Monday, December 21, 2009

Summer Reading Promotion Sparks Interest of Local Businesses

Each December the North Carolina Public Library Directors Association hosts an awards presentation at their annual banquet recognizing both libraries and individuals. Libraries receive awards for programming, promotions, service, staff development and new or improved facilities. I attended this year's banquet and was so impressed with the many creative ideas. Thought I'd highlight one which can easily be replicated and is such a great way to involve the business community in your library.

The staff at Mauney Memorial Library was looking for ways to involve downtown businesses and demonstrate the amount of foot traffic library activities can generate. Their concept is simple, easy to replicate and inexpensive. For their summer reading program downtown partners were selected and agreed to host the mascot for one week during the six weeks of the summer reading program. The library mascot, Bobbie the Butterfly, was positioned at a different business each week. Each week a new riddle was posted in the library. The riddle is solved by identifying the business that Bobbie was visiting. When children, moms and dads visit the business they are awarded a reading buck. The reading buck can be spent at the Summer Reading Store at the library.

The program increased door traffic for each business partner and was an easy way for the library to demonstrate their community involvement. This can be easily replicated in libraries and communities of all sizes.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Holidays at Your Library

A busy time for all, but it might be a good time to try a few creative things in your library to entice new customers. I've seen some interesting promotional ideas recently that tie to the holidays. Here are just a few ideas - if you have others, please share.

  • Special book displays about holidays in other countries.
  • Favorite recipes from the staff - tied to a display of cookbooks.
  • Special hours for students studying for exams, offering refreshments.
  • Holiday gift ideas - books that make great presents
  • Teens having a virtual holiday celebration - sharing ideas of what to do over the holiday, tie in to the library's facebook page
  • Highlight travel books for those travelling over the holidays
  • Information on databases that provide consumer reviews for gift buying
  • Suggested books for parents to share with their children
  • Highlight the PBS series on NC LIVE - great for watching over the holidays.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Customer Service in the Retail World

I had an interesting conversation with a friend this weekend who works for Coldwater Creek. She was sharing some of their policies on customer service. I found it very interesting to hear how they focus on "touchpoints" - touching each customer. No not physically, but making a connection with everyone who comes in their store. Employees are assigned certain areas of the store and when someone is in their section they make sure to make a connection. I was thinking how effective that could be in our libraries. I picture staff having certain areas and roaming, connecting with customers in their area. I'm sure many do this and if you do I'd love to hear about it. I remember while at ALA a few years ago and we visited libraries that had pods instead of large reference desks. The pod allowed the customer and staff to work together in close proximity.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Swap and Chat at NCLA

Swap and Chat was great fun at NCLA. Special thanks to all the libraries who shared their pr materials. I spent time video taping participants who shared some of the good ideas they picked up while browsing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

NCLA Conference

Currently attending the North Carolina Library Association conference in Greenville. Today was a busy day - starting out with our morning session with Keith Michael Fiels, ALA Executive Director. Keith shared his thoughts about the future of libraries. I loved his comment," if we predict the future we can create the future." So let's make positive predictions! And of course what I liked was his focus on the importance of increasing public awareness for libraries. Following along the same lines, David Singleton, Director of Customer Experience at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, spoke in the afternoon about the challenging times facing our libraries, emphasing the importance of communication not only to our customers, but also our staff. David shared the following quote, "during challenging times, make asset scarcity a source of innovation, not enervation." by John Ulmschneider.
Tomorrow I plan to continue collecting video clips of great pr ideas from out participants at the Swap and Chat - so watch for more postings.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dewey or Do We Not?

I just returned from the Association of Rural and Small Libraries Annual Conference ( in Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg's new library, the Anna Porter Public Library, is a beautiful building on the outskirts of town and is the pride of all residents. Kenton Temple, Director, hosted a preconference and shared the Gatlinburg Story. It was fascinating how they involved the community to raise funds to build this new library. Another interesting fact is that their library arranges their nonfiction like a bookstore - not by dewey numbers. They still use the dewey classification, but the nonfiction is arranged by topic - ie: health, money matter, self help, etc. It's an interesting concept and one that is working very well for them - the community loves it! Included in their catalog is an extra column that lists the location of the book by topic.
Check out the library's website for more information.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Promotional Video

I was thinking about our new category in the Best of Show this year - videos. This one from the Colingswood Library is fabulous - funny, creative, promotional! What a great way to advertise a fundraiser. Check it out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fictional Interview - Great Way to Market

Steve McKinzie, Library Director at Catawba College, shared an interview recently posted in Against the Grain. It was a fictional interview. The names of the library, its director, the issues involved, and the project are real and accurate, but the interview itself never actually happened. Steve actually wrote the questions and the answers as a way to highlight and explain the Catawba Library renovation experience. This could be a great way to highlight a new service or program at your library. Here's the link if you'd like to check out the interview.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Clunkers for Cash

Today I was thinking about the Clunkers for Cash project. Might this be a great time for libraries to publicize their online resources - ones that help folks select what car to buy. The newspaper might even write up a story. Just a thought for a very hot day here in NC.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Place for Great Ideas!

Swap and Chat once again returns to NCLA. Tables will be set up in the exhibit hall giving conference participants an opportunity to view publicity materials and share ideas with their colleagues. All types of libraries are encouraged to submit samples of their public relations materials for swapping - the more participation the better the swap.

Be sure to enter the Swap and Chat Best of Show. Submit your favorite publicity promotional piece in any of the following categories: annual reports, bibliographies, booklists, calendars, fundraising materials, general brochures, newsletters, program and event materials, web site promotional materials and this year's new category promotional video. The video entry must be submitted on a flash drive. Judges will select winners based on content, originality, design, format and effectiveness. I've attached a file with some of last year's winners. Thought you might enjoy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Show Your Support |

You might find this interesting. A new campaign by OCLC on developing support for public libraries. The fact section could be really helpful in developing key messages.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Libraries on The Today Show

If you didn't catch this segment on the Today show - check it out. Fabulous. Of course it tells a story that we all know, but it's great to see others understand the necessity of libraries in today's world.
Libraries lend a hand in tough times
June 11: In this recession, public libraries are seeing an increase in traffic and playing a new role in helping people find work. NBC’s Peter Alexander reports.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Branford Marsalis Promotes Summer Reading

Thought everyone might enjoy our summer reading promotional video with Branford Marsalis. He was so gracious and enthusiastic during our filming, even though he had just returned from a very strenuous tour in California. WTVD, a local tv station, and UNC-TV, public television have both agreed to air the psa throughout the summer. The children in the video have parents who work in our Department.
Check it out:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Very Cool Annual Report

I know everyone is always on the lookout for new ways to create their annual report. In North Carolina I've seen some wonderful formats and presentations. I remember Greensboro public library's a few years ago developed notepads with a fact about the library on each note pad sheet. Cumberland County had plastic bags with library information printed on the outside. I came across this idea which I think is fantastic and very innovative. The Columbus Library presented their 2008 annual report in a very unique way. Check it out.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Promoting Your Library - Free & Easy Tips

With staff shortages and increased demands from library customers I've heard many library staff say, "we just don't have time to promote our library." So thought I might share these free, easy promotion tips - that don't take much time or money.

  • Use "sound bites" on your voicemail or e-mail signatures
  • Promote positive testimonials
  • Encourage letters to the editor
  • Distribute Library pr in unlikely places
  • Invite community leaders to library programs
  • Piggyback on other groups' communications
  • Encourage strategic Word of Mouth in your library
  • Supply talking points to staff that work with the public
  • Use targeted emails to promote library programs and services

Monday, April 6, 2009

"Friend" Raising

Recently Paula Calabrese, consultant, shared her thoughts on Friend Raising. There are some great ideas for your Friends, not only for fundraising, but also for improving your marketing efforts. I've listed a few of my favorites.

DESIGN A DECK OF PLAYING CARDS: Create a deck of playing cards on a particular theme: history of your town,great literature, local officials, library trivia, Pennsylvania writers, children’s’ authors or something similar andobtain a customized deck of playing cards to sell.

JUST DESSERTS: Work with a local bakery to provide a smorgasbord of desserts and offer a “borrow a book andreceive a dessert” to eat while you’re enjoying your book. Food for the mind and the body.

M&Ms: No one can resist M&Ms. So get them customized with your library or friends’ logo and sell them topatrons.

TRIVIA NIGHT: Obtain donated prizes for winners and then invite players to pay to play. Select a theme for the evening’s questions such as Elvisology or Presidential Trivia depending on the season.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

National Library Week - Online Tools

Getting ready for National Library Week - make sure to check out ALA's free online tools at The tools include a proclamation, sample press releases, scripts for radio public service announcements, and downloadable posters. There's a great poster of Jamie Lee Curtis, this year's spokesperson. This year's theme, "Worlds connect @ your library" gives you a great opportunity for all sorts of programming.
If you have programs you're planning - please share!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Learning from Starbucks

Starbucks asked for advice! In order to get a better handle on consumer feedback, Starbucks used social media to start "My Starbucks Idea." The site allows users to submit suggestions to be voted on by Starbucks consumers, and the most poular suggestions are highlighted and reviewed. Starbucks then added an "ideas and action" blog that gives updates to consumers on the status of changes suggested. Wouldn't this be a great thing for our libraries. Ask users for suggestions for the library and then share with them how we responded. Academic and community colleges could put it up on the student pages, public libraries could post it on their website. I love the fact that they follow up with the updates for consumers. How often do we forget to tell our customers what we are doing in response to their requests?

check out the "Starbucks Idea" at

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Teens Involved

Thought you might enjoy this creative way to attract teens to the library. The Bethlehem Public Library is hosting their second annual teen film fest. I looked at some of the entries from last year - some very creative projects. The one to the right is called "Wait Room". What a great way to attract teens to your library. At Bethlehem Public Library their contest is for teens in grades 6-12 to enter their original video productions for prizes. The categories are...! action, animation, comedy, documentary, promotional, short, and technical/experimental. Check out their guidelines at