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At this year’s NCLA Conference I was able to find sessions relevant to my service on the ZSR Marketing Committee as well as others which can be applied more generally to librarianship.

“Grumble Theory in the Workplace” with Michael Crumpton and Kathy Bradshaw from UNCG was the first session I attended. They referred to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which, in its most basic form includes three levels of need:

  • Low – These are basic creature comforts such as temperature of your surroundings, food, sleep, etc.
  • High – More complex interpersonal needs including dignity, respect and praise
  • Meta – Includes concerns for values such as truth, justice, and perfection.

The speakers talked about how to identify the concerns of a library staff and work through these levels of need. The process reminded me of the Strategic Planning Refresh initiative at ZSR in January of 2012 and was a good reminder of the importance of listening to concerns and making people feel heard.

Wednesday afternoon I attended “Taming the Hydra” with Kim Vassiliadis, Emily King & Chad Haefele from UNC. As Carol has already reported, they spoke on LibGuides management and maintenance. They likened the lifecycle of a LibGuide to owning a cat. The initial stage was a “free kitten” which, in its infancy has good information and is heavily promoted. “Middle age” LibGuides are quirky, with outdated designer themes and incorrect navigation. In their “old age” they don’t look good, aren’t correct and have dead links. The final stage was the “undead” which you swore you deleted but kept showing up again.

The goal for the UNC LibGuides was to have the users view the library as reliable. If the content is wrong, the users lose faith. Consistency, timeliness, and accuracy were the key factors to accomplishing their goal.

On Thursday I worked a morning shift at the Registration Desk, checking in attendees. I was then able to attend the session, “Upstairs Downstairs: Reaching our Patrons and Staff” with April Everett from Rowan County. This session was marketed as presenting “low-cost, creative ideas for marketing”. Since that is just what the ZSR Marketing Committee needs, I attended.

April emphasized that you need to know your market and discover what their specifics needs/interests are. The next step is to put inexpensive promotional material (webpage, Facebook, flyer, pamphlet, bookmark, community calendar) into the “hands of influencers” that can pass on the information. Immediately after an event she suggested that promotional material be taken down so your target market trusts your information.

That afternoon at the Ogilvie Lecture, ALA President, Barbara Stripling spoke about her initiative regarding the Declaration for the Right to Libraries document. She outlined the motivating factors behind each of the statements and encouraged participation in signing and supporting the Declaration.

Friday morning I attended another marketing session presented by Nancy Dowd, the author of the book “Bite-Sized Marketing: Realistic Solutions for the Over-Worked Librarian”, and Pam Jaskot, a Library Consultant.

Some suggestions from this session:

  • Think about your audience – “If you try to market to everyone, you market to no one.”
  • Messaging – Use key values of your audience to craft your message. (use “winning” when targeting athletes, etc.)
  • Communication Plan – For this audience, what is most effective? (social media, newspaper article with pictures, targeted newsletter)
  • Communication Blueprint – grid format showing what communication medium was used for which program. Do this before and after a program and use it for evaluation of the effectiveness of your marketing
  • Partnerships – Go outside your own audience to reach people that don’t come into your library or read your marketing material
  • Cross Promotion – Once someone comes in to your library, be sure they have the opportunity to learn what else they can find there.
  • Give away free stuff – This is where the presenters gave away promotional material for LibraryAware.com.

The last session I attended was, “Outreach to Faculty in the Digital Age” where academic librarians from UNC-G, GTCC, WSSU and Elon spoke about their personal experiences in supporting faculty which included:

  • Use of LibGuides and screenshots to communicate services and features to faculty
  • Attending meetings to raise awareness of library’s services
  • Understanding and supporting instructional needs of the faculty
  • Awareness of the format of courses to see how the library can fit in.
  • Identifying key, required courses to reach maximum number of students.

I hope to be able to put some of this information to use on the Marketing Committee and beyond. It was great to have the opportunity to attend.