March 17th, 2017 Brian Herzog
One of the things I truly hate, hate, is clickbait. I find myself specifically not clicking on things that sound clickbaity, just because I feel insulted by something thinking I can be manipulated. (That'll teach 'em.)
Especially though when it is totally unnecessary. A recent Lifehacker article entitled "This Secret Trick Will Save You From Getting Lost In Central Park Forever" could have just as easily, and less annoyingly, been titled, "How To Use Central Park Lampposts To Avoid Getting Lost." I still would have clicked and read, and would have felt less dirty about it.
Of course these show up as links all over the internet, but I've also seen a trend on YouTube to name videos with clickbait titles too. One of the channels I used to watch, Wranglestar, has become terrible for this, and I've all but stopped watching him because of it. Recently though, he published a video explaining why he uses clickbait video titles. It was interesting, and the tl;dw version is that he found it to be the only way to make money on YouTube anymore: regular titles don't get clicked, which means videos don't get watched, which means no monetized ad revenues for him.
If it is that effective, maybe library ought to pay attention. So, just as a "funny thing to think about but I would never do for real" project, here are a few of our library programs re-titled as clickbait:
Now those would totally boost our attendance numbers.
May 27th, 2016 Brian Herzog
I mentioned this in passing at a meeting not too long ago, and it got enough interest that I thought it'd be worth posting here.
The meeting topic was library marketing, especially for programs. I mentioned that my library occasionally boosted Facebook posts to great success - and it seemed like no one else in the room had done this for their library.
Not that we're experts - above, "occasionally" means twice in the last three or so years. We've only done it for huge events (a major author coming to speak kind of events) where, with just about a week to go before the event, the number of tickets we'd given out was frightening low. We'd be scrambling trying to push awareness of the event however we could, and so we'd boost that post on Facebook too.
In general, our posts go out to an average of 400 people. That varies wildly, but that's probably a pretty good average. When we boosted the posts though, those would reach 5,000 people.
I think we allocated about $20 for the boosts, which we paid for on the library's credit card. Later, the Friends reimbursed us from the programming budget, since it was program advertising. We'd choose a new targeted audience by location, and just use Chelmsford's zip codes.
And our events were successful, so I'm inclined to say this was worth it. Tougher if your town only lets you pay for things by check, but still worth looking into because it isn't a whole lot of money and does seem to help us reach people on Facebook (although, I do hate having to play Facebook's game).
Does anyone else do this successfully, or regularly? Has it ever backfired on you? Please share your experiences in the comments. Thanks.
June 26th, 2014 Brian Herzog
Since I work mostly with adult reference and tech support, I've never done much with summer reading programs. But my library is doing two different things this year that seemed like fun, so I wanted to share.
For patrons, we're doing the Fizz Boom Read program for kids, and an interesting but somewhat complex Literary Elements subject bingo for adults. Which are fine, but it's two other programs we're running that I really think are neat.
First, our Childrens Room is making Fizz Boom Read more fun by adding a little raffle incentive. When kids bring in completed log books, they get a raffle ticket. They can then use their raffle tickets to win one of 24 "prize jars." The jars were put together by library staff, and range from a jar of Legos to beads to pennies to Starburst to race cars to stuffed animals - anything that kids might like and would fit in a jar:
At the end of the summer, a winning ticket will be pulled for each jar. I know prizes for summer reading are questionable, but I liked this because it's not exactly cutthroat head-to-head competition. Lots of reading is still rewarded with better odds, but the winners are still luck of the draw.
Secondly, our Head of Readers Services put together a "Celebrity Frankenstein" program just for staff. Out of magazine photos, she cut eyes, ears, noses, and mouths of celebrities - and then, for each book a staff person reads, they can build a celebrity Frankenstein face out of the parts:
Bizarre, but engaging - here are all the rules.
She hung a huge sheet up in the Circ office to track everyone's progress, because making it visual makes it much more fun:
And, because this is a staff program, we're also supposed to include notes about what we thought of the book on the back of our face. I think these notes are going to be used later on a "staff picks" display.
I know there are tons of ideas out there for summer reading programs, but I hadn't heard of either of these before. Anything that makes reading more fun is okay in my book.
December 3rd, 2011 Brian Herzog
This week's question made me laugh, and then made me think - and I wasn't the only one.
One of the programs going on at my library right now is something call the "Cultural Road Show." The idea behind it is to increase awareness of the museums and other cultural organizations in the community, by having one of them come to the library each month and give a program on their group/collection.
Essentially, get the museums to get a small exhibit "on the road" and bring it to the library (one nice side effect is that it also promotes our museum passes). We're using the bus image to reenforce the "road trip" theme, and also are scanning people's library cards as they enter (sort of like an EZPass going through a toll booth) which enters people into drawing for prizes from the museums.
Our Community/Programming Librarian has been doing a good job of organizing and promoting it, and the first few road shows have been pretty well-attended.
But this week, a patron walked up to the circulation desk and said:
I saw signs for this Cultural Road Show - what time does the bus get here, and do you have a schedule of all the places where we'll be stopping?
Of course, obvious and honest misunderstandings like this are humorous, mainly because this approach never even occurred to anyone on the staff - and we all had a good laugh.
But then we all thought, why not plan a road trip for patrons to actually visit museums? Just because the idea didn't originate with a staff person doesn't mean we can't do it. We need to look into the feasibility of that kind of program, but we all liked the sound of it.
It reminded me of Jessamyn's recent post about the trend in library programs to do new things - sometimes, the best way to come up with new ideas is to ask patrons.
April 28th, 2011 Brian Herzog
In case you missed the announcement on other sites, a new great way to stay involved in libraryland is LISEvents.
The site is easy to use, both for finding events by date or location (including online-only), and for finding someone to come speak at your library or event.
The best part is that it is community-driven, and adding events is easy - I just added a posting for the NELA-ITS workshop on mobile devices and libraries (also here).
And for anyone wanting to get their name out, be sure to register yourself as a speaker. This portion of the site will be a great resource for event planners, and anyone who has something to share.
Thanks Blake for putting this together - the library world perpetually benefits from the tools you maintain.
July 9th, 2009 Brian Herzog
Some interesting comments on my last post got me thinking about reading, and why we encourage kids to read.
I know reading is vital for learning and personal development. But beyond that, is reading just for the benefit of the reader?
I wonder: is reading without sharing the experience akin to amassing a tremendous fortune and doing nothing with it? Society tends to paint as "greedy" people who accumulate wealth just for the sake of having more money than they know what to do with. At the same time, we reward philanthropists with awe and gratitude for "giving back" and sharing their excess wealth to benefit society.
So, should reading programs not just encourage kids to total up the number of pages and hours spent reading (which can lead to competition), but to also be "knowledge philanthropists" and share what they've learned and experienced from reading (which might lead to collaboration)? Or would that intimidate kids away from reading at all?
I'm not a children's librarian or parent, so perhaps I'm just late to the party on this.