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Marketing in the Library and Beyond

Marketing in the Library and Beyond



Presentation given at PNLA 2011 Conference. Presentation covers marketing techniques and tips as done at Sonoma State University Library. Tools covered include: mashups, timelines, QR codes,

Presentation given at PNLA 2011 Conference. Presentation covers marketing techniques and tips as done at Sonoma State University Library. Tools covered include: mashups, timelines, QR codes,



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  • My name is Joe Marquez. I am the Web Services Librarian at Sonoma State University Library. My topic is about marketing library services and how we market our services and program at the SSU Library.
  • Marketing definition from the American Marketing Association. Marketing is the process by which library’s can leverage their own strengths to demonstrate to their patrons and surrounding communities their worth and value to the community.
  • Libraries sell the physical and the cultural. We provide a place for patrons to come to and use the “library as place” but also a place with services geared towards the community. Library’s are user-centered.
  • We market our resources to demonstrate our value. The key is that we constantly demonstrate our worth because what we offer is constantly evolving to meet growing patronage and a greater need for community-centered organizations like the library.
  • 4 areas to focus are: “Library as Place” – the physical environment. “Services” – reference, circulation, story time, events. “Collections” – what we have. “Community” – the key to why we do the things we do.
  • Some tools we use to communicate and advertise ourselves includes web 2.0 software, mashups & timelines, Library Homepage, a mobile website, google calendar, and QR codes. All serve a different purpose. They are all tools, but in the end by using them we are getting the word out on what the Library can do and how it can better serve its patrons.
  • Our Facebook and Twitter feeds have 300 followers.
  • By contrast, a free range rooster that used to live on campus has nearly 5 times as many followers! The rooster met with an accident via a raptor. The students had become attached to the bird and actually wanted to rename the mascot in its honor. What this shows me is that our students want to use facebook and twitter with their friends and not the library. This is fine. Not all tools work the same for similar environments.
  • Recently a coworker discovered this little fox living on campus. It is only time before the students find it, begin to feed it and will want to drop the Sea Wolf mascot for Foxes or something similar.
  • Your archives or history desk are very powerful places. Both touch at the heart of what is community. The thing is we know what we have but the public doesn’t unless we show them. Mashups and Timelines touch the community at a very personal level.
  • Mashup created to link topo and geologic maps from the 6 service counties to their physical location using a Google Map. Originally for the geology department, the project is also used by some Cal DOT folks and local community. Mashup was created using a simple blog entry that reviews each step. All references are at the end of the presentation.
  • The Sonoma County History Timeline project was funded by a mini-grant received in Dec of 2010. The grant funded the research of history points by History grad students. He end product combines Sonoma County history on the map where events happened, in a timeline form to understand the sequence of local history as well as combining resources we have in our Archives and Special Collections collection. A tool like this highlights the various resources we have and is good for getting the local community interested in the Library.
  • The Library website, specifically the homepage, is the best place to market Library resources. No brainer, right? But, if you look around at some sites, they are just links. How does a link make a connection with anyone? We need graphics and other visual elements that stimulate patron curiosity. The website is the only part of the library open 24/7. It is as important a front door as the physical one to the building.
  • When I arrived the library’s website lacked uniform branding, no visual end of the page, no real eye-catching graphics, and no real place for marketing elements. The homepage is more than just an entry way to the catalog. It is a marketing tool waiting to happen.
  • With the current site, I reviewed all software packages and determined a strict method for branding the look and feel of the site (see top banner). From there, I focused on making the page dynamic with PHP coding. Adding elements like the slideshow to highlight collections, events, services and anything else new to the library. I also wanted to connect with faculty and staff on campus and added the In Focus section.
  • The purpose of the slideshow was to be able to highlight services, collections, events, gallery exhibits, student help, and anything new. By having a dedicated area for the slideshow to exist, we don’t need to alter the homepage to make an update.
  • Another place we added the slideshow to was the Regional & Special Collections landing page. The size of the graphics are the same so we can reuse slide graphics for either the main homepage or the regional homepage.
  • The In Focus section allows us to personalize our patrons. We focus only on faculty and staff, no students. People love to be asked to be on the library’s homepage. It makes a connection. One staff member said he can’t go anywhere on campus without being recognized as a result.
  • Mobile website. Our numbers are still small on usage but it is getting used. The main purpose is for quick reference like hours and basic services. We do provide mobile links to databases. I also made a website rather than an app based on usage statistics. If we see a big jump in usage, I will consider creating an app. The site works across all smartphones and was relatively easy to code.
  • QR codes are everywhere. This little square is essentially a 2D bar code. Its strength lies in its ability to get information to your phone or QR code reader without typing.
  • This is a screenshot of our catalog for the book The Sea-Wolf by Jack London. Our QR codes in the catalog capture the title, author, call number, location, and availability.
  • We also use the QR codes in the stacks at potential points of reference. The idea came one day when I had two different students ask how to find books in the stacks during the same reference shift. The QR links to a basic how-to instruction page on finding books in the stacks. Eventually, it may link to a video.
  • Other possible ideas on where to place QR codes with simple point of reference information: on floor maps that link to the webpage maps, at the copiers for “how to create a double-sided copy”, or on signage that contains links. Another possibility would be to our new computer availability script we are rolling out this fall semester.
  • Our how to portion of the presentation. We are going to create a QR code and link it to a website.

Marketing in the Library and Beyond Marketing in the Library and Beyond Presentation Transcript

  • Marketing in the library and beyonDJoe Marquez, MLISSonoma State University Library
  • Marketing of the Library
    mar-ket-ingˈmär-kə-tiŋ n.
    Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
    —American Marketing Association website
  • What are we selling?
    Access to information in a friendly environment
    Books, DVDs, CDs, place, librarians/staff, computing, databases, journals, newspapers, lectures, workshops, galleries, archives, children’s story time
    A sense of place. A part of the community. Service to the community.
  • How & why do we market our services?
    Demonstrate our worth, especially in economic times like these
    Play on patron interests, key library collections, and focus on the local community
    The tools focused on in this discussion demonstrate how the library has evolved
  • Where to Start?
    Library as Place
  • What tools do we use?
    Web 2.0 (Twitter & Facebook)
    Mashups & Timeline
    Library Homepage (slideshow, In Focus)
    Mobile website
    Google Calendar
    QR Codes
  • Web 2.0: Twitter and Facebook
  • Rodney the Rooster
    Rodney the Rooster was a stray bird that walked around campus. The students wanted to change the mascot from a Sea Wolf to a Fighting Cock. One day Rodney was eaten by a raptor.
  • Fox
  • Mashups & Timelines
    Your archives/special collections/history desk is marketing’s best friend
    People love seeing B/W photographs
    People love seeing what their town used to look like
  • Mashups & Timelines, cont.
    Make everyday items more useful by joining like items electronically
    Showing off the archival or special collections not only demonstrates the library’s value as a repository of physical items but also a holder of community memory
  • Mashup:Geologic and Topo maps
    • SSU covers 6 services counties (Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lake, Marin, Solano)
    • Mashup combined all topo maps for 6 counties and placed them in geographic context
    • Maps are now electronic and can be accessed from off-campus
    • Serves the geology dept AND the local community
  • Timeline: Sonoma County History
    • Created with funding from grant to show local history timeline
    • Images are from Archives
    • Created using MIT’s SIMILE Exhibit
    • Very little coding
    • Easy to update
    • Simple interactive tool to show history
  • The Library Website
    Best place to market the Library is on its own website – specifically the homepage
    The only part of the library that is open 24 hrs/day
    The only way to search the library’s collections
    The library website is the other front door and probably the one most often used
  • The Library Website: Homepage
    Previous Library website
    • no global navigation
    • no visible “end” to the page
    • html only
    • marketing elements below the fold
    • 7 software packages, lacking uniform branding
  • The Library Website: Homepage, cont.
    Current Library website
    • global navigation
    • page has a border
    • php
    • easy to update
    • visible marketing elements
    • outreach to campus and community
    • uniform branding
  • Slideshow: Homepage
    • Slideshow allows for ease of updating
    • Not necessary to alter homepage when updating
    • Slides are uniform in size
    • What do we display:
    • Events (lectures, workshops, music)
    • Gallery exhibits
    • Student help
    • Technology
    • Archives/Special Collections collection
  • Slideshow: Regional & Special Collections
    • Highlights Regional & Special Collections
    • Same size as homepage slideshow
    • Focus on various collections
    • Same widget as Library homepage
  • In Focus
    • In Focus allows us to connect the Library with our patrons
    • I will send out emails to faculty and staff to participate
    • People LOVE being on the homepage
    • Provides an opportunity to show the various faces on campus and learn about what people do (for work or research)
  • Mobile Website
  • Google Calendar
    • Google Calendar is free
    • Easy to update
    • Students now have google email accts and calendar can be integrated into their school calendars
    • The calendar works on the mobile site and is easily embedded
  • QR Codes
    QR codes are the latest and greatest technology that allows you tocapture data via a 2D code with a handheld device
    The data can be text, links, even contact information
    QR codes are appearing everywhere
    We currently use them in our catalog and in the stacks for point of reference
  • QR Codes: In The Catalog
    Our QR codes in the catalog provide the name, author, call number, location, and availability
  • QR Codes: In the Stacks
    QR codes in the stacks link to a webpage with basic how-to instructions on finding books in the stacks.
  • QR Codes: Where Else?
  • How to Create a QR Code
    Create your content (webpage, image, contact info)
    Go to a website like qrcode.kaywa.com
    Enter information in space provided
    Select size of QR code
    Click “Generate”
    Copy embed code into your webpage
  • Things to Keep in Mind
    Keep committees small and nimble
    Design with the user in mind – “Cool” can be fun, but always question whether or not it is appropriate for your library
    Don’t over saturate your library with a single technology
  • Wrap up
    Big question to ask in thinking about marketing the library:
    Can we afford it? And then, can we sustain it?
    Whenever possible, reuse technology across the website.
    We reuse slideshow and QR code technology
    And always assess to see how it worked
  • Resources
    How to create a mashup
    How to create a timeline
    How to create a 2.0 presence
    How to create a QR code
  • Contact
    Joe Marquez
    Web Services Librarian
    Sonoma State University
    Library: http://library.sonoma.edu
    Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/joughm/