Reeling in your users: marketing an academic library
Marketing program’s public relations class decided to take the library on as their project for the semester. Chose team within the library to spearhead the initiative. Wanted people that were interested, had an outgoing personality, that can work well together, and had a variety of skills. Formed marketing committee.
Chose specific goal for the year, rather than an overreaching project. Goal was to create an awareness campaign of library services targeted at first-year students and new faculty. Concordia has a 4-day orientation program; library wondered if there was something the library could do. Didn’t want to just go in and talk to them. Students listen to their peers; college has upperclassmen as mentors. Asked the mentors to give the freshmen a tour of the library and reminded them to take it seriously. Gave the mentors ideas of what to talk about, but also asked them to make it personal. General introductory tour. Reference librarians at the end of the tour give the students a booklet and a pen.
Do a lot of teaching in the first year program. For new faculty, spoke during orientation, and also gave each new faculty member $500 to spend in the library on new books for the collection. Some took advantage, some did not.
Handed out cameras and asked to look at the library with new eyes, and show problem areas. (Showed some of the photos, with before and after.) Sign at reference desk, “Please Disturb!”
Creating a Brand
Worked with public relations class, who came up with a few logos. Didn’t choose logos, but started them thinking. Went back to library and looked at space; have a mural created by David Hetland. Part of the mural includes books; that panel has become the library’s brand. Decided wanted to use more of the mural, so had photos taken and now use photos in their publications. Brochures, bookmarks, library guidebook, posters, computer wallpaper. The computer wallpaper is rotated monthly, so students are regularly seeing something new.
Have a library newsletter, tip cards, READ posters, College archives bulletin board, created video.
To draw in more users, made an effort to plan an event every month for the library. Have invited a few authors to speak in the library and to different classes. “Pay it forward” campaign – State Bank and Trust gave each employee $1000 to use in any way to benefit the community. The library was given money to buy items for the collection. Wanted to continue the “paying it forward” concept; chose family whose little girl had been in an accident and needed money for expenses. The library did a fund-raiser using student artwork – patrons would vote with money for their favorite piece of art. It was wildly popular. People sent money from all over the country. Had hoped to raise $1000. Raised $1700.
This year, the money will be raised for a college student that was in a traffic accident, and is recovering. The library has contacted the family about having the “pay it forward” fundraiser for her. (What a cool idea is that???)
Many interesting events held at the library, through various departments – poetry, speech, pottery.
Still struggle with the best way to communication with students and faculty.