Monthly Archives: February 2012

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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LibraryAware announces $10,000 library marketing award

Wow, a lot happening in the library marketing/outreach world these days! Nancy Dowd, former director of marketing at the New Jersey State Library and current project lead for LibraryAware Publishing, sent out this announcement yesterday via the pr talk listserv:

We are partnering with Library Journal to announce a new award at PLA. I can’t tell you too much about it but I can let you know that it will be of interest to all of us who market libraries AND the first prize is $10,000. We’ll announce it in Philadelphia at the LibraryAware product launch party on March 15.

LibraryAware has been generating a lot of buzz and questions in advance of its unveiling — Why is EBSCO/NoveList getting into the marketing business? Can marketing really be accomplished with a bunch of templates? Will it be as easy to use as they say? How much will this thing cost? — and this award is sure to add to it.

Stay posted. I hope to make it to the launch party in March, since Philadelphia’s nearby.

 

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LLAMA/PRMS PR Xchange Best of Show Seeks Entries

I’m new on the LLAMA/PRMS PR Xchange Committee this year, which is in charge of planning, coordinating and implementing the swap and shop event at ALA Annual. Here is our call for public relations materials from your libraries – newsletters, program announcements, reading celebrations, advocacy materials, fundraising campaigns and more – either in print or electronic formats.

To enter, download the Best of Show entry form and FAQ on the LLAMA web site at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/llama/awards/prxchange_bestofshow.cfm. Entries must be postmarked no later than March 16, 2012.

Promotional materials produced in 2011 are eligible for this year’s contest. All categories will be judged on content, originality, design format and effectiveness by a team of experts in public relations and marketing. New categories this year include libraries’ use of QR codes and social media integration. Winning entries will be on display during the PR Xchange program scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 24, 2012 during the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim.  Awards will be presented to the winners on that day.  Free samples of public relations materials from dozens of libraries will be available for attendees to “Xchange” during the program.

For more information, email Holly Flynn at flynnhol@msu.edu or Michelle Allen at allenm38@msu.edu.

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I’m delivering the keynote at MAHSLIN!

I’m totally thrilled that I’ve been asked to give the keynote presentation at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Health Science Libraries Network (MAHSLIN). This year’s meeting is organized around a theme of getting the word out and highlighting librarians’ contributions to the healthcare environment. Here are the details:

You Are Your Library!
Friday, April 20, 2012
Massachusetts Medical Society
Waltham, Massachusetts

 “You Are Your Library!” is formed around the theme of promoting libraries, and in particular, your own.  (For some recent perspective on the need for advocacy for hospital libraries, in particular, see Jerry Perry’s January 17th blog post on this topic.)  Now about the “you”:   while it may be the case that you have an amazing in-house and electronic collection and an inviting and comfortable physical space, it is unarguably true that the most valuable resource in the library is you – the librarian!   So plan to join your colleagues in exploring ways to tout, advocate, market  —  whatever term works best for you — on behalf of your library’s most valuable asset.

If any of you out there are librarians in hospitals or at medical schools, I’m interested to hear what you consider the unique challenges are right now in your environments. In fact, I’d be interested to hear from any special librarians about the current state of your libraries. What kind of guidance could you use when it comes to outreach and marketing?

 

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In the absence of a graphic designer on staff…

What I wouldn’t give to have a graphic designer working for me! Over the years, I’ve learned some basics of Photoshop and I use InDesign for newsletter layout, but design and visual work  do not come naturally to me and are very time-consuming. The Bubble Room featured a great post yesterday on Infographics, which seem to be all the rage right now, and for good reason: they are a visually compelling and succinct way to present data, especially to those of us who shrink at too many numbers and graphs. Infographics are like the grown-up version of library dashboards, which were a hot topic about a year ago. A colleague of mine recently took Edward Tufte’s course on presenting data and information and brought back his gorgeous books to show off: Beautiful Evidence, Envisioning Information, Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative, and The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. I gather Tufte is sort of a guru of infographics, and I would love to take his course sometime, too. Meanwhile, back in Library Land, I’m grateful for the work of the College’s Communications Division, colleagues in Information Technology with graphic design backgrounds, and student assistants that help me produce the visual work I need in order to publicize the library’s activities. Occasionally, I’ve even been able to contract a local independent graphic designer to design some pieces for us. As we move to an ever-increasingly visual world, what do you do in the absence of a graphic designer on staff? How do you create compelling visual work to catch your users’ attention?

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