As the clock ticks down the days before the MLA annual conference in Bozeman, it’s time to get excited about Montana libraries, librarians, and marketing of libraries. So, this month’s PR Hint touches on all three important topics.
First-ever National Study: Millions of People Rely on Library Computers for Employment, Health, and Education
Nearly one-third of Americans age 14 or older – roughly 77 million people – used a public library computer or wireless network to access the Internet in the past year, according to a national report released today. In 2009, as the nation struggled through a recession, people relied on library technology to find work, apply for college, secure government benefits, learn about critical medical treatments, and connect with their communities. The report, Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries, is based on the first, large-scale study of who uses public computers and Internet access in public libraries, the ways library patrons use this free technology service, why they use it, and how it affects their lives. It was conducted by the University of Washington Information School (go Huskies!) and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Low-income adults are more likely to rely on the public library as their sole access to computers and the Internet than any other income group. Overall, 44 percent of people living below the federal poverty line used computers and the Internet at their public libraries.
Top 50 librarian blogs:
For the link to the Top 50 Librarian blogs click the link below:
What is library marketing all about? Learning from our successes and failures, honing campaigns to reach more people, and trying new venues. Try some of these ideas to strengthen your efforts in the library marketing arena:
- Use your logo on EVERYTHING to promote awareness.
- Look at your programs or services through the eyes of your patrons and clients. What is exciting or unique? Promote from that thought pattern.
- Create a LinkedIn account to establish yourself professionally.
- Read your local newspaper and once per quarter send an e-mail to a reporter complimenting him or her on a piece s/he wrote. Just like all of us, they don't hear enough positives.
- Join your local Chamber and attend at least one event per month. Become recognizable in your community.
- Offer to speak at local civic groups like Kiwanis, Rotary, Optimist, and others to get your message out and give back by educating your community.
- For each program, service, or event, try one new marketing effort.
- Sign up for a Twitter account and find five people to follow that inspire you. Start by checking the account every Tuesday and Thursday morning.
- Conduct a survey with your patrons and ask how they would like to receive information: e-mail, snail mail, advertising, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Use the feedback for your next campaign and see if it makes a difference.
- Have a social media lunch once per month. Meet with your co-workers, staff, and superiors to see what everyone is trying. What blogs are people following? Who are they following on Twitter? What are the tweens and teens talking about? Are any of these worthy of trying?
- Remove 'this is how we've always done it' from your vocabulary. Make a penalty jar for anyone who says it in your office.
Marketing is so much fun. It allows us to be limitless in our creativity, to reach new people, and to discover a program or service all over again. (Adapted courtesy of prtalk listserv)
See you at the annual MLA conference in Bozeman, where we’ll do a little library talkin’, marketing, and a lot of praising (well-deserved, of course) of librarians in Montana!
On behalf of the MLA PR & Marketing Committee
Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson
Legislative Attorney, MLIS