Thursday, December 15, 2005

Go Where the Users Are

After reading this post in the OH!Libraries blog, I went to the LibraryLookup Project page and downloaded the bookmarklet so that now with just one click I can find out if books from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other sites are available at my library.

This is such a cool program! I know it's been around awhile and I've seen it mentioned in other blogs, but I didn't get it until I tried it. This is another functionality libraries need to promote to users and nonusers alike. At work, we're constantly talking about how to be where the users are. In real-life this means posting flyers and publicity for library resources and services outside the library. It means taking library services and resources directly to the user no matter where they are. Online, it means integrating with online services the users are already using, like IM, Google, Amazon, etc.

So, if you haven't already, try the LibraryLookup Project bookmarklet and after you see how cool it is, start spreading the word.

What else is your library doing to go where the users are?

Yes Virginia, You Are a Marketer

Some people have asked me, who's job should it be to market the library? The answer: It's everyone's job. Every person from the student worker to the reference librarian to the janitor, is marketing the library. And they're doing so every hour, of every day. So we might as well do it effectively.

Thanks to Jill and the Library Marketing-Thinking Outside the Book blog for pointing out the article "In Your Business, Everyone's a Marketer" by Matt Blumberg and for reminding us of this important point.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Market Research You Can Use

Others have already mentioned this (ResourceShelf, ACRLog), but after looking at OCLC's "Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources" report, I had to write about it too.

The report provides the "findings and responses from the online survey in an effort to learn more about: library use, awareness and use of library electronic resources, the Internet search engine, the library and the librarian, free vs. for-free information and the Library "brand."

What's great for academic libraries, is that the report separates out the responses from college students. Some of the findings from the college students' responses:

  • "College students have the highest rate of library use and broadest use of library resources, both physical and electronic."

  • Only 10% of college students indicated that their library's collection fulfilled their information needs after accessing the library Web site from a search engine."

  • Only 2% of the college students that responded to OCLC's survey typically begin their search for information on a particular topic at the library's Web site (versus 1% of total survey respondents)

  • 89% of college students typically use a search engine to begin their search for information on a particular topic (versus 84% of total survey respondents)

  • After search engines, 33% of college students learn about electronic inforation sources from a librarian (versus 8% of the total survey respondents)

  • What's the first source/place college students will choose next time they need information? 72% - search engines, 14% - physical library, 10% - online library, 2% - physical bookstore and 2% - online bookstore.
See the report for much, much more including sample verbatim comments.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Library Marketing Resources from Elsevier

If, like me, you're always on the look out for new library marketing and PR resources, you may want to check out Elsevier's Library Connect Pamphlet, "Marketing Library Resources: An Annotated Bibliography".

The OhioLINK Marketing Idea Gallery is mentioned, but it's buried under the article "The OhioLINK-YBP road shows: A partnership for vendor/library collaboration." Go figure. Still, I'm glad word is getting out about our marketing resources, and I hope others outside of Ohio find them helpful.

The latest Library Connect newsletter, from October 2005, also has some good stuff, including the article "Can You Lead a Horse to Water? Teaching Users About Electronic Resources," by Scott Walter.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Need Wombat?

No, not the marsupial. In this case Wombat stands for thr Word of Mouth Basic Training Blog, which is a project of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. I just found it so am still exploring, but it looks like some cool stuff.

Library Survival Guides

Popular Mechanics has archived 17 ways to survive worst case senarios like how to survive a riot, airplane crash, sandstorm, etc. The situations are adapted from the popular "The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook." (link via lifehacker)

What does this have to do with marketing libraries? Well, it got me thinking, what about creating brief snappy guides to using library resources to survive real life situations like, perhaps, "how to survive your first college paper" or "how to survive starting a business without going crazy"? Then give users simple, easy steps on how the library can help them. Bonus points if you can use some humor.

The point? Done right, these guides could help show users the library isn't the stuffy, over-serious organization the stereotypes portray. And they just might teach users something about library resources too.

$50M Business Launches from Library

The Kansas City Star fills readers in on the Johnson County Library's lesser known treasures:
"Library in Rare Company" (Bullers, Finn. November 30, 2005)