I’ve recently become a columnist for Library Journal, along with several others, as part of an Advocates Corner feature all about library marketing and advocacy. Here’s where you can read the first of my columns, about the increasingly important practice of marketing with video. The second one went online last week – you can read it here.
It’s about creating ambient awareness of the Library as authoritative source – the reason it doesn’t say that in the article itself is that it’s a much better way of putting it than I could come up with myself! The particular phrase comes from Valarie Kingsland, as part of this tweet responding to the article (see more response below).
The central tenet of the article is something I first grasped when Terry Kendrick explained it to me – that it’s very hard to get anyone to take an action as a result of any one-off piece of marketing, and that it is this unrealistic expectation which leaves so many library marketers disappointed. You really have to build an awareness of what you do over time, so you’re the first thing people thing of when they DO need your services – rather than expecting them to drop what they’re doing and run to the Library when they see your tweet / poster / email / leaflet or whatever… Hence the title of the column – marketing libraries is like marketing mayonnaise, in that no one sees an ad for Hellman’s Mayo and rushes out to buy some, but when it comes to the time when they need mayonnaise, Hellman’s are foremost in their minds because they see so many ads and promotions. Read the article to see what I’m on about!
The reaction to the piece was fantastic, and I’m really pleased to see how many people really ‘got’ it. I’ve documented a small selection of it on Storify.
Continuing the Stealth Advocising theme from a few weeks back, I created a video version of my If you want to work in libraries… slide-deck. It has some funky hip-hoppy latin music in it that I wrote when I was about 17! Woof. Here it is – as ever, in the interests of spreading the messages far and wide, feel free to use this however you like, embed it wherever, etc etc.
The Slideshare version of this has now been viewed more than ten thousand times, so surely LOADS of those people must be outside the echo chamber, right..?
I also wrote an article for PostLib, the journal for retired librarians! I was really pleased to be asked to do this, I like to see the divide between senior and new professionals being bridged whereever possible. The resultant article is now available:Statistics, the Media and the Library Legacy (PDF) – and owes a big debt to Ian Clark [Thoughts of a Wannabe Librarian] who read it over for me and gave me his approval to use some of his ideas! It mentions the echo chamber in passing – but really the main thrust of it is to note that, if you take combined footfall and internet usage stats, public library use in the UK is actually UP over the last couple of years (quite considerably), contrary to popular reports.
Laura and I will present a new version of the Echo Chamber presentation in Cambridge in a couple of days, to an audience of 200 or so people – the biggest we’ve spoken to yet, so we’re really excited about that.
There’s also a couple of articles I wrote about LISNPN, the New Professionals Network, available elsewhere. They’re both on CILIP platforms but both are freely available to all – Moving forward together opens Library Information Gazette in digital form, and The LIS New Professionals Networktakes you to CILIP’s Information & Advice blog.
Look out for a BIG competition on LISNPN later this month, with a library-related-prize worth literally hundreds of pounds and well worth winning.
Library Routes Project
Remember Library Routes? It’s still going! And there’s plenty of great entries that have come in in recent months – there’s now over 150 contributions from Information Professionals about how they got into librarianship, and their path through the profession. Check it out if you haven’t already, or if you’ve not done so for a while. The project homepage has more than 25,000 views now, so maybe some of those will be from people outside the Echo Chamber too.
I’ve been approached by Facet Publishing to write a book on marketing modern libraries. It’s intimidating (the previous Facet book on libraries was written by Terry Kendrick, who is a marketing legend and a member of the Marketing Guild and all that stuff) but a really exciting thing to be a part of. The idea is for it to cover all aspects of the nuts and bolts of marketing libraries – the grass roots – and to cover a wide spectrum of sectors, too.
Although the echo chamber theme will pop up here and there, this isn’t a book about marketing the profession (or the industry) – it’s about marketing your specific library. So, I would absolutely love to hear what you think you’d like to see in such a book. Each chapter will be on a different theme, and they’ll all feature a case-study. I’m yet to finalise the proposal with Facet, so if you can give me your ideas quick I’ll try and make sure they’re addressed!
Stuff I’m currently intending to cover includes:
Grass roots essentials
Going to where your users are / user studies
Marketing with social media + web2
Marketing on no budget
Marketing to internal stakeholders
Language, style + materials
Special collections, Archives and Library Branding
Understanding the media and using them to market your library
Rebranding, reinvention, and the Unlibrary concept
Quick wins (a brief overview of a bunch of other people’s success stories)
What else would you like to see in there? Would you want more than one chapter on web stuff as it is so important these days? Do you think there should be a chapter about advocacy because without it we won’t have any libraries left to market, or will the kind of people who’ll buy this book not have time for all that? Do you know of a library with a story that would fit any of those themes as a case study?
P.S There will be a separate marketing blog and twitter account coming soon, once we’ve made the final decision on the name of the book. It’ll cover all the stuff the book will cover, and also report on any other great marketing schemes happening out there in libraryland.
The Library Routes Project
An article about Library Routes, from ALISS Quarterly, Volume 5, no. 3: April 2010. It details how the project came about, the methodology and so on – the article can be downloaded here, in PDF format. This PDF is actually the whole edition of the journal, by permission from the editor – my article is at the back, the last one in there.
Why are we still defined by our building? (the short version…)
The full version can be found below [on the papers and presentations page linked above]; this is a much reduced edition, published by Impact (the Career Development Group Journal), as part of the prize for winning best paper at the 2009 New Professionals Conference. Available here in PDF format.
The Unspeakable Truth
This is a copy of the essay which was one of the winners of the LISNews Essay Contest – it’s about the future of libraries, and the positive lessons about reinvention we can learn from other industries. Downloadable here as a PDF.
So if you aren’t bored of hearing about the Library Routes Project, and you’ve sometimes wondered what the Defined by Our Building thing was all about but didn’t fancy ploughing through 4000 words of the full version, this is the blog post for you!
Thank you to Woodsiegirl who went through the ALISS article with a finely judged scalpel and made it a lot better. Cheers to Chris Rhodes for getting hold of the Building PDF for me. Bobbi and Buffy, you each get brief mentions in the Library Routes article, by the way…
This is a blog about Information Professional stuff, library marketing and advocacy, tech trends, and the odd how-to-guide on various platforms and bits of software. It is written by thewikiman, who works in Higher Education.
library marketing toolkit
I have written a book! It's all about marketing libraries. Click the cover to go to the Library Marketing Toolkit website for more info, or bookmark www.librarymarketingtoolkit.com