Let's Get Serious: Promoting Library Online Services


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Lesley Williams, Evanston Public Library
ILA 2009 Annual Conference

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  • HCLIB Business plans results
  • We have to stop marketing as though we were running for student council president
  • Avoid the word “library”, brings up the “oh that’s sweet” children and book club response. Advantages: Teachers, clergy, local officials, health care workers may influence user behavior more than librarians Challenge: will they listen to us?
  • So many library homeschool resource pages DON”T highlight our magazine sources, children's encyclopedias children’s test prep materials Just mentioning the library isn’t enough; people will assume you just mean books Must stress that these are available free, online, from home
  • Let’s start attending and speaking at homeschool conferences! Museums, bookstores do
  • Avoid the word “library”, brings up the “oh that’s sweet” children and book club response. Advantages: Teachers, clergy, local officials, health care workers may influence user behavior more than librarians Challenge: will they listen to us?
  • Part of the Evanston Chamber of commerce packet to new businesses. Dallas Chamber article has section on libraries, hardly mentions databases. Directory of libraries doesn ’ t have their websites. Dallas Chamber has section on Business research. Where is the library?
  • Note I don’t use the word library,to avoid glaze over effect
  • Will focus on 4 state systems that market effectively and have seen their usage grow dramatically
  • 6,934,398 logins 16, 752,592 searches (Through 2/07)2,435,904 logins 4,109,606 searches
  • One of the few states to have a serious marketing plan. Convened in 2005
  • PROBLEMS: vendors who also sell directly to the public (RefUSA, Public Records) Encourage two -tiered approach: sell limited product to libraries, allow advertising of fuller featured one. Should promote the library as their “free sample” Vendors who only sell to libraries need to get on the ball. No different from book publishers, pharmaceuticals, videos, etc. they sell less than 1% of their products to individuals,so why don’t their websites lead people to libraries?
  • Public Records Periodicals: how often has a patron discovered a new periodical from using Infotrac or EBSCO? Vendors need to show publishers the value of being in a library index,not just agree to “protect” them from us Most vendors sell less than 1% of their products to individuals
  • Note that it doesn’t mention ProQuest, but would work with any product
  • If they can afford a $2 Superbowl ad they can afford to toss us some money for a few NPR ads Cut back on some of those mailings to libraries! Attend Chamber of commerce,governors, homeschoolers, real estate conventions!
  • ALA has the clout to get media attention more than individual libraries,or even state ones
  • One of the most useful, and under utilized advantages of a library card is access to online services.why doesn’t Ala seem to realize that? Maybe a FOLUSA project? Or local Friends?
  • We’re in fiji. The bulk of our promotional activities are in libraries, on library websites, in library publications, or the “library” ghettos of other publications. Ask yourself: what have you done to market your library online services to people who are NOT your customers?
  • Let's Get Serious: Promoting Library Online Services

    1. 1. Let’s Get Serious:Promoting Library Online Services Lesley Williams Head, Adult Public Services Evanston Public Library [email_address]
    2. 2. Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid <ul><li>Usage stats are down </li></ul><ul><li>Library budgets are threatened </li></ul><ul><li>There is competition everywhere </li></ul><ul><li>LET’S STOP FOOLING AROUND </li></ul>
    3. 3. Signs of the Times
    4. 4. The Problem… <ul><li>People STILL associate libraries with books and children, not with online services. </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians are NOT generally thought of as an online information source or info savvy. </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries (in general) lag behind the culture in using new media. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Strategy 1: Individual Libraries <ul><li>Make your online services findable </li></ul><ul><li>Make them easy to use and access </li></ul><ul><li>Blog them, stick them EVERYWHERE </li></ul>
    6. 7. Making it Simple <ul><li>Article search available on homepage </li></ul><ul><li>Patrons can search and view preliminary results before authenticating </li></ul>
    7. 8. Online Resources in OPAC
    8. 9. Cannibalize current events
    9. 10. Let’s Get Real <ul><li>Redesigning library websites only helps people who use library websites. </li></ul><ul><li>To sell our online services, we need to reach beyond our core audience. </li></ul>
    10. 11. Strategy 2: Schools, Homeschools and PTAs <ul><li>Do they link to your library resources? </li></ul>
    11. 16. Homeschoolers Online… <ul><li>Need online math and reading prep </li></ul><ul><li>Need reliable online reference books </li></ul><ul><li>Need magazines and newspapers </li></ul>
    12. 17. Where is the Library?
    13. 18. Will YOU Be There?
    14. 19. Strategy 3: Community Partners <ul><li>Chambers of Commerce </li></ul><ul><li>Hospitals </li></ul><ul><li>City Government </li></ul><ul><li>Religious groups </li></ul><ul><li>Realtors and Merchants Associations </li></ul><ul><li>Do they link to your library resources? </li></ul>
    15. 21. <ul><li>Local Merchant’s Association page links to the library online business resources </li></ul>
    16. 23. Strategy 3: Consortia and Systems <ul><li>Can get more bang for marketing buck, afford more advertising. </li></ul><ul><li>Easier to build awareness, put out a consistent message </li></ul><ul><li>Risk: if state system loses funding, all libraries could lose online services </li></ul>
    17. 24. Inspire.net <ul><li>Has a $200,000 annual marketing budget </li></ul><ul><li>Cable tv ads hit as many as 300,000 viewers per day </li></ul><ul><li>Does targeted marketing to businesses, college students </li></ul>
    18. 25. Easier Access <ul><li>IP address range: used in Connecticut and Indiana, and Ohio </li></ul><ul><li>Login with state ID or driver’s license: used in Michigan, Nebraska </li></ul><ul><li>Login with personalized password: used in Maine, Massachusetts, Indiana </li></ul>
    19. 26. Another Cautionary Tale… <ul><li>Great marketing campaign </li></ul><ul><li>High recognition </li></ul><ul><li>Easy access via IP and cookies </li></ul><ul><li>Usage down from 34.7 million searches in 2007 to 16 million in 2008 </li></ul>
    20. 27. This isn’t helping…
    21. 28. Neither is this…
    22. 29. Strategy 4: Vendors <ul><li>Why do they make these products so darn hard to use? </li></ul><ul><li>Why won’t they advertise to the public instead of to libraries? </li></ul><ul><li>LET VENDORS HEAR FROM US!! If we go down, they go down. </li></ul>
    23. 30. Ask Your Vendors… <ul><li>Do they have a mobile version? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they support social networking and Share options for blogs, Facebook? </li></ul><ul><li>Can users get to library content easily from the vendor website? </li></ul>
    24. 31. How End User Marketing Helps Vendors <ul><li>Library product promotes the individual subscription product. </li></ul><ul><li>Patrons will encourage libraries to subscribe to a worthwhile tool. </li></ul><ul><li>The less aware the public, the less support for spending on databases </li></ul>
    25. 32. Why support vendors that don’t support libraries?
    26. 33. We need current marketing support… <ul><li>Proquest’s Marketing Toolkit: nothing new in 2 years </li></ul>
    27. 34. How Does the Vendor’s Site Look to Patrons?
    28. 35. Is it Usable?
    29. 36. Are they trying to make it harder??
    30. 37. What about Mobile?
    31. 39. Facebook <ul><li>Is your vendor on Facebook? </li></ul><ul><li>Do the products have a share tool? </li></ul><ul><li>What about widgets? </li></ul>
    32. 40. Add search widgets to library or community blog or Facebook site
    33. 41. Database Content on Library Facebook page
    34. 42. Proquest’s Library PressDisplay
    35. 43. Easily post to blogs or Facebook
    36. 44. Are vendors on YouTube? With interesting content?
    37. 45. Go Overdrive! <ul><li>Fun, splashy, patron friendly websites </li></ul><ul><li>Active on Facebook and YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>Eye-catching public promotions </li></ul><ul><li>Working with Sony </li></ul>
    38. 46. Some Serious Press…
    39. 47. Search for books available at libraries in your zipcode
    40. 48. Digital Bookmobile on YouTube
    41. 49. The Digital Bookmobile on Facebook…
    42. 50. The LEAST Vendors Should Do… <ul><li>Have an easy to use website directing the public to their libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Stop using stupid product names </li></ul><ul><li>Offer mobile and social network apps </li></ul><ul><li>MARKET TO THE PUBLIC </li></ul>
    43. 51. Negotiating With Vendors <ul><li>Set shared goal for usage. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask about marketing assistance BEFORE signing a contract. </li></ul><ul><li>Be clear: you will cancel if usage remains low . </li></ul>
    44. 52. COUNTER Intuitive? <ul><li>See if your vendors are listed </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for COUNTER reports </li></ul>
    45. 54. Strategy 5:Libraries Nationwide <ul><li>What are ALA, PLA doing to promote library online services ? </li></ul><ul><li>LET ALA HEAR FROM US!! </li></ul>
    46. 55. Notice Anything Missing?
    47. 56. WebMD-$33.7 million in TV advertising
    48. 57. Great TV Ad From Calgary Public
    49. 58. Think Like a Travel Agent <ul><li>If you want people to visit Fiji, you DON’T advertise in Fiji. </li></ul>
    50. 59. Websites used… <ul><li>Evanston Public Library, www.epl.org </li></ul><ul><li>Skokie Library Business Portal, http://business.skokielibrary.info </li></ul><ul><li>Hennepin County Library, www.hclib.org </li></ul><ul><li>Illinois Home Education, www.illinoishomeeducation.org </li></ul><ul><li>“ eResources: Collection Development, Management, Analysis, and Marketing”, Sara Houghton-Jan, http://librarianinblack.typepad.com/librarianinblack/files/eResources-NSLS2008.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>Indiana’s www.Inspire.net </li></ul><ul><li>Connecticut’s Iconn.org and ICONN Market Survey </li></ul><ul><li> www.iconn.org/iConnMarketingSurveyReport.aspx </li></ul><ul><li>Proquest Marketing Toolkit, www.proquest.com/division/docs/HowTo.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>Gale’s widget page, http://access.gale.com/widgets/ </li></ul><ul><li>Overdrive Digital Bookmobile, www.digitalbookmobile.com </li></ul><ul><li>Calgary Public Library Marketing, blog.calgarypubliclibrary.com/blogs/marketing/ </li></ul>
    51. 60. Thanks!! Lesley Williams Evanston Public Library Evanston IL 60201 [email_address] 847-448-8646