offshoot of Suzanne Beecher’s Dear Reader, which began offering five-minute chapter snippets in 2000. While many libraries subscribe to Dear Reader for a fee (it is free to library patrons), the First Look Book Club is free to all and goes direct to librarians, patrons, and “book lovers everywhere,” said Childs, with one Random House title featured each week.
Wednesday, March 5th, 2014, 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET Libraries are constantly challenged on how to get their customers to use the databases they purchase. This webinar will demonstrate how, with just the right mix of marketing and advertising magic, your library can increase usage of any database. That’s really what great advertising is all about! Join expert marketer Nancy Dowd, author of Bite Sized Marketing: Realistic Solutions for Overworked Librarians, and Ryan Maxey, a graphic designer fresh from NYC, as they inspire you with ideas and examples that will turn around your database marketing.
Archive now available!
Librarian Sharon McKellar and other staff at the Oakland Public Library, CA, have been collecting notes and other items found in between pages of books or left on the floors and tables of the library for years. McKellar got the idea to document the library staff’s collection of these objects when she stumbled on the website for Found Magazine. When she was put in charge of developing the library’s website and blog, she decided to ask fellow librarians, library assistants and aides, and other staff if she could scan their found items.
There’s no better way to market your library than to have your users do it for you. Think about what it takes you personally to make a decision on trying out a new product or service—you’re bombarded with advertising messages 24/7, most of which you’ve probably learned to tune out and ignore, so when someone you trust and respect says to you ‘have you tried this specific example?’ you instantly value their recommendation above the white noise of traditional marketing. They are independent of any brand, they are speaking from their own experience—they are like you.
With all the excitement over social media and reports of newspapers closing or shifting focus to keep ad revenues rolling in, libraries have taken a hit with ever decreasing coverage. You might even be thinking whether it’s worth the effort to create media releases. The quick answer is yes. If well written and interesting they can amplify your message reaching reporters, bloggers and the general public through your web and social media channels. But if you want to have larger value-driven articles published, you’ll need to step up your game and pitch those story ideas to reporters.
I recently attended three award ceremonies for Library Journal’s LibraryAware Community Award at the Canton, OH, Skokie, IL, and Hartford, CT public libraries. For all three, the community has stood up to say they value all the services the library provides to the community. The competition was tough: more than 100 libraries applied for the award. With so many communities supporting the library, you would think we are in the golden age of libraries. And yet just this past January the Pew Institute report, Library Services in the Digital Age, stated that only 22 percent of those surveyed say that they know all or most of the services their libraries offer now. Ouch. Okay, so there’s still work to be done. But perhaps the work isn’t what you might expect.