Programming Librarian

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the monthly e-newsletter Programming Librarian and really enjoy receiving it in my inbox. Programming Librarian is put out by the American Library Association’s Public Programs Office and bills itself as “an online resource center for all things related to presenting cultural programs for all types and sizes of libraries.” I learn something new in every issue. Like in the most recent issue, I learned about National Robotics Week in an article written by a teen programmer at a public library. Such a week has interesting potential at my academic library, which serves an undergraduate engineering program. I definitely feel like this site goes beyond the tried-and-true “Women’s History Month” and “Black History Month” program ideas, and recommend it to anyone involved in outreach.

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Google Alerts

I’ve been a less-than-stellar blogger lately, but the details of preparing for a talk, selling my house, and planning a move have really taken over my life. My inbox is clogged with a backlog of professional reading. One of the sets of emails I get sent to me regularly is from Google Alerts. I keep Google Alerts on:

  • library outreach
  • library marketing
  • social media (library OR libraries)
  • library communications
  • academic (library OR libraries)

I’m still playing around with these. Of course, a lot of what I get are press releases from large public library communications departments, but there are enough gems in there — like blogs I’ve never heard of and more mainstream news stories that mention libraries, that I keep it up. Besides, the habit is ingrained in me from my many years of doing public relations before I became a librarian.

I also keep a Google Alert on my parent organization — Lafayette College (and now UCSB) — and I suggest you do, too! It means I get to see the good news before my College posts it to their web site, and I get to see the bad news that they’ll never push out. I get to hear about our faculty lecturing in local communities around the country or publishing research that’s mentioned in trade publications, which offers me an opportunity to drop a line of congratulations and to see if the library can assist. Or it’s news that I can then push back out via the Library’s Facebook page. It’s just one more way of keeping my ear to the ground for potential opportunities to market the library.

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Moving on to outreach job at UCSB

I can finally announce that I will be leaving Lafayette College at the end of this semester to take a job as Assistant University Librarian for Outreach and Academic Collaboration at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It is an incredible opportunity for me to do outreach, PR, and public events for a library on a much larger scale and in a more strategic position, and I am very excited about it. Davidson Library is about to undergo a renovation and I will be managing the public face of the library through that (hence my recent post about construction projects being on my mind). Other responsibilities include overseeing the library’s web presence (they recently migrated to Drupal), developing library publications (they only just started a newsletter for faculty called The Lens), running public programs, developing partnerships on campus, and generally trying to raise the profile of the library, especially among faculty.It will be a challenge as I move from a small liberal arts college to a large decentralized university and move into managing staff, but I am ready for it. I’m especially excited to work under the leadership of their relatively new University Librarian, Denise Stephens. I came away from my interview feeling that I would be very much supported in my professional growth there.

I will miss my colleagues at Lafayette very much, and am so grateful to the library for hiring me straight out of graduate school and allowing me the freedom while giving me the resources to do new things, like QR code scavenger hunts and student advisory groups. I’m especially sad that I’ll miss the Banned Books Week events that we’ve been planning for next year, complete with a flash-mob-style read out (so send me video, Ana!), but my mind has already shifted westward and is reeling with ideas for UCSB.

So much to do before I start on July 16, like sell my house in PA, fly out to Santa Barbara again to find a rental, find a summer program for my kid, figure out how to transport my car and dog cross-country, etc. If I think too much about it, I get overwhelmed. I’m sure there’s something else I should be doing right now…

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Unveiling library newsletter redesign

I’m really happy to finally be able to share online the redesign of Lafayette College’s Library newsletter, Bytes & Books. As I wrote in my letter from the editor:

“Bytes & Books began in 1987 with an article about the automation of the Library Catalog. While the stories have changed through the years to reflect the advent of networked information,  organizational restructuring, new media formats and collecting initiatives, and building projects, the black-and-white format has stayed remarkably the same. The color and lightness of the revamped Bytes & Books is more representative of the modern and renovated Skillman Library…”

I am very much indebted to Kevin Hardy in Lafayette College’s Communications Division for his design. I’ve heard from a lot of faculty about the newsletter, so I know I accomplished what I wanted, which was to make it pop in people’s mailboxes enough for them to pay attention and read it.

You can view the new Bytes & Books(Spring 2012) at http://dspace.lafayette.edu/bitstream/handle/10385/936/BB-v26-n01.pdf

You can view the old Bytes & Books(Fall 2011) at http://dspace.lafayette.edu/bitstream/handle/10385/935/BB-v25-n02.pdf

 

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Library construction project marketing videos

I’ve been thinking about library construction projects lately and happened across these great short videos that North Carolina State University (NCSU) has produced while they are raising money for and undergoing construction on their Hunt Library. What I like about these videos is that they place the users at the center of the construction project, showing students and faculty (some in hardhats) talking about how they’re going to benefit from the renovated library and what it means to teaching and learning at NCSU. The library has branded the campaign with the tagline “imagine” and re-uses it in different scenarios, like “imagine 100 group study rooms” (don’t we all wish we could offer so many study rooms!) It’s nice and simple but makes sense for a construction project that can often feel never-ending and only about the current noise and reduced space and services. The short videos are linked from the library’s home page and are a great model for any academic library about to launch or in the middle of a construction project. And they shouldn’t be too difficult to produce. You can even get students to help you out in the making of them. Now that’s user-centered!:

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Free brand identity webinar

Proquest is offering a free webinar on creating a brand identity. Since so many of our libraries are strapped for cash these days when it comes to sending us librarians to conferences and for other professional development opportunities, we all need to take advantage of these free training opportunities.

http://discovermorecorps.com/

Event status: Not started (Register)
Date and time: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 11:00 am
Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Change time zone
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 11:00 am
Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 3:00 pm
GMT Time (London, GMT)
Thursday, March 15, 2012 2:00 am
Australia Eastern Daylight Time (Sydney, GMT+11:00)
Program:
Graduate Education Program
Panelist(s) Info:
Maria Ziemer
Duration: 1 hour
Description:

We all recognize a strong brand identity when we see it, but how did that identity develop? Because brands are defined by perceptions, new logos don’t make a brand and fancy ad campaigns don’t make a brand. Everything from product quality to service to the image projected creates brand equity. This session covers the what and why of creating brand identity, illustrated by case studies. It offers how-tos for creating brand identity for a library or information center, with minimal budget.

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Social Media Working Group kick-off

I was thrilled to attend the first social media working group meeting on my campus today…so thrilled that I actually volunteered to be on the subcommittee to help the College come up with a social media policy, directory, and best practices to be displayed on a hub of sorts. It was great to be in a room with other employees and students from across the College  (Development, ATTIC tutoring services, Instructional Technology, Communications Division, Art Galleries, Student Life, etc.) who voluntarily want to work together to make the most out of our respective social media presences. I probably wouldn’t have been invited to the working group if I hadn’t been tooling around on the Communications Division’s web site and discovered that they had recently hired a Social Media Manager. Then, in old fashioned style, I just picked up the phone and called to ask what her job entails and how we might work together.

I was a little nervous at first that the Communications Division would want to keep a tight reign on organizational Facebook pages, but thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be their intent. They have adopted a hub-and-spoke model, whereby the hub (in this case, Communications & ITS) will facilitate resource sharing and cross-functional communications. There are a lot of questions that the working group has, especially in terms of defining what we all want Facebook to do for us, and if it is, in fact, the right platform for all of our needs. I manage the library’s social media presence (right now, just Facebook and Twitter) almost solo, with a little help from my student assistant, and I’m always looking for ways to drive up the numbers on our Facebook page, to increase student participation, and to make sense of Facebook’s Insights. I’ve also toyed around with the idea of taking out an ad in advance of our big event for first year students each Fall. But it’s harder to articulate an answer to the “why” question. Why have a Facebook page for the library? Because it is the communications platform of choice for students? Because it helps to build community among our users?  How would you answer this question?

The big group is going to meet again in six weeks, but our subcommittee will be getting to work straight away on the social media policy. Stay tuned!

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