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 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 or Michelle Allen at


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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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Library Communications Journal – a new journal for library communications professionals

Exciting to see this actually happening after the inaugural conference I attended in 2011, with great sessions on digital signage and social media, among others. Now I just have to start brainstorming some article ideas. On that topic, how do you generate and record ideas? I have found, over the years and to my disappointment, that my workplace culture is not one of idea-generation. I’m not sure what it would take to be one — article or book clubs, staff teams built around common library goals, like user experience? — but it’s definitely not here. Now that I’m back into more of a habit of reading blogs, articles & books (one of my professional goals for 2012), I’m struggling with how to keep track of the ideas that I generate upon reading. Would love to hear your ideas!

CFP: Library Communications Journal – a new journal for library communications professionals

As part of the formation of The Association of Library Communications and Outreach Professionals (ALCOP) which is scheduled to be announced on or before February 15th, a new online journal focused on library communications has been established, and we are now seeking articles for the first issue.

Library Communications Journal will be an online quarterly publication available to ALCOP members and will feature practical articles on a diverse range of issues of concern to library communications professionals today. At the helm of the new journal will be Ms. Jordan Strohl, an experienced journalist who has been a contributor to many professional journals focused on communications. Jordan will serve as the Managing Editor and Assistant to the Publisher.

We are seeking articles on such topics as:

•        using social media to promote libraries
•        ideas for outreach to underserved populations
•        innovative program ideas and how to promote them
•        how to motivate the library staff
•        using technology in promoting the library
•        how to plan a great special event
•        best practices for working with the media
•        fostering student engagement with the academic library

… and many other issues relevant to you and how you do your job

We also seek all kinds of “how to” articles as well as book reviews on new texts focusing on library marketing and public relations.

The journal will welcome articles directed at a general audience or specifically for practitioners serving public, academic, or special libraries.

We are seeking articles no more than 2,000 words in length and book reviews should not be more than 400 words. LCJ allows all authors to retain copyright privileges to their work.

To be considered for the inaugural issue of Library Communications Journal, please submit your articles in Word format to Jordan Strohl at no later than February 15, 2012. Please address any questions to Jordan at that same email address.

We hope you will be part of our first issue schedule to be published in the early Spring.




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Recommended (library) marketing books

There’s been a discussion happening over on the academicpr listserv about good (library)  marketing books, so I  thought I’d gather the collected wisdom here as a sort of to-read list for myself and others who are interested in keeping up with this field. I’ve read some but not all of these. I highly recommend Marketing Today’s Academic Library to anyone who does outreach for an academic library and The Accidental Library Marketer if you’re in charge of marketing at an academic, special, or public library. I teach heavily from both of these texts in my online course, “Marketing Your Library.” Steve Krug’s books are essential for anyone getting started in web usability. I read them back when I was in grad school and interning at Credo Reference (then called Xrefer), and I was asked to work with the founder on the first usability test of the site. I also referred back to Krug when spearheading a redesign of the library site at Lafayette College (that was a few years ago, and now we’re once again in the thick of a redesign). No one mentioned Seth Godin’s books, but they always come highly recommended and are definitely on my to-read list.

Marketing Today’s Academic Library: A Bold New Approach to Communicating with Students by Brian Mathews

The Accidental Library Marketer by Kathy Dempsey

Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems by Steve Krug

Don’t Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

Creating Your Library Brand by Elisabeth Dovcett

Creating the Customer-Drive Academic Library by Jeannette Woodward

Marketing and Public Relations Practices in College Libraries by Anita Lindsay

Bite-sized Marketing : Realistic Solutions for the Overworked Librarian by Nancy Dowd, Mary Evangeliste, and Jonathan Silberman

The Visible Librarian: Asserting Your Value with Marketing and Advocacy by Judith Siess

Listening to the Customer by Peter Hernon and Joseph Matthews

I would also add:

Building a Buzz: Libraries and Word-of-Mouth Marketing by Peggy Barber and Linda Wallace

Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear by Frank Luntz

Once I figure out how to do it, I want to display these visually (help, anyone?).

What are your favorite (library) marketing books?


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Capturing stories

I just started reading a really interesting article that appears in the January 2012 issue of portal: Libraries and the Academy: “Research Papers Have Always Seemed Very Daunting”: Information Literacy Narratives and the Student Research Experience” by Robert Detmering and Anna Marie Johnson. I love narrative.  It personally speaks to me a lot more than numbers. As they write, “In the face of assessment literature on information literacy, student voices have been missing for the most part.”

What I’m especially interested in is how those narratives can then be harnessed to make improvements or how they can be shared to promote services. Project Information Literacy just announced the release of a new “Practical PIL” page on their web site that showcases how schools have been using PIL findings to develop new sites, sources, and materials. I really like it.

Over the past few years, I’ve started a few different interview series–one with faculty about ways in which they are incorporating information literacy into the classroom and another with honors students about the process of researching and writing a thesis. The goal of the information literacy interviews–which are published in our biannual faculty newsletter–is to encourage more faculty to build information literacy into their courses and to collaborate with librarians on information literacy instruction. It’s a lot more powerful for faculty to hear from each other than it is for them to hear from librarians. The honors thesis interviews are also meant to showcase librarians’ work, but also to offer support to thesis students by capturing the stories of those that have gone before them.

I’d love to hear more from others about narratives and stories that you are capturing, and how you’re using them.


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