Monday, August 17, 2009

the need to know more.

A recent library school grad entering the field as a true librarian for the first time, I was surprised to find that many of my friends and colleagues outside the profession were uninformed or undereducated about the public library model in general. Few know how the public library is funded. Even regular online shoppers have never searched for or reserved a book online from their local library. My peers - highly educated young professionals who are beginning to vote regularly and participate in their local politics - know surprisingly little about the public library. A friend and recent MBA graduate once asked me how much the public library charged for its book borrowing privileges.

Though a so-called "information" field, we are failing to close a critical information gap. True, we compete in an increasingly information-overloaded society where it's not always easy to reach and leave a lasting impression on our target audiences. But by failing to do so and, in some cases, failing to try we have put the future of the public library in jeopardy. "Promotion" as a tax-supported library budget item is still under scrutiny. We must work to change this perception and in some cases, policy. If it is acceptable to spend money to provide a service to the public, it should be equally acceptable to market that service in order to improve the return on investment.

As I bookmark articles and bend my husband's ear about the need for better marketing of the public library, I find that I have a need to share my thoughts and findings on the topic.

My experience with my nonprofessional blog, Where You Hang Your Hat, make this blog the obvious solution. I've decided to devote just a bit more time to blogging to create a space for readers interested in the increasing importance and acceptance of marketing the public library. Through this blog, I hope to learn more about marketing for public libraries, including the challenges, best practices, and innovations. I also hope to meet like-minded library professionals and members of other industries. I welcome and encourage your comments!

Thank you for joining me!
About Me:
I received my Bachelor's degree in English from Indiana University in 2005. I worked as a writer in Los Angeles before returning to Indiana University to obtain my Master of Library Science degree from the School of Library and Information Science. I graduated in December of 2008 and have since worked as an adult services librarian and currently as the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA)* Grant Consultant for the Indiana State Library*. I coordinate and oversee statewide LSTA projects and initiatives and consult with libraries regarding LSTA programs, applications, and grant writing.

My special interests in the library field include library communications and promotion, public library management, public library service to adults, information privacy, young adult literature, and grant writing.
*The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), a section of the Museum and Library Services Act of 2003, promotes access to information resources provided by all types of libraries. Through the legislation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services provides funds to state library administrative agencies, such as the Indiana State Library. To help meet the goals and objectives outlined in our five-year plan, the Indiana State Library offers libraries in the State of Indiana the opportunity to apply for grants that meet their own individual needs and the overall objectives of LSTA funds.
*The opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana State Library.

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