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.