or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk


Swallow Safely Book Promotion

   June 16th, 2011 Brian Herzog

I feel bad that this post might not be library blog award quality, but it's been an extremely busy week - so please consider this a light interlude, and I'll get back to more practical posts next week.

The image below is a postcard promoting a book, sent to my director this week. I'd like to submit it here without comment, other than to link to the ForeWord review (cited on the postcard) which was itself an interesting read.

Swallow Safely promotional postcard

(click to biggify)

Okay, I have to make one comment: I never would have guessed there would exist a 180 page book about swallowing. Working in libraries is awesome, except it makes me sad that this book has to exist.



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CIL2011: Innovative Marketing Tools and Strategies

   March 21st, 2011 Brian Herzog

Stacy Bruss and Nancy Allmang, NIST LibrariansStacy Bruss & Nancy Allmang, Reference Librarians, NIST

To help publicize the library and our services, we decided to create podcasts and dynamic presentations.

 

Creating Podcasts
Our first attempt was an audio podcast, with a voiceover reading a script using rotating images to provide a visual, saved in mpg4 format. Had trouble finding license-free music on a PC (Mac has Garageband, which has usage music installed). We used Sourceforge, but found that audio podcasts are okay, but people prefer video.

Next, we decided to go with video podcast.

We went with a video production company, but it ended up costing $5,000 and took 7 months. Plus, it didn't end up being a nice, short, informative podcasts - the production company ended up making it long, dry, and boring.

So NIST bought their own camera, microphone, and Macbook. They also built a camera dolly out of a bookcart so the picture was steady. NIST librarians took a free class at an Apple Store to find out how to do it, and then did it.

Tips for creating video podcasts

  • it's easiest to do audio voiceovers later, so focus on filming video
  • instersperse still images to make it interesting
  • limit videos to about 1 minute
  • save in two formats: .mov streaming, .mp4 for downloading

 

Creating Dynamic Presentations

PPTplex - plugin for powerpoint 2007/10 to allow "zooming presentations" - allows you to easily create moving and dynamic presentations, and repeat words and images without making it look like you're repeating yourself. Another tool for zooming presentations is Prezi.com

Ways to use digital presentations

  • Use this to make static presentations dynamic
  • Conference posters online - make them static and text-heavy, and people with interest will read them
  • Digital display - LCD display uses graphics and colors and attracts more attention, so much better than an LED board
  • Use video in new employee orientation - videos can show more than pictures or words can convey

Optimal length to display a slide is 7 seconds - that is how long it takes for someone to walk by the NIST display. Time yours so it flips during someone's walk-by, so they see that it changes.

NIST staff researched available displays, and chose one that would support PowerPoint, so staff didn't have to learn new proprietary software

 

Ideas for the future

Integrating looping video (showing a screencast on how to do something, because people understand how to follow a mouse, and don't require sound)

Marketing the same information using all your marketing channel - not every patron is exposed to every channel This allows you to repurpose your content.
You should also repeat marketing messages, because people forget

Another fun way to make video presentations is using Xtra Normal - all you do is type a script, and it creates the video for you - it's attention-grabbing because it's fun, and makes the information more noticeable (it's easy and fun)



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Example of Direct Advertising

   January 26th, 2010 Brian Herzog

Guerilla Marketing book coverA patron asked for help finding books on Taoism, so we walked over to the Religion section. As we were flipping through the index of books in the 294's and 299.514, I noticed something odd - many of the books we picked up all had bookmarks in them.

It's not uncommon for people to leave bookmarks in library books. But in this case, all of the bookmarks were identical - they were all business cards for a local yoga studio. Interesting. After I finished helping the patron, I went to the 613.7's, and sure enough - all our yoga how-to books also had these business cards tucked in them.

I dislike businesses targeting patrons, and in fact it's against our library policies, but I did think this approach was clever (although I shudder to think whose business card would end up in the 613.96's).

It also reminded me of a library tactic I fail to use effectively: put promotional bookmarks in books. It's a great way to drive traffic to your subscription databases, online subject guides, special programs, or general announcements, but it's also tough to maintain.

But too, this book-based advertising could be used as a fundraiser for libraries. Local business could donate money to purchase books on a certain topic, and in exchange they'd get a label on the book saying it was donated by them. Libraries would be able to expand collections, and perhaps also charge these businesses a fee on top of that.

This last idea is of course a terrible one. But the one before that is legitimate, really. And for another interesting library/business idea, check out Brett's idea for "Amazon Libraries."



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We’re Off To The Library

   September 17th, 2009 Brian Herzog

My cousin saw the ad below in the Las Vegas airport:

offtothelibrary

I like seeing a library with a sense of humor, but it's also a smart place for them to advertise (and it's big, too: 5' x 7'). Good job, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.



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Positive Marketing

   July 28th, 2009 Brian Herzog

I feel bad following up yesterday's fun Library Day in the Life project with a sort-of negative post, but I found the image below on another library's website and it bothered me:

Never on Sunday

The information is important, but the headline and image are very off-putting - and this message is prominently displayed on the library's homepage, above the fold.

Marketing is important to me, 1) because information and image are vital to an organization, and 2) it is something libraries have complete control over. There must be a way to convey Sunday hours to patrons with a positive spin, or at least a neutral one. "Never on Sunday" is a song, but probably not everyone gets that. And the red circle-slash on a book image should just never appear on a library website.

I know this sort of thing gets abused in the business and political worlds, but marketing isn't lying - it's telling people what you want them to know, and why it's important they know it. Libraries are all about serving the public, so almost everything we do is marketing - and since we depend on public perception for our survival, it is important to get it right.



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Library as Selling Point

   March 10th, 2009 Brian Herzog

new england real estate teamI use a couple Google Alerts to try to keep on top of websites that mentioned the Chelmsford Library or just Chelmsford, MA in general.

I set these up in the hopes of connecting to people in the community, or people talking about Chelmsford. I thought if someone mentioned the town, a local event, or the library on their blog or website, I might be able to comment and contribute on behalf of the library (but it's also an interesting way to find out what's happening in town - example).

A recent alert led me to the website of the New England Real Estate Team where I saw, big as day right on the top of their website, a photo of the library. I was kind of surprised at first, but then I was happy that a realtor is using the library as a selling point for the town. It certainly is, and it's also a nice looking building.

I think this is great, and I wonder if it would be worth it to encourage other local businesses to use the library's image to promote their services or Chelmsford. It certainly wouldn't make sense for every business, but it's nice to know that at least one feels we're worth showing off.

Now they just need to link to our website, in addition to the local schools.



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