February 17, 2018

Push, Pull, Delight Webinar

Last week I was part of a webinar, which is now available in full. The webinar, Push, Pull, Delight: My Library, My Collection, My Expert, was sponsored by LJ and EBSCO. Besides myself, panelists included Rhonda Glazier, Collection Development Manager, Jefferson County Public Library (CO) and Judith Hiott, Chief, Houston Area Library Automated Network (TX). Focus was on ways in which to push your collection out to customers.

This was my first webinar and I have to say that Dodie Owens, who is a special projects manager for LJ, made it easy, comfortable and a great experience. My first reaction, when she contacted me about participating, was that I didn’t feel I could contribute. Integrating marketing concepts into a library environment is a very delicate dance. Being allowed into the discussion, to influence and, heck, even have an opinion, has been slow and sometimes painful. Everyone is eager for promotion of their particular program or effort, but involving marketing into the very decision of whether or not that program or effort should happen, that has been something else entirely.

One area where I still feel resistance to marketing is the collection itself. When I first heard the librarians use the term merchandising, coming from a background at Target stores, I expected to find something quite different. Instead I have come to see that while the vocabulary of many marketing terms is similar, the definition of them is not. The word marketing itself (which is a process) is regularly used to mean promotion (an action.) 

So, back to the webinar. Dotie convinced me that how my library is positioning our staff as the go-to source of books and information was exactly the kind of thing she was looking for. In fact, since she first asked me, we at CML have made inroads into this last bastion of the collection itself — somewhat due to the fact that my director, who oversees me and development (as in fundraising) also oversees our Technical Services. He brings the three of us together regularly to find ways to cross-promote our efforts. This has led to some intriguing ideas that I share in this webinar. So if you missed it, sign up today!

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.