Tag Archives: Marketing

It’s time to track the outside world…

For a while, I’ve been doing a lot of listening.  I’ve listened in meetings, in appointments, at conferences and on listservs.  I’ve been sitting back and taking things in.  And more recently, I’ve started doing more talking.  Well, more conversing.  Talking with old friends, and meeting new friends and exchanging ideas via email.  It’s been energizing.

There’s one topic I’ve been dwelling on quite a bit and that’s the idea that we need to ask public library staff members to track specific groups and fields that are not necessarily related to our own.  So, instead of re-writing the idea, I’m just going to share a bit of my recent correspondence with a friend…

“One other note is that we have librarians who manage their own internal departments and monitor their own profession, but we need to ask library staff members to do more outward facing research.  I am of the opinion that each staff member in a library should be responsible for monitoring a broad knowledge area that is external of the library but could be incorporated in to library services or impact the library in some way.  So one librarian is responsible for monitoring local business and local food culture.  Maybe a circulation clerk is responsible for staying up to date on regional and national non-profit news.  Another clerk might be in charge of monitoring local health and social services activities.  This serves a two fold purpose.  The first is to find interactive touch points for the library to reach out to local groups and build partnerships of mutual benefit.  The second is to look at trends and issues facing other professions and seeing if their issues could potentially impact the library world and note how those professions addresssed the issue(s).  Libraries operate with a mindset that their problems are distinctly their own, but the problem and the solution are very often visible on the horizon often in a slightly different form.

What do you think?  Am I off base?  On track? Crazy?  I’d love to hear what you think.

Little bits of interesting…

Here’s a quick summary of some neat things from the web – all with potential library applications!

Tweet Seats – Theaters are reserving seats towards the back of venues and encourage those sitting in those seats to live tweet during performances.  Totally worth trying at your next large event!  Check out the article!

Google+ Hangouts – A great opportunity to host community meetings or book clubs.  This article provides the top three reasons to use this Google+ feature.

PressBooks – PressBooks is a platform that gives you or your library users an easy-to-use digital publication solution.  When we talk about empowering content creation in our libraries, these are the tools we need to look at!

Turn young patrons in to coders – Thomas Suarez is a 12-year-old coder who spoke at TEDxManhattanBeach.  He touches on an interesting and cool idea for schools that applies for libraries too – download the Apple app development pack and start teaching kids to code!

Ya gotta have standards, y’know?

Today my friend Sara tweeted this from the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference:

And I was like “YES – standardized practices!”  Except I said it to myself in my head, not outloud.  I talk to myself a lot at work and people look at me weird.

BTW – Sara is funny, charming, intelligent and an amazing librarian and I highly recommend you follow her @sarabethw

Anyways, this made me think back to an interesting conversation I had with Christie Brandau, the now-retired state librarian of Kansas.  It wasn’t about business reference standards, but overall service standards.  But it got me thinking about this conversation: I was interveiwing her over a year ago about best practices for library service in rural areas.  And the way the state of Kansas approached service standardization was really fantastic.  They didn’t say “Every library will have at least ten computers” or “Every library will have 150 parking spaces” because really, that’s not practical.  In Kansas, the gap between tiny libraries and huge libraries borders on hyperbole – the difference in library types is significant.  There are libraries that serve 2000 people spread over a 700 square mile area.  And there are urban libraries that serve people a very dense population center with multiple branches.  All extremely valuable, but all reaching out to patrons in different and unique ways.

So, the librarians in Kansas started with criteria like the following (and these are not exact, so don’t quote me, kids…)

  • A library patron in the state of Kansas should not have to wait longer than ten minutes to access a computer
  • A library patron in the state of Kansas should be able to easily access a bathroom. 
  • A library patron in the state of Kansas should be able to find a parking space within reasonable distance from their library.

So, easy access to a bathroom.  That sounds silly, right?  Okay, but think of all your patrons.  Do you have a bathroom that’s easily accessed by a five year old?  What about a bathroom that’s easily accessed by the elderly?  The handicapped?  A mom or dad with four kids in tow?  Ohhhh…it’s not so easy now, is it?  Hint – if the door is really heavy and hard to open, it’s not easily accessible.  If the toilet is very high up or doesn’t have a child-size toilet seat adapter (and they do exist) it’s not accessible.

The thing I like about this is that the standards expand and contract based on the library being discussed.  Forcing a library to have ten computers because that’s the state standard is silly if the library only sees 150 patrons a day and 125 of them are just in for reading materials. 

Thanks for the reminder about that conversation Sarah.  I love your business reference standards concept.  Maybe elements of the above service model can somehow be applied?  I don’t know…just thinking out loud!

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!

Celebrity moms share their favorite story books…

I have been utterly un-writey lately.  Nothing has quite sprung to mind when thinking of blog-worthy things.  However, I think this is a great idea:


It’s an article in which celebrity moms share their favorite children story book lines.  There’s a Public Service Announcement or billboard in the making.  Are you reading this PLA/ALA?  The work has pretty much been done for you – now we just need to use this type of stuff to reach out to the public!

Graphic Design

I’m trying to learn more about graphic design, which I am not so great at.  I have gotten some of the Sams Teach Yourself books, but it’s tough to find the self-discipline at times to do it.  I found the graphics.com site, which offers some pretty cool classes on how to do graphics and layouts.  There’s a fee, but if you’re one of those fancy people with a budget for education and stuff, why not do it? Librarians need this stuff.  Have you seen the covers of most library science text books?  Hideous.  And how much longer can we withstand newsletters in neon colors?

In other news, I’ve been trying to learn about Drupal which I think will end up being lumped into the same category as Greenstone, Linux, Delicious and Koha.  That category being the one that is “I’d like to try it, download it, learn more about it, finally implement it or become somewhat decent at understanding and using it but I’ve got shit to do and I know there are people way better at it then me, so they can have at it and help me out in a pinch”.

Do u txt p8rns?

I’ve always been a fan of Twitter being used in libraries and have gotten a couple of my public library pals into using the tool to keep patrons informed.  Here’s an article recently posted by Startup Nation that provides some interesting statistics on text messaging and marketing.

The Library Touch…

From an MSN article “9 mind tricks to get what you want“:

5. To make your crush fall for you on a dinner date …
Subtly touch the back of his hand as you’re reaching across the table for bread. It’s a proven way to win someone’s affection: Libraries and car dealerships have higher customer-satisfaction ratings when workers imperceptibly touch their clients. Touch activates the human desire to bond.

Okay…who’s library participated in THAT research project???  LOL