Posts Tagged ‘Library Advocacy’

10 top tips to take your organisation’s Twitter account up a level

28 Aug

My current column for Library Journal is all about taking a Twitter account to the next level. It’s hard to keep organisational accounts progressing – a lot of them plateau after a while – so there’s 10 golden rules to get you past that point.


Image of the LJ column online

Click the image to read the full article on


The 10 golden rules in brief, are:

  1. Only tweet about your library one time in four
  2. Analyse your tweets
  3. Tweet multimedia
  4. Tweet more pictures
  5. If something is important, tweet it four times
  6. Use hashtags (but don’t go mad)
  7. Ask questions
  8. Get retweeted and your network will grow
  9. Put your Twitter handle EVERYWHERE
  10. Finally, avoid these pitfalls

Read the full article with expanded information about each rule, here.

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Creating ambient awareness of the Library as authoritative source

07 May


Picture of the LJ column

Click the image to read the article


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.


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Free chapter of the Library Marketing Toolkit available for download!

09 May

My book on marketing libraries is completely finished, done, dusted, and is currently awaiting printing by Facet Publishing. It’ll be out in July.

Picture of the Library Marketing Toolkit

WOOT! :)

You can get info about how to order it from Facet, if you think it’ll be useful for your library – in the meantime, anyone can download a free chapter (PDF) from the CILIP website. We’ve chosen the Introduction because it talks about the importance of marketing libraries, gives an overview of the book and descriptions of each chapter, and contains a case-study matrix which lists every single one of the 27 contributors, where they’re from, what they cover, which sector they’re relevant to etc etc. So basically it provides the best possible overview of the book, so you can decide if you want to order a copy or not…

This is a pre-final proofs version of the chapter so there will be one or two minor changes in the real thing, but most of the content is the same.

Let me know if you have any feedback!

- thewikiman



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Librarians are horizontal; libraries are vertical

14 Jun
Picture ogf the earth

CC Flickr pic by MarkyBon

I’m ensconced in the Special Libraries Association’s massive annual conference in Philadelphia. It’s fantastic. This is the first of probably a few posts picking up on key themes.

The Pulitzer prize winning author and controversial New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman opened the conference with his keynote on Sunday. Whatever you think of his politics, writing style, fee and so on, I’m really pleased that (as is always the case with SLA) a non-librarian was opening the event, and indeed a non-librarian will close it too. A key part of breaking out of the echo chamber is for us to go to non-library events, and to have non-librarians at ours.

Friedman is the author of  The World Is Flat, and he talked about how internet technology has flattened the world, brought companies and people together side by side, and interconnected them. This horizontal communication has, of course, revolutionised the way we work. He also talked about how vital the notion of ‘upload’ was – enabling people to participate in the web, not just consume it, and how much this increases involvement and excitement and commitment to the cause.

It strikes me that librarians are pretty good at this, for the most part. We live in this horizontal world, we are interconnected, we use web  2 tools to talk to each other, we upload. We are horizontal, and our wold is flat. Libraries, on the other hand, struggle with this a lot more. Libraries are vertical. Libraries’ content is often hidden behind catalogues or databases which aren’t fully interoperable with the rest of the web, which thwart the interconnectivity. Furthermore, we find it very difficult to encourage ‘upload’. We are so used to protecting our collections, that the notion of giving people an active role and allowing them ownership is hard to come to terms with. We’re trying, I think, but it’s hard to empower people in the kinds of ways that makes them excited, passionate, and consequently advocates. People tell their friends about stuff they can claim ownership of, it’s partly why there are so many web 2 success stories; we in libraries are still at the stage where we gasp at the idea of allowing tagging on our catalogues.

It’s a tricky issue – but we have to address it sooner or later…

- thewikiman

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