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Cathay Keough's picture

Pilot Ask Campaign from Maryland

On February 27, 2013 Maryland AskUsNow! Statewide Coordinator Julie Strange and Operations Assistant Cathay Crosby started work on the Ask Campaign pilot here in Maryland to promote Maryland AskUsNow!'s tenth year anniversary (on March 17, 2013). 

Items we used for photo shoot:

  • Two clipboards
  • Two lists of questions
  • Copies of the Photo Release Form
  • pens
  • camera (SLR or other high quality digital is best, with manual flash settings)
  • "White board" measuring 11"x17" (Manufactured by Hutchison Co. Advertising Displays - http://www.hutchco.com).  It was essentially a white piece of cardboard with a clear plastic covering.
  • Large black dry erase marker and eraser

Summary of photo shoot: 

Prior to February 27, we created a Photo Release Form, asked for a photographer's help with a high-quality camera, and enlisted the assistance of another librarian from our department.  We made sure the Baltimore County Public Library - Towson Branch Manager and Assistant Manager were asked for permission to do this, and they were enthusiastically supportive.  They they notified the staff that we would be approaching patrons that morning.  We also created a list of potential questions that could be used by patrons - these were drawn from questions asked through Maryland AskUsNow!'s and posted on its Twitter feed.

With a couple of clipboards in hand, the four of us entered the large branch in the morning hours (less traffic).  Our goal was to have a variety of people (ages, sizes, ethnicity, styles of dress) and we hoped for 6 participants.  The setting was to match the question as much as possible (i.e.; "What type of plants grow in Baltimore?" could be a question, and the photo may show a person by plants.

Experience Highlighting  Photo Shoot:  We found that it was less intimidating for patrons if one or two of us approached with clipboards.  The standard greeting explained what we were doing and why, and how it would benefit our libraries.  We then asked if the person would be interested in participating, and if so, to sign a Photo Release Form.  We had them look over the list of possible questions to determine any they might ask (especially in a virtual environment, since this is an online library service) and encouraged them to make up their own question if desired.

When filling out the form, we also asked for their email or contact info in order to send them a copy of the final product:  a poster with the person holding their question, in a setting around the library or at the coffee shop.

Most patrons agreed and were delighted to participate and we ended up with 7 (over our goal)!

We have documentation on the plan and a link to the Photo Release Form at: 

http://www.askusnow.info/staff/marketing/askcampaign/photosubmissions

We specified the look and feel we wanted and sent it out to our AskUsNow! partners and the Maryland Marketing Team and so far have had one library send us some good material. 

We will be creating electronic media and potentially physical posters all of which is to be distributed statewide.

We will report more as we have information.  Questions?  Please contact Julie Strange (jstrange@askusnow.info). 

Diana Shonrock's picture

This really sounds like fun---maybe we could take the photo idea to Chicago this summer and use it?? In the exhibit hall?? a library??

Diana

 Think Green - don't print this email unless necessary

Diana D. Shonrock Professor Emeritus, Iowa State University

shonrock@iastate.edu

Elizabeth Stephan's picture

This is great! I like the idea of taking it to Chicago. Maybe we could enlist some folks at Chicago Public to play along.