Friday, October 23, 2009

follow up to "discovery your library" post.

Getting Attention's list of the 13 most outstanding nonprofit taglines.

Three of my favorites:
International, Foreign Affairs & National Security:
Send a Net. Save a Life.
—Nothing But Nets
Short, punchy and laser-sharp, the Nothing But Nets tagline connects the action with the outcome. It’s inspirational in the simplicity of its message and its reason for existing. The kind of tagline nonprofits should model.

Religion & Spiritual Development:
Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.
—The people of The United Methodist Church
The work of religious organizations often operates on several planes at once — a challenge for any organization and its messaging. Here, The people of The United Methodist Church delivers a tagline trinity that supports its applied faith mission and is warm, enthusiastic and embracing.

A head for business. A heart for the world.
—SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise)
If an organization’s identity contains within it a distinct contrast between its key characteristics, that’s often good tagline material. Here, SIFE surprises with its crystal-clear tagline that not only conveys what’s unique about it but also capitalizes on the contrast between profit and compassion.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

favorite library websites.

Have you seen blogger David Lee King's work on the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library website? I think it's pretty great. What are your favorite library websites?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

don't have a website? you best get a blog.

I manage a blog for a state gov subcommittee of cultural institutions working to promote the census. If you're not already aware, the Census = money. For example, the amount of Library Services and Technology Act funds Indiana receives for library services is based on a population formula. So make sure your people know that their count matters. Also it's confidential and safe, blah blah blah. If you want more info, read the blog.
The other subcommittees apparently weren't jumping on the blog bandwagon and I don't blame them. The point of a subcommittee blog wasn't immediately clear to me. But one of our roles is to recruit other organizations willing to promote the Census. I found that recruiting and getting buy-in over e-mail (e-mail because this is low on everyone's priority list) was going to be difficult. Even straight-up communication was going to be tough. Because once I'd recruited an organization (thank you, friend!) I didn't know how to get them all the information they needed - that is, without an annotated list of 15 links that she was either going to ignore or kill me for.

Hence the blog.

If your group or whatever doesn't have a website, you damn well better get yourself a blog. And you best start categorizing your posts so it can be navigated at least a little like a website. Because people don't want information at any time other than when they want it. An e-mail that has to be filed away in an endless log of Outlook inbox folders is not awesome. A link to your blog is so much easier.

That's what I did. I scrapped my awful e-mail and threw together a (readymade) Wordpress blog. It's really kind of pretty. The posts are tagged by category. And what's most awesome about Wordpress (as I type on Blogger) is it has PAGES. These are permanent links at the top of the page that make the whole thing much more like a website. I put our most crucial info here.Yes, in a perfect world, we'd have an awesome wiki that everyone in the subcommittee would understand how to use and then make use of to share information. For now, it's enough that one of us has uploaded the resources we'll all need at some point and set up the blog to make the recruitment pitch for us. The blog isn't going to win any awards but it beats the hell out of an e-mail folder.

The next time you're working with a low-key or low-funds group of people/committee/community organization/campaign, consider throwing together a blog. They're designed to be user-friendly. Just because you can't put together a website doesn't mean you can't take advantages of having a central online presence for information sharing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

why are we marketing?

By all accounts, we are not having trouble getting people in the door.
photo by Marcel Oosterwijk

For example: "Public library use in the United States is growing. Circulation and visits to US libraries are increasing and a wide range of services, such as literacy classes, teen programs and public access computing are also experiencing strong demand." From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America.

That's a rather interesting situation when you think about the role of a library marketer. It turns out that my interest in public library marketing as advocacy (it seem like each of my posts ends up there) is just reflecting this. Branding is not so important to get our "numbers" up. It is important to help our users understand that the individual parts of the library that they love are part of a larger whole - X Public Library. When we really need them, we want our taxpayers to be able to remember the X Public Library brand, what it stands for, and all its wonderful parts.

"From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America"
OCLC Report

Dublin, Ohio

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

geeking the library.

Hmmm. More on the promotional toolkit/ready-made marketing front. From OCLC comes "geek the library" - "a community-based public awareness campaign designed to highlight the vital role of public libraries for individuals and communities, and raise awareness about the critical funding issues they face."

I first heard the term at the National Book Festival in D.C. this past weekend. Iowa's booth at the Pavillion of the States featured a lot of glossy print promo with the geek slogans. When I got back to work this week, , I received a press release over the inpublib listserv from the Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library (Indiana) that they have been chosen to participate in the pilot. This must mean that they're in they're second stage of the pilot. OCLC says that in early 2010 "OCLC will disseminate the awareness campaign materials and messages, along with information from the pilot campaigns, in order to support libraries across the country in their own community awareness efforts."
The awareness campaign was apparently supported by the 2008 OCLC report "From Awareness to Funding," which is on my reading shortlist now.

I'm excited that an Indiana library is participating; I hope we get lots of opportunities to see this program in action. Collaborative promotion is increasingly hot right now and libraries, with their limited budgets and yet penchant for sharing, might do really well with this.

Of course, there's the question whether this type of standard (i.e. not tailored) messaging is more powerful than our need to brand. Are marketing materials developed for mass use (like all the libraries in a state, for example, or all public libraries in the US) are powerful enough to overcome the fact that they don't incorporate an individual library's brand. Would my public library benefit from a Truth-type campaign or is it too general to mean anything for my users and our library funding?

I ask because I'm very interested in somewhat localized collaborative promotions, like the effort in Wyoming and Hawaii's current advocacy effort to save public libraries from closing. Maybe these are the happy medium between mass and localized awareness campaigns? Dunno.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

free banned books week promotional materials.

These Banned Book Week posters are pretty great, yes? Download these and more here.
PSA Scripts

(:10) ALA BBW Radio PSA - 10 sec.

Reading - it's good for you!
Celebrate YOUR freedom to read during Banned Books Week, September ____ to ____. For more information, visit

(:15) ALA BBW Radio PSA - 15 sec.

Free people read freely.
Celebrate Banned Books Week, September ___ to ___, with a visit to your local library or bookstore. For more information, visit

(:20) ALA BBW Radio PSA - 20 sec.

Catcher in the Rye . . . Of Mice and Men . . . Harry Potter . . .
What's your favorite book? Chances are good that someone has tried to ban it. Celebrate YOUR freedom to read during Banned Books Week, September ___ to ___. For more information, visit

(:20) ALA BBW Radio PSA - 20 sec.

Catcher in the Rye . . . Harry Potter . . . Captain Underpants . . .
Every year, there are hundreds of attempts to remove books from schools and libraries. Celebrate YOUR freedom to read and right to choose your book during Banned Books Week, September ___ to ___. For more information, visit

More resources! Letter to the Editor. Display ideas. Activity ideas. Film screening recommendations. Great job, ALA!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

free advocacy tools for young adult librarians.

Paging through the Summer 2009 issue of Young Adult Library Services:The Official Journal of the Young Adult Library Services Association, I came across these free advocacy tools for young adult services:

The YA Advocacy Plan Workbook
"Ready to advocate? Plan your approach using this downloadable workbook..."

The YALSA Advocacy Wiki
"An advocacy campaign can help ensure that all teens have access to great libraries! Why advocate? Because you are the voice for the teens! Help ensure that 100% of libraries have the staff, budget and resources needed to serve the nation's 42 million teens. YALSA has put together a member taskforce to help plan and implement the campaign."

Dipping Your Toe in the Advocacy Pool (PPT)
"This downloadable PowerPoint presentation, developed by YALSA, can be used as a presentation to colleagues or coworkers at library workshops or conferences."