Thursday, December 30, 2004

Apple's Student Blog

Apple has a blog aimed at college students. As Mike Manuel pointed out, this show how companies, and of course libraries, should think about targeting blogs for different audiences. The blog is supposedly written by students, for students. How interesting. I would love the details on how this works exactly. Does Apple give these students free reign or are posts moderated?

I wonder if there are any library blogs divided by the target audience rather than subject matter? If you know of any, leave me a comment and let me know.

Even if you can't or won't turn a blog or part of the library's Web site over to students, refer to Apple's Campus Life Blog just for ideas on the tone and subject matter of blog posts. I love that the posts are all related, but every single post doesn't directly promote Apple and its products.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Things To Do When You're Stuck Inside

Stuck inside with the winter weather blues? Why not:

1. Check the Linkrank of your library's blog, your blog, or any URL. [via Micro Persuasion]

2. Read some ideas from academic and public libraries at Library Media and PR. The suggestions include sending personal letters to kids during the summer reading program and welcoming students with a letter from their personal librarian (for some examples of similar letter sent by the University of Dayton's librarians see the OhioLINK Marketing Toolkit's Idea Gallery).

3. Consider some new entrepreneurial efforts to raise money for the library. Read Beth Dempsey's article "Cashing In On Service" in the Library Journal (November 1, 2004. Volume 29, issue 18, p. 38) for some inspiration. I really wish a library in the area would launch a program like Kern County Public Library's (CA) Pennies for Periodicals. (hint, hint Columbus Metropolitan)

4. Use Google to check for online plagiarists. (Ok, if you're a librarian you probably way ahead on this one I know.) [via Contentious]

5. Check out Amy Gahran's series Online Media Outreach: 10 Ways to Meet Journalists Needs Online. She's finished the series since I last linked to it.

6. Create a Read poster for your library (or perhaps Research if you work at an academic library). See some examples from the Todd Wehr Memorial Library and several OhioLINK libraries.

This Christmas I'm Grateful for Electricity

*Time for another off topic post*

We were lucky enough to be one of the 180,000 in central Ohio without power for 12 hours or so (it went off in the middle of the night, I was too tired to get up and find my watch). Luckily AEP has done their duty quickly and restored power to our little area of the city. Thank you AEP linemen!!

I used to think it would be romantic to be without electricity once in awhile. Well, it's not. The temperature got down to 56F in here, but the fun was over long before that. Imagine, no cable, no cable modem, rapidly draining laptop batteries. I'm sure glad that's over.

Now I feel really badly for those who deal with the weather elements every day.

Happy Christmas to you and yours! (For the 2-3 of you who check in here occasionally) Next post, back to marketing and PR.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

I'm On Tenterhooks

From the "you learn something new every day" category:

Ok, I have to admit I did not know the correct phrase for this is "on tenterhooks." I thought it was tether hooks or something like that. Don't ask me what a tether hook is or why I thought that. I just did. Apparently the commonly misused phrase is on tender hooks. But that too is wrong, wrong, wrong.

You can find more words that are commonly "confused, abused and misued" in this article from Ragan's Grapevine: Tips & Tactics From the World of Employee Communications.

Friday, December 17, 2004

BookCrossing: It Just Sounds Cool

Ok, this doesn't have anything to do with marketing or PR (Or does it? Sometimes I think everything has to do with marketing and PR), but since I'm a book lover it fits -- kinda, sorta. I read this Christian Science Monitor article (not a media outlet I usually turn to, but I guess this goes to show you never know...) recently about BookCrossing. If you haven't heard about BookCrossing, it's a site that monitors the journey of books that have been "set free." Of course you can read the article for complete details. I think I'm going to have to try this.

[link via Library Link of the Day]

Monday, December 13, 2004

Can't Trump a Librarian

This has been pretty widely posted, so hopefully you've already seen it by now, but just in case you haven't, check out: "A Billion Dollar IPO for John Hopkins" by John Hopkins President William R. Brody. It's too good to miss.

At the conclusion, Brody writes:

Massive information overload is placing librarians in an ever more important role as human search engines. They are trained and gifted at ferreting out and vetting the key resource material when you need it. Today's technology is spectacular — but it can't always trump a skilled human

Have you hugged your librarian today?

Monday, December 06, 2004

What’s Your Top 100?

The OCLC list of the top 1000 titles owned by OCLC member libraries sparked some ideas. Could you create a list of the top 10, 25 or 100 titles checked out by patrons at your library? Perhaps you can create a list of the most popular titles in your town or state. You can send the list to your local newspaper(s) and if they aren’t interested, publish it in your newsletter or on your Web site. If a list of the “top” titles isn'’t possible, you can always create a list of favorite titles, as voted on by your patrons and Web site visitors.

[link via Library Link of the Day]

Blogger Needs a Crash Cart, Stat!

Since I've started this blog I've been pretty happy with Blogger. I've heard about others having problems, but I usually haven't. This week, however, Blogger is making me mad. I haven’t been able to log in and blog for two days out of the past week. It’s very frustrating! I know, I know, you get what you pay for. In the meantime, I’m “blogging” in Word and I’ll post them when I can.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

What Were They Thinking?

I'm still catching up on my online reading after a week in North Carolina. Here are two stories that made me scratch my head:

1. "Orange libraries ban unaccompanied' adults from kids' area" (Associated Press, Florida Today)
Of course we all want our kids to be safe, but this is just sad. I wonder if the policy will stick?

2. "Overdue Library Books Could Mean Jail Time" (The Boston Globe)
Librarians in Bay City, Michigan asking their board for permission to seek arrest warrant for patrons who ignore repeated notices to return overdue items. Librarians want the worst offenders to face criminal charges and up to 90 days behind bars. And I thought turning people over to a collection agency seemed harsh! Don't get me wrong, I think keeping public property indefinitely is wrong, but I just can't quite come to terms with people with overdue library books going to jail. What do you think?

[both stories via Library Link of the Day]

Crumbs and Noise

Silas Lyons, in a recent column in The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, California) says that Libraries Could Use Some Crumbs and Noise. The column discusses Howard Schultz's book, "Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time," about the rise of Starbucks Coffee.

Lyons' advice:

Am I actually suggesting that grand old libraries, guardians of silence and of free public access, should follow in the footsteps of greedy corporations? That we should sacrifice shelf space for espresso machines? That the "No Food or Drink!" signs, beaten with age, should be stripped from the doors?

In a word: Yes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Library Marketing Campaign Study

If you haven't read Marketing Before Opening San José's Dual-Purpose Library by Spenser Thompson (Marketing Library Services, November/December 2004) I recommend that you do so. This article examines the myriad of marketing plans that a marketing team undertook in order to plan the grand opening of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, the "only co-managed, city-­academic library in the nation."

This team covered all the bases. Their marketing tactics included: running advertising slides at local movie houses; putting cards on buses and posters at public transportation sites, city offices, and community centers; and placing on-air public service announcements (PSAs) and articles in the San José Mercury News. Additional tactics included "an e-mail campaign to K-12 school district communications liaisons at the close of the 2002/03 academic year announcing the upcoming opening; articles in campus and alumni publications as well as in newsletters for city employees and city residents; colorful 90-foot street banners placed downtown; and invitations sent out to 6,000 librarians, educators, and other community and business leaders statewide."

Media relations activities included placing a series of seven PSAs enacting various uses of the library and non-English communications, such as spot interviews on the Spanish-language Telemundo network.

The marketing team also undertook a massive internal communications campaign involving in-service programs every 6 months, a "shadowing program" letting public and university librarians observe each other's work, surveys, milestone celebrations, and staff input sessions.

Want to know more? Read the article.

Oh and for those who are wondering, I don't have any great excuses for why I haven't updated this blog in 18 days. Well, I have some good ones, but I won't bore you with them. Hopefully this blog still has a reader or two left. Although, I'm not entirely convinced there was a reader or two to begin with. *grin*

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Soundprint Program - Who Needs Libraries?

I'm currently listening to a new Soundprint radio program called "Who Needs Libraries." The program is available for streaming.

A short description from the Soundprint site describes the program:
As more and more information is available on-line, as Amazon rolls out new software that allows anyone to find any passage in any book, an important question becomes: Who needs libraries anymore? Why does anyone need four walls filled with paper between covers? Surprisingly, they still do and in this program Producer Richard Paul explores why; looking at how university libraries, school libraries and public libraries have adapted to the new information world.

The release from ALA about this program includes a schedule for listening to it live. You can tune in:
  • WBEZ - Chicago, Sunday 8 p.m.
  • WHYY - Philadelphia, Tuesday 10 p.m.
  • WAMU - Washington, DC, Sun 12 p.m.
  • KUOW - Seattle/Tacoma, Thursday 9-9:30 p.m.
  • WKSU - Kent, Ohio, Sun 7 a.m.
  • KGNU - Boulder, Co, Wed 9 a.m.
  • KSTX - San Antonio, Wed 8 p.m.
  • WHRV - Norfolk-Virginia Beach, Wed 11 a.m.
  • WPLN - Nashville, Sun 2 p.m.
  • KGOU - Oklahoma City, Friday 7 p.m.
  • WOUB - Athens, Ohio, Thurs 6 p.m., Sunday 12:30
  • WRVO - Oswego, NY, Sat 7 a.m.
  • KAXE - Grand Rapids, Tue 6:30 p.m.
  • WXPR - Rhinelander, WI, Sun 11:30 p.m.
  • Maine Public Radio, Thurs. 12:30 p.m.
  • KUAC - Fairbanks, Fri 6:30 p.m.
  • WICA - Interlochen, Sunday 6 p.m.
  • WNJT - Trenton, Thur 10:30 p.m.
  • Sirius Satellite Radio Public Radio World - channel 108, Saturdays (2 p.m. ET), Encore Saturdays (3 pm & 10 pm ET)

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Library Promotion Goes to the Hounds

I recently subscribed to the The Publicity Hounds Tips of the Week, Joan Stewart's e-newsletter. Each week Joan features a question from a reader. Last week's question from Tia Dobi of Los Angeles, dealt with libraries:

One of my clients is a large, multi state group of public libraries. Their dilemma: most people who use the library already know about the library. And because libraries have little or no money, the majority of flyers and pamphlets generated are distributed within the confinements of the library. So nobody on the outside sees them.

How can community libraries get some stellar publicity, attract newcomers and keep the promotions appealing yet focused?

Some of readers' more creative suggestions include:
  • "Create a "murder mystery" night as a fundraiser for the library. Not only did the library make a wad of money, but the PR was outstanding!"
    Kitty Werner, Waitsfield VT)
  • "Contact the White House, find out how you can send a letter to First Lady Laura Bush, a former librarian, and see if she would do a public service announcement promoting libraries in your multi-state area. The ideal time would be during National Library Week in April 2005. " (Dale W. Hutchings, St. Petersburg, Florida)
  • "The Waldport Chamber of Commerce will ask us from time to time if we could deliver/post their flyers all over town and we always say yes. If a service club member were to walk in to a shop to deliver a flyer not of their own, it would be both a community service and an opportunity to show the colors of their group. . . Another flyer distribution method is to gain permission of the local supermarket manager to have clerks stuff flyers in shopping bags on checkout. Or, stand on a busy street corner dressed in a Lions costume (or any attention getter) and hand out flyers to passersby or people stopped at traffic lights." (Victor De'Prey, Yachats, Oregon)
  • "How about organizing a marathon reading event? You can even turn it into an event for the Guinness Book of World Records. Invite the community to register and take turns reading parts of books from a cross-section of subjects available in the library so you can showcase the range of books. Involve participants of all ages, from young children reading nursery books to senior citizens reading books relevant to them. You can also invite professionals to read books relevant to their fields of work. If possible, you can link up all the libraries electronically and involve readers from all libraries in a circuit format. The more readers you have, the longer you can sustain this activity." (Jayanthi Gopal, Singapore)If the library gave out frequent flyer miles, I'd have a trip around the world by now. Offer frequent flyer "miles" to those who use the library. Of course, the miles will not be actual airline miles, but who knows? It never hurts to ask. And if the airlines say no, then the "miles" could be prizes donated by local businesses. (Martha Retallick, Tuscon, Arizona
  • "Why not take the pamphlets, flyers, etc. out of the library? Have librarians create bookmark-size lists of recommended books that focus on one topic. Then distribute to groups that are interested in that topic. For example, a list of best-sellers available in large print could go to local senior citizen centers or nursing homes. The hottest parenting books could be shared with "mommy & me" groups or handed out at pediatricians' offices. Books on history or architecture could go to the membership of the local preservation society." (Erin Read Ruddick, Providence, Rhode Island)
The complete list of responses is available. Subscribe to the The Publicity Hounds Tips of the Week here.

My Voting Experience

Note: Yes, I know, this is off topic, but as it's an historic occasion I'm going to make an exception.

I returned from voting less than an hour ago. When I arrived at my polling place the line was a full city block long outside the building. It took three hours to vote. Three hours spent standing in the rain and wind and cold. Yes, it was a long wait. Yes, I was cold and damp. But the kindness of strangers was amazing. One worker at the community center where I vote kept walking up and down the line passing out free cups of coffee. He had been there since 6 a.m. People from the Move On PAC brought snacks, water and more coffee. One man who had also spent three hours waiting to vote came back with a tent and a propane heater. One senior drove by telling us not to give up, to keep waiting, to vote. Others drove by honking.

We were cold, we were tired of waiting, most of us were hungry despite the chocolate and we certainly wanted a beer. Everyone was also amazingly jolly and committed to the process. We joked around and told stories. As someone who has never had to wait more than 5 minutes to vote at an election before, it was incredible to see the crowd. The poll workers estimated 500 people were standing in line at one time.

There was only one moment of frustration from a man waiting in line who didn't understand why those with last names in the range of A-K got to go ahead of the rest of the line. I didn't exactly get the logic there either, but I was tired of waiting and shivering. So the second time they asked for anyone from A-K I jumped at the chance. My boyfriend, who's an R, wasn't so lucky. I arrived home 30 minutes before he did.

My only fear is that I waited that long and I might still be disappointed in the end result of the presidential election. No, I'm not disappointed that I waited to vote, but it would make it a little sweeter if my guy won. My fingers are still crossed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Tips to Managing E-mail

Stever Robbins offers tips for managing e-mail overload including how to send better mail and how to "train" those who mail you to do the same.

My favorite tip is to:

Use a subject line to summarize not describe. People scan their inbox by subject. Make your subject rich enough that your readers can decide whether it's relevant. The best way to do this is to summarize your message in your subject.

There nothing worse than e-mail without a relevant subject line, unless of course it doesn't have a subject line at all.

[Link courtesy of PR Opinions]

Accepting More Than Just Food For Fines

Many libraries have food for fines programs, but have you considered accepting other charitable contributions as well? If not, read about Southington Public Library's program in the Bristol Press.

[Link courtesy of Link of the Day]

Friday, October 22, 2004

PR Resources Librarians Should Check Out

Yes, it's been another slow week for me on the blog. I've been busy with a big event at work, which by the way went well today, thanks for asking. I may not have been blogging, but I seldom miss a day of checking my favorite blogs.

Here's some good stuff I've read lately, in case you missed it:

  • The Contentious blog is featuring a 10-part series for meeting the media's needs online. Amy's tips (verbatim) are to:
  1. Create an easy-to-find online pressroom.
  2. Include a complete and current list of individual press contacts.
  3. Never use a web-based form as the sole channel for media contacts.
  4. Include complete, specific contact info on every press release.
  5. Publish press releases on your own site first.
  6. Make it easy to link to your releases.
  7. Publish your news by webfeed.
  8. Offer an optional e-mail press release list.
  9. Don’t be an e-mail pest.
  10. Use real mailing list software (or a service) to distribute e-mail press releases.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Winning the Battle Against Library Jargon

Anyone writing copy for library newsletters, Web sites or other publications should read "Start Making Sense" by Ann Wylie (Public Relations Tactics, October 2004, vol. 11, issue 10, p. 17). You can read the print version or read the full text online in Business Source Premier (Ohioans can read the full text of Tactics and thousands of other magazines and journals through their school, public or academic library. I fear that few Ohioans know this or realize how cool it is).

Most librarians and library staff realize that there is a ton of jargon in library-land which we need to avoid using. I think there are also a lot of terms that we think users understand, which they really don't. The real harm with jargon is that it alienates your audience. According to Wylie it also:

* Makes your copy longer.
* Forces the reader to work harder.
* Makes it harder for the media to use your information.
* Illustrates that your organization may be in trouble.
* Demonstrates your ignorance.

Wylie offers three steps to clear communication:

* Define your audience

You can get away with using industry-specific jargon in trade publications and with insiders, but not with your outside audiences.

* Rethink definitions. The most common way to define terms on first reference is: "Unfamiliar term, familiar term ...." This is not the most friendly way.

*Use the B2B test.

Wylie describes the B2B (is it just me, or is this one of the most annoying examples of business jargon in existence?) test as going to trade publications' Web sites and searching for questionable terms to determine if they are jargon or not. You can adapt this test by searching local media sites for terms you use in your press releases. You can also search sites relevant to perspective audiences, or simply question audience members if they understand your terms are not. If not, don't use them!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Marketing Your Blog & RSS Feeds

Whether you have a personal blog or a library blog, you'll need to promote it in order to gain readers. Of course if your content isn't current and interesting your readers might not return. Not to worry though, there are plenty of online resources and blogs that can point you in the right direction.

ProBlogger is a "free collection of tips on writing content, search engine optimization, using advertising and affiliate programs etc - to help bloggers explore ways of adding revenue streams to what they do." ProBlogger also contains articles on promoting and marketing your blog. [link via B.L. Ochman].

I would also recommend Robin Good's Best Blog Directory and RSS Submission Sites for even more sources.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Colleges Focus on Marketing

I saw a link to this article in The News & Observer on Steven Bell's Kept-Up Academic Librarian some weeks ago, but just now had a chance to get back to it. The article discusses how colleges and universities are focusing on marketing.

I think many of the observations and statements found in this article can also apply to libraries, especially academic libraries. For instance:

The idea that universities should be packaged and sold like a corporate product seems a bit tawdry to some in higher education.

This is certainly a sentiment I've heard expressed. I've also heard concerns that if libraries adopt techniques used by for-profit businesses, like marketing, they'll become associated with many of the same negatives as those same businesses. It doesn't have to be that way at all.

"It's not about standing on top of a mountain with a megaphone shouting to the people down below about how good you are," said Steve Farmer, senior associate director of admissions at UNC-Chapel Hill. "You need to ask them first what kind of school they think you are. It's not always easy to hear what people think of you, but it's how you learn."

Ready for more? Read the article.

Friday, October 08, 2004

JibJab's Second Spoof a Hit

Good To Be In DC!, the second political parody by JibJab Media Inc., makers of This Land!, is a hit. Good To Be In DC! debuted on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on October 7 and was also shown on the Today Show on October 8. The Today Show reported that more people have watched Good To Be In DC! than have visited both Kerry and Bush's Web sites. B. L. Ochman's site has the details.

I like this site for several reasons. First, it's hilarious. I watched it again while sitting here and suffering through the presidential debate. Which shows how timely the release date is. I also think it's a great tactic. The brothers who created this parody, Gregg and Evan Spiridellis, are honest about their efforts. They unabashedly plugged their DVD during their interview with Matt Lauer this morning.

I did have one complaint after my first visit to the JibJab site. I couldn't find a link to more information about the creators or contact information. I made a second visit this evening and after clicking on every link possible I did eventually find contact information and a blog (albeit an outdated one) hiding on the copyright statement page.

So why did the Spiridellis brothers create a second parody?

Jay Leno asked if we'’d be interested in making another one to debut on The Tonight Show, we said, “YES! YES! TAKE US, JAY! TAKE US!”

...We set specific goals for the sequel. We wanted to make you laugh (obviously). We wanted to stamp our brand on your brain again (JibJab! JibJab!). But most of all we wanted to make you say to yourself, “Dang! Those guys busted my gut! I’d pay ten bucks to see their movie!”

What does this have to do with library marketing and communications? A lot. If you want media attention, or the attention of users, non-users, etc. you need to be:

You also need to keep communicating in order to reach new users, inform potential users and stakeholders, and remind current users why you exist and how your resources and services benefit them.

Gregg and Evan Spiridellis' experiences also demonstrate another important lesson. If you can't reach the audience you want to, maybe you can get your advocates to do it for you. I'm not saying trick them into cheering for you (you can't), but give them something so great they can't wait to spread the good news for you. Gregg and Evan couldn't interest film and television companies into talking to them until after they posted This Land!, it spread rapidly through the Internet and into the mainstream media, and was viewed by millions. This lesson applies not just when you're trying to reach the media, but also when you're trying to reach legislators and other influencers, and even users (maybe students will listen to faculty more than librarians?).

Monday, October 04, 2004

What's in a Name?

While surfing from Weblog to Weblog tonight, I ran across a post about "The 9 Keys to Naming Success" on the Origins of Brands Blog.

I've been thinking about names a lot lately. It started when I was reading Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing by Harry Beckwith (which, by the way you should check out if you haven't already). Harry's chapter on names is aptly titled "Monogram Your Shirts, Not Your Company: Naming and Branding." This chapter really struck a chord with me in reference to libraries. When I first started working for a public library (my first library gig) I was constantly asking or trying to figure out what one acronym after another meant. There's ALA, OLC, ACRL, iii, YBP, etc. I won't even go into all the OhioLINK-specific acronyms that exist. If people in the library world have trouble keeping all these acronyms straight, how can users possibly cope?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

RLG Adds Promotional Toolkits

RLG has announced a new series of promotional toolkits designed to assist librarians in reaching out to users. Toolkits are now available on the RLG Web site for Anthropology Plus, RLG Archival Resources, and RLG Cultural Materials. RLG says they'll add promotional toolkits for more databases.

A list of links to other promotional and education tools from database vendors and publishers is available here.

Last Chance: ACRL Marketing Award

Does your library already have a marketing plan in place? Then why not reap some extra benefits. Entries for the ACRL are due on October 29.

This one-time award will be given to the academic/research library that demonstrates an outstanding best practices marketing program. Programs must have been in place for one year and selection will be based on the most complete documentation.

A $2,000 award will be presented for first place and a $1,000 award will be given for second place. Portfolios are due October 29, 2004.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Getting the Word Out By Bus

If you missed The Bay Area's Best Value By Ronnie Davis in the September 14, 2004 issue of Library Journal, be sure to check it out. The article details how nine library systems in the San Francisco Bay area publicized themselves in a joint campaign, using ads on busses and other tactics.

I love the idea of using bus ads, and other innovative means (innovative for libraries anyway) to promote libraries and their services. In a similar vein, Kent State University Libraries, an OhioLINK member, promoted the consortium's online chat service by posting banners on campus busses. We definitely need to spend more time promoting the library outside of our buildings and Web sites. Unfortunately, current practice seems to be just the opposite.

LibTalk On PR Opinions

LibTalk was discovered today by none other than Tom Murphy of PR Opinions. It's good to finally know I have some readers! Well, a few visitors anyway.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

PR Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

Why you shouldn't send Word documents to journalists, or anyone else for that matter.

For more information on similar problems see the original post about this topic on PR Opinions.

Steven Cohen Gets It

Steven Cohen, author of Library Stuff, gets it. Actually, I've been reading Steven's blog, so I know that Steven gets a lot of stuff: weblogs, RSS, and marketing just to name a few. Yes, he gets the importance of marketing, for both libraries and librarians. His article Grow the Profession: Marketing the Librarian which is posted on explains the importance of marketing yourself.

Why should you market? As Steven says:
But when we get down to the core of marketing, it's all about survival.
That's not putting it too strongly folks.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Why didn't the media run your story?

Here are a few reasons why the media may have ignored your press release. It's an old post (November 2003) by Greg Brooks at Engage, but the information is timeless.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Free PDF Creator

Apparently I'm behind the times for not hearing about this sooner (so says my geek boyfriend anyway), but there are several free options for creating PDFs. One such product is PrimoPDF
So if your library is on tight budget and you can't afford Adobe Acrobat, you may want to check this one out. I can't live without Acrobat anymore.

[Thanks to The Robin Good site for the link]

New Communications Resources from ALA

I was alerted to some new communications resources from ALA thanks to Peter Scott's Library Blog. The Communications Handbook for Libraries is "a free, online handbook designed to help librarians and others develop and maintain effective relations with the media and win support for libraries and their programs, all with minimal use of precious resources." I have already skimmed through it. It's very thorough and is a great resource for beginners, though it has enough depth to be a helpful refresher for pros as well.

Peter's blog also alerted me to
The Smartest Card. The Smartest Campaign, a new toolkit with graphics and sample publicity materials for the new advocacy campaign launched by the American Library Association and Public Library Association. Of course this campaign applies to public libraries.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Change This: For the both of you who haven't heard.

Haven'’t visited Change This? You should.

Change This is (and I'm quoting from their FAQ):
a “new kind of media. It's calm and thoughtful and direct and transparent. And unlike almost every other form of media, it reaches people through community. If an idea is a good one, it'll spread, because people like you will send it to their friends.” The site has manifestos on a variety of topics, by a variety of authors.

Some of my favorites include:
  • Guerrilla Marketing Guru by Jay Conrad Levinson. A lot of these tips don't apply to libraries, but they will get you thinking creatively.
So what are you waiting for? Go check it out!

Monday, September 20, 2004

Marketing Resources for Academic Libraries

The about me section says I work for an academic library consortium, but I didn't say which one. A few short hours ago when I started this blog I thought about remaining anonymous. But I decided if I'm going to try the whole blogging experience, I should really try it. I'm proud to say I work for OhioLINK. One of the resources I've spent a lot of time working on for the past year is the Marketing Toolkit. I don't think anyone outside of OhioLINK has stumbled upon it, because it's fairly well hidden, but there are several areas that might be helpful to others looking for resources on library marketing, promoting, etc. The resources page has links to relevant articles I've stumbled across. Another helpful piece is the Idea Gallery. It contains samples of work from OhioLINK member libraries. Having an online idea file can certainly come in handy (though I'm still hoping this one will grow) and it certainly saves on space in your file cabinet.

The Beginning of LibTalk

The fact that libraries need to utilize marketing and public relations to reach users, stakeholders and most importantly, those who fund libraries, is no longer a secret. While many libraries have communications programs in place, we still have not reached the saturation point of library communications and marketing programs. There is still a lot of room for improvement. We need to communicate better, smarter, and to more audiences. We need to conquer the resistance of some within libraries and begin to tell our stories consistently, loudly and as often as possible.

This blog will explore stories, tips, news and case studies that can assist library communicators. Why am I interested in this subject? Because it's my job and I'm interested in learning and improving my own skills. Everyday I'm exploring new ways to communicate the value of libraries and consortia, to reach users, to prove our value to influencers. I'm very interested in helping library communicators try new and different approaches to informing audiences about libraries. We can do more and we must, the survival, stability and growth of our libraries depends on it.