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Cathay Keough's picture

ALA Annual Planning for 2014 and Chair consideration

We have a couple of items to consider.   Please respond to this thread so I can have all our thoughts here.

1.  My 2-year term ends this summer so the RSS Marketing and PR Committee will need a new chair.  You have been on this committee - you know what happens during the year.  Please consider taking the lead and trying it out!  It's been a wonderful experience - and much of this has to do with what a fabulous committee you have made.  Let me know if you are interested and/or if you have any questions.

2.  By March 19, we need to any workshop ideas for ALA Annual 2014 (which will be in Las Vegas). 

This year we are co-sponsoring the webinar/discussion (basically, a workshop) "Slam the Boards" at ALA Annual 2013.  Last year, in 2012, we offered a panel discussion with David Lee King, Jennifer Robinson, and Marshall Breeding all giving their expertise on social media. 

What are your ideas about marketing libraries that would be a great workshop for ALA attendees? 

One thing I can think of is to present ways to market libraries that have been developed through ALA and its affiliates, such as the Geek Campaign, Turning the Page (library advocacy), the READ campaign...  I am on the Ask Committee (newly reformed committee) which is up and coming to help promote reference services/virtual reference services, too.  I wonder if librarians around the country really have a good sense of what ALA offers (and PLA, etc.) to help libraries market and promote their services.  Would this be a good workshop/presentation? 

Other thoughts and ideas...?  This is an open discussion.  Any brainstorming is welcomed!

 

 

 

Jessica Hagman's picture

I like this idea of discussing the support out there for PR/marketing of libraries. I think some of this comes down to just having content, especially for social media. I'd love to attend a session where we worked on content ideas for promotion or learned about places to find content that can be adapted, especially for people who do not have a dedicated PR/marketing person in their library and are doing it as an add-on to their current job. 

Cathay Keough's picture

Thanks for your thoughts, Jessica.  The more I think about compiling "what's out there for us" regarding marketing opportunities, the more I think it could be a worthy workshop.  It might be good to explore potential presenters, or a presenter.  Maybe someone from ALA. 

Anyone want to explore this?  I may have a lead - Andrea Hill does the website.  Any other leads?

Cathay Keough Statewide Coordinator Delaware Reference Services Group (includes Ask a Librarian Delaware) and DLA Executive Director (cathay.keough@lib.de.us).

Emilie Smart's picture

Presenting the ALA PR programs is a good idea, but may be too expensive for smaller libraries to take advantage of.  We do Geek and we've spent some money on geek stuff and advertising space.  I don't think we should limit a presentation to just those programs.

If we're serious about doing a PR/Marketing Best Practices document, perhaps we should do a workshop on ways to implement those practices while keeping in mind budget and staffing limitations.

 

Emilie Smart
RSS Member at Large
Chair, RSS Recognition Committee
Jessica Hagman's picture

Good point Emilie. That's what I was thinking too. Discussing a range of options since there are so many different types of PR/marketing programs in libraries. I could see having someone from ALA, but maybe also someone who could discuss free or low-cost options. 

As far as best practices, I took a recent course through ALA about best practices for reference through social media with Sarah Steiner at Georgia Tech (I think). 

Cathay Keough's picture

Exactly!  All budget considerations need to be present (low-and-no cost).  The really expensive campaigns can be mentioned but who can afford them?  And while we're on this (thanks for bringing it up Emile), considerations for time and equipment are also just as pertinent.  How do we implement effective marketing campaigns if there is no one to do it?  Or is something has to be purchased that is way too expensive or difficult to use (think Adobe Photoshop)? 

If there is something excellent but expensive and/or complicated, perhaps we can help make this possible through "ideas for use" by any library, as part of our workshop.  That would probably be attractive to many.  What do you think?

Cathay Keough Statewide Coordinator Delaware Reference Services Group (includes Ask a Librarian Delaware) and DLA Executive Director (cathay.keough@lib.de.us).

Emilie Smart's picture

Probably the best approach is to look at what you have already in place and think about how you can use it for marketing purposes.  Pretty much everybody has access to MS Word and many have access to MS Publisher, but they may not have an image/photo editor and are relying on Microsoft images.  We can point them to free image editors online (Irfanview is my fave).

They may not think of approaching church/senior/social groups for library resource presentations. Retirement facilities are great places to promote the reference services.  Have a presence at local fairs/festivals -- we did a "Stump the Librarian" table for a couple of years.  It cost us nothing but our pride...  And of course, there's social media.  

There are so many great ways to promote reference services but reference people don't generally participate in library promotional activities -- that's usually left up to children and teen services.  We need to provide tools to help them start thinking about how to promote electronic resources and personal assistance services and to help them get started with "selling" ideas to administration.

 

Emilie Smart
RSS Member at Large
Chair, RSS Recognition Committee
Jessica Hagman's picture

Emilie, I like all of the ideas you describe here. It seems like we're talking about offering people ideas on how to promote library reference/resources when they don't necessarily have that as part of their job or have a lot of resources dedicated to that. Am I understanding you correctly?

I could see a workshop along the lines of the "accidental" marketer type, although I think it would need a title since there is already a book like that. Maybe, fitting marketing into your "regular" job? With ways to promote that are easy/inexpensive or both? 

 

 

Emilie Smart's picture

Jessica -- I guess the answer to your questions is yes.  I'm not so sure about the "accidental" marketer spin, though.  I doubt that marketing is written in to many non-PR job descriptions.  

Maybe we should try to spin reference marketing as a way to improve useage or ROI.  Since reference folks rarely market their services or resources (at least in the public library), I was thinking that we could get them started with thinking about what they want to promote, who they want to promote to, and how they can do the promotion using what they already have in place or for no- or low-cost.  

 

Emilie Smart
RSS Member at Large
Chair, RSS Recognition Committee
Jessica Hagman's picture

"I doubt that marketing is written in to many non-PR job descriptions.  "

I totally agree. I guess that accidental marketer book is about someone who takes that job. I was thinking of all the people who do marketing without it being a part of their job. 

In my academic experience, it's usually frontline reference and instruction folks who do most of the non-job description PR, so I would be wary of putting that into any workshop description. But I do like the steps you describe as a possible workshop. It's always good to have something you can walk away from the session with. 

Cathay Keough's picture

Proposals are due tomorrow so I'll go ahead and submit a "working draft" idea based upon this discussion. 

Thanks very much Emilie and Jessica!

We still need to have a leader - either of you interested?  Please email me.

-Cathay

Cathay Keough Statewide Coordinator Delaware Reference Services Group (includes Ask a Librarian Delaware) and DLA Executive Director (cathay.keough@lib.de.us).

Cathay Keough's picture

Our proposal has been submitted to Sarah.  It is a very rough draft but I wanted to get us a place based upon the interest of our group, and the importance we all see with marketing our libraries.

As a last minute thought, I also asked about having an author.  I've been listening to "Winning the Story Wars" by Jonah Sachs and am quite impressed.  He has helped with Annie Leonard's "The Story of Stuff," and other ways to champion non-profit organizations who are working for the betterment of our world.  See the attached proposal for links to his bio and information.  Even if we cannot get him or have funding to pay for him, you all might like to read this book.  It is right up our alley!

 

Cathay Keough Statewide Coordinator Delaware Reference Services Group (includes Ask a Librarian Delaware) and DLA Executive Director (cathay.keough@lib.de.us).

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