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Marketing your library – Instalment 9

Marketing library marketing: sharing your story with fellow librarians

The more you get into library marketing and see the impact a marketing programme can make, the more you have to offer other librarians who are just getting started in library marketing. Giving back to the profession in terms of what you've learned and experienced is one of the best "gifts" you can give your fellow librarians. You've been working hard over the past few months and you've learned a great deal. You are a seasoned library marketing veteran now. You've seen what worked and what didn't. You know what to watch out for and things to avoid. Looking back, you think to yourself "I wish someone had told me ...". Well, now is your chance to be the guru! There are all kinds of ways for you to share your newly found knowledge of library marketing with your colleagues.

Write it up!

We all have things to share and writing up our experiences is one of the easiest ways to pass on what we've learned. Think you can't get published? Well, I'm here to tell you you can. You don't have to write an in-depth research article with statistics and literature reviews. Not all articles have to be research articles. Lots of library journals and magazines like to publish case studies and "this is what we did, how we did it, and what happened" pieces. And don't forget about newsletters. Most library organizations and groups publish some sort of newsletter. Contact the editor and ask if you can submit something on marketing. Get your marketing story out there and encourage other librarians to get started. Lately, I've seen lots of calls for folks to write book chapters. Don't limit yourself to just one kind of publication. Be sure and take a look at Rachel Singer Gordon's "Publish, don't perish" column for inspiration and advice on getting published.

Shout it out!

Presenting at conferences and workshops is another excellent way to share your story. There are tons of conferences all over the world. Since I don't really like to travel, though, I generally go for the ones I can drive to easily. I love presenting at state and local conferences. They are cosy and more relaxed, plus you get to meet people that live and work close to you, which can help you create a nice marketing network. But don't limit yourself to conferences. Lots of library groups hold meetings that you could offer to speak to as well. Last year I spoke to a local university library at their fall in-service and we had a great time. If there is a library school nearby, find out if there are any classes that discuss marketing and offer to talk to a class. Let folks know you are willing to speak about library marketing. Even if your library's travel budgets are tight, you can still seek out opportunities to talk. And if you absolutely can't face public speaking, even though the more you do it the easier it gets, consider doing a poster session at a conference.

Build it!

Another way to share your story is to put it out on the internet for the whole world to see. Building a website with blurbs and pictures is an excellent way to show other librarians what you've done. Blogs and listservs are other ways to spread the word. You can start your own or be an active participant in established lists and blogs. The important thing is that you are encouraging other librarians to market libraries and librarians. If you are techie but lack the budget or virtual space to try these things, consider teaming up with an academic librarian. They usually have access to all kinds of information technologies.

More ideas

  • Form a library marketing users' group for your city, state, or region.
  • Use the "Buddy System" by finding another marketing librarian to write and present with you.
  • Form a round table or interest group within an already existing library organization.
  • Remember that sometimes sharing what didn't work is just as effective as sharing what did work.

Also take a look at Rachel Singer Gordon's "Beyond the job" blog where she compiles all kinds of opportunities to write, speak and network.