Category Archives: Marketing

If all else fails…

you can promote that your library has a public restroom.  I mean, there are worse things to be known for.  So, y’know, if other awesome aspects of your library (free entertainment! charming staff!  untold treasure troves of knowledge!) don’t boost the door count, consider listing your library’s restrooms!

Check out Sit or Squat.  They even have an app!  Yes!  There is an app for that!

Instagram folks…what are you waiting for?

Hey library land!  I get that you love Pinterest, I really do.  It’s a cool site.  But check out Instagram!  The statistics for Instagram are pretty impressive – it is growing exponentially and I believe it may have already surpassed FourSquare in membership!  (If not, it will soon.)

I recently hosted a webinar for work with over 100 participants – when I took a poll of social media usage, not one said their library was using Instagram.

What’s impressive is that it’s only available on iPhone right now and it’s reached surpassed FourSquare. It’s in beta for Android now, so I can only imagine what participation will be like when that rolls out.

Mobile social networks are where the world is headed and Instagram is quickly becoming the new leader.


Library Loyalty Programs – Worth Trying?

I was recently reading about Belly – an online service that helps small and medium sized businesses build customer loyalty programs.  There is a great article on Read, Write, Web about the services offered by Belly.

Are loyalty programs worth considering for libraries?  If so, what would the rewards be for library loyalty?  It may sound slightly far-fetched, but it’s something that we may need to consider.  What do you think?

Libraries Aren’t Special…and neither are their marketing plans.

I’m doing a presentation tomorrow for a marketing class in the BA LIS program at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany.  Here’s my resource list…

And here’s a link to the presentation (which looks a bit more sexy when it uses the original font of Sketch Rockwell).

Nice is a cheap budget item

In my home state of Michigan yesterday, two public libraries in affluent neighborshoods were closed because their ballot items didn’t pass.  It was heartbreaking because it wasn’t so much a reflection of the libraries themselves, but a reflection of city politics and politicians who used the libraries as pawns in their minor battles. 

In many states, library budgets are being slashed on all levels.  Whole state libraries are being closed, entire library systems dismantled, and staff members are told that they are being let go.

This isn’t news to you, I know.  So yesterday, when I walked into my local library, I was irritated by their attitude.  We’re talking about a library that charges $1 if a patron doesn’t have their library card.  Not because they need the money, but because it’s an incovenience to the staff.   When I asked to have my items renewed, I looked at one of the titles and said out loud “Oh crap!!!” To which the clerk replied, “Did you LOSE one of the LIBRARY BOOKS?!?!”  What type of assumption is that?  I said “Oh crap” because I had left it on the coffee table at home and had made a mental note to bring it with me. 

My point?  Nice is a cheap budget item.  It doesn’t cost you anything.  And I will tell you this – congratulations if your budget is secure, your library well-stocked, your patrons all well behaved and friendly – but  our institutions are under threat and nice means a lot – now more than ever.  I could go through a list of “best practices” but you know what they are.  It’s the action and the doing that takes energy.  And if you have staff members who aren’t friendly or enforce necessary policy in a rude way, then you need to stand up to them.  You can stand up to them gently but you must stand up to them.  That is hard, but it is needed.  Nice is needed.

I hope that most of you escaped this election season intact and with political leaders who support your organizations.  Whether you did or didn’t, I hope that you’ll make the commitment that no matter what, your library and staff will be dedicated to a culture dedicated to “nice” and the limitation of unnecessary and rigid policies.

Social Media and the Retail World

I read this white paper today and wanted to share.  The white paper, written by BrandSwag, discusses various phone apps and social media tools that can be used in retail environments.  Libraries do have similarities to retail environments, whether we want to admit it or not and by keeping tabs on trends in the retail environment, we can help our profession.

1) Some of this stuff applies to libraries, some of it doesn’t.  If anything, the white paper provides a great description of location based social networking options like Foursquare and Gowalla.

2) Even if you don’t really care, you might want to read it anyways because patrons are asking about this stuff.

Have a good weekend, folks!

We Surf the Internet, We Live (and Thrive!) in Libraries

Here is a great blog post summarizing the new ad campaign being run.  I’m not entirely sure who is behind it – magazines, magazine advertisers, but it’s pretty amazing:

Here is the text of the magazine ad (you can see the actual ad by checking the above link):

The Internet is exhilarating.  Magazines are enveloping.  The internet grabs you.  Magazines embrace you.  The Internet is impulsive.  Magazines are immersive.  And both media are growing.

Barely noticed amidst the thunderous Internet clamor is the simple fact that magazine readership has risen over the past five years.  Even in the age of the Internet, even among the groups one would assume are most singularly hooked on digital media, the appeal of magazines is growing.

Think of it this way: during the 12-year life of Google, magazine readership actually increased 11 percent.

What it proves, once again, is that a new medium doesn’t necessarily displace an existing one.  Just as movies didn’t kill radio.  Just as TV didn’t kill movies.  An established medium can continue to flourish so long as it continues to offer a unique experience.  And, as reader loyalty and growth demonstrate, magazines do.

Which is why people aren’t giving up swimming, just because they also enjoy surfing.

Librarians – if we were to come up with an ad campaign somewhat like this, what would we say?  What makes us better, different, improved compared to competition or supposed competition?  Our ad campaign would mention that library card sign ups have gone up as high as 20% in some regions of the country. 

The best line of all: ” An established medium can continue to flourish so long as it continues to offer a unique experience.”  How have magazines continued to create a unique experience?  By building strong web presences in addition to print.  By linking web content and print content. 

Even up until last year, many major magazines were failing.  And now they’ve taken this positive spin and made a statement that says “We are here, we are not leaving, we’re getting back on our feet.”

What should/would/could we say?  Talk to me!  I want to hear our new ad campaign for libraries!

Who are YOUR library champions?

I’m at the New Jersey Library Association annual conference this week.  Like so many other states, they are struggling with financial issues and possible tax cuts.  However, they are running a great program:

The program highlights library champions in the State of New Jersey – both famous and not so famous but still fabulous!  A great idea – check it out!

Twitter…and why shock and awe works.

Gerard McKiernan linked to a really great article about the top 100 uses for Twitter in libraries and museums.  It’s a good article – check it out on his blog:

I think one of the best things I’ve read recently came from @womenwhotech who mentioned in 140 characters that companies and organizations can’t just use Twitter to talk about themselves, but also to interact.  Be sure to interact with those you follow and those who follow you.  Retweets and Replies don’t exist for no reason, folks!

In other news, I’m noticing that libraries who use shock and awe to highlight that they are in deep trouble really seem to be on the right track.  I’m not a fan of sensationalism, but let’s face it, if you present the worst case scenario to the public, they’ll respond. 

I’m not sure if you saw the postings on the Free Library of Philadelphia’s website a couple of weeks ago, but the summary essentially was that if the state didn’t get their act together related to budgeting, the library – all branches plus the main library – would have to close.  They even told patrons to start turning their books in.

I don’t want to say that the notice was a flat out scare tactic – let’s call it excellent presentation of the worst case scenario – but it certainly got to the core of the issue in the most basic of terms.  They stated very clearly WHAT the issue was, WHO should be contacted encourage  correction of the issue, WHAT could be done to fix it and WHAT patrons would have to do to help them close shop (yikes!), WHERE they would feel the pain (no more programs, no more books,  no more library, period.) and WHEN they would no longer be able to access their library.

As libraries face financial crisis, it’s important to remember that you can’t blubber and ramble.  Don’t tell the public how it will affect the library – tell the public how it will affect THEM.  Saying “Our book budget will be reduced” means nothing.  But if you say “We will not be able to purchase as many new books and we will not be able to buy books that you recommend and love.  Your kids won’t be able to check out educational DVDs for as long because we won’t have as many to share.”  As a good friend of mine, who is a radio host, says – Stay.  On.  Topic. 

Luckily, the Free Library of Philadelphia made it and has posted this thank you letter to the public:

What I like best is the section that talks about how patrons can keep helping the library.  Good stuff.

Have a happy weekend, sexy people.

Worried About HAL? Make it your avatar…

Sometimes I do things on a whim and then after the fact am not quite sure if I did the right thing or not.  I did that today and I’m still deciding if this is a good thing or not…

I’ve created an avatar that you can add to your Facebook, Google Chat or other social network sites to raise awareness of the elimination of HAL.  The graphic can be copied below.  I posted mine as my Facebook image, and paired it with the following blurb:

The State of Michigan is eliminating the Department of Humanities, Arts and Libraries (HAL). This change could heavily impact services such as interlibrary loan, special library services to the handicapped, and Michigan’s vast geneaological resources – plus many other library services you may take for granted. We know that everyone is struggling during these economic times, but it is important to remember that libraries are providing computers, job seeking resources and educational resources to those Michiganians seeking work at this time. Please contact your representative and ask them to reconsider the elimination of HAL.

I don’t like to be an alarmist, so I hope that the above isn’t too much, but from everything I’ve read, the above is pretty accurate in regards to the potential impact of the eliminiation of HAL.  I’m pretty distraught over the elimination of the position of State Librarian.  I think that in this type of message, we need to hit the “What’s In It For Me” center of peoples’ minds. 

Now we need to drum up a letter that can be made available to the public so that they can send it to their representatives.  Anyone want to write that up??? AVATAR