Tough Times Make Tougher Libraries


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Presentation for the Iowa Small Libraries online conference in January 2010 covering strategies for libraries in difficult economic times: project management, project assessment, marketing strategies, and free web tools & software to save libraries money.

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Tough Times Make Tougher Libraries

  1. 1. Tough Times Make Tougher Libraries Sarah Houghton-Jan Digital Futures Manager, San Jose Public Library Author of
  2. 2. Why doth the libraries cry?
  3. 3. What we can do right now 1) Find out user needs 2) Use free technologies to save money 3) Plan projects effectively 4) Assess projects thoughtfully 5) Market our services the right way
  4. 4. Find out user needs
  5. 6. <ul><li>“ Understanding local patron culture is essential to creating used and useful technology services.” - Char Booth </li></ul>
  6. 7. Taking the Ass out of Assumption (Char Booth):
  7. 8. Taking the Ass out of Assumption (Char Booth):
  8. 9. Listen to your users. It really is as simple as that. Plz?
  9. 10. Use free technologies to save money
  10. 11. Public & Staff Computer Software <ul><li>Operating System - Ubuntu </li></ul><ul><li>Email/Calendar - Google Calendar & Gmail </li></ul><ul><li>Web Browser - Firefox, Google Chrome </li></ul><ul><li>Financial Software - GNU Cash </li></ul><ul><li>Productivity Software - Open Office </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, desktop publishing, and calculator </li></ul></ul>
  11. 12. More... Public & Staff Computer Software <ul><li>Image Editing - GIMP </li></ul><ul><li>Typing Software - GNUTypist or TypeFaster Typing Tutor </li></ul><ul><li>CD writing - Brasero or InfraRecorder </li></ul><ul><li>Antivirus - AVG Antivirus </li></ul><ul><li>Ad-Busting - AdAware </li></ul><ul><li>Anti-Spyware - SpyBot, Spyware Guard, Spyware Blaster </li></ul>
  12. 13. Staff Scheduling Tools <ul><li>Droster </li></ul><ul><li>AceShift (<20 shifts/day)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>or even Open Office's “Calc” </li></ul>
  13. 14. Team Meeting Tools Voice – Skype, Google Voice Video – Skype, Sightspeed, Tokbox IM – AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, & others Meeting Space/Chat – Today's Meet Meeting Scheduling – When Is Good, Doodle Webcasts – Vyew
  14. 15. Tech Support Tools Embedded chat - Meebo chat widget Voice or video chat - Skype or Ekiga, Sightspeed, Tokbox Screencasts on the fly - Jing Discussion board - Google Groups Remote Support -
  15. 16. Audio & Video Tools <ul><li>Voice/Video Chat – Skype or Ekiga </li></ul><ul><li>Audio Recording/Editing – Audacity </li></ul><ul><li>Video Editing – Avidemux, DVDx, Lumiera, Kino </li></ul><ul><li>Video Hosting – YouTube,, Vimeo </li></ul><ul><li>Audio Hosting – OurMedia </li></ul>
  16. 17. eLearning Tools Screencasting – Screencast-o-matic, Jing, Wink, Camstudio, Online Learning Environment – Moodle Conference Calls – Webcasts – Class Websites – WordPress, Blogger, PBworks
  17. 18. 'Contact Us' Tools <ul><ul><li>Email – Gmail, Yahoo Mail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instant Messaging – AIM, GoogleTalk, Meebo </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chat Widgets – Meebo, Plugoo </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>VOIP/audio – Skype‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Video – some IM clients (AOL, Skype‏)‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text Messaging – AIMhack </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Networks – Facebook IM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter – “ask us a question with @...” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jing – screencast video on the fly </li></ul></ul>
  18. 19. Social Network Tools <ul><li> : check multiple networks </li></ul><ul><li>Open ID and ClaimID : claim and log into multiple networks </li></ul><ul><li>HootSuite : Twitter stats </li></ul><ul><li>,, and AtomKeep : simultaneous updates </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter/Facebook : settings/apps to update both </li></ul><ul><li>Filtrbox and MyBUZZmonitor : what people say </li></ul>
  19. 20. Website Tools <ul><li>Website recommender -, Evernote </li></ul><ul><li>ILS - Koha or Evergreen </li></ul><ul><li>Content Management System - Drupal </li></ul><ul><li>Flickr slideshow - Pictobrowser </li></ul><ul><li>RSS Feed and Blog Post Statistics - PostRank </li></ul><ul><li>Tag Clouds - TagCrowd, Wordle </li></ul><ul><li>Web Forms - Google Forms </li></ul><ul><li>CSS-picker - Typetester </li></ul>
  20. 21. Online Book Displays <ul><li>Westmont Public Library </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  21. 22. More Free Web Tools
  22. 24. Free eBooks <ul><li>Project Gutenberg </li></ul><ul><li>AudioBooksForFree </li></ul><ul><li>Escholarship </li></ul><ul><li>Google Books </li></ul><ul><li>ManyBooks </li></ul><ul><li>Memoware </li></ul><ul><li>Online Books Page </li></ul><ul><li>Oxford Text Archive </li></ul>& many more!
  23. 25. Free Articles <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>+ open access e-journals </li></ul><ul><li>+ free access through individual publication's websites </li></ul><ul><li>Why not add this stuff to your website, or even your catalog? </li></ul>
  24. 26. More Favorites <ul><li>RSS aggregator - Google Reader </li></ul><ul><li>Book Jackets - Book City Jackets </li></ul><ul><li>Open Source/CC Images - Wikipeda Commons, Flickr Image Search </li></ul><ul><li>Charts – LucidCharts, Lovely Charts, Gliffy </li></ul><ul><li>Text to Voice – Text2Speech, Google Voice </li></ul><ul><li>Citation Keeper – Zotero </li></ul><ul><li>Movies Online - Hulu </li></ul><ul><li>File Drop Sites - SendUIt, DropBox </li></ul>
  25. 27. Plan projects effectively
  26. 28. Quick & Dirty Project Planning Can add costs for staff time, explicit deliverables, breaking each step down further, listing who is responsible for what. Time and Money Completion Date (start date Sept. 15)‏ Research 10 hours, $0 September 22 Committee review 20 hours, $0 October 6 Software installation 10 hours, $35 October 13 Staff training 40 hours, $0 November 3
  27. 29. Sarah's Awesome 10 Step Project Plans <ul><li>1. Background </li></ul><ul><li>2. Aims & Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>3. Overall Approach </li></ul><ul><li>4. Project Outputs </li></ul><ul><li>5. Technology Requirements & Impact </li></ul><ul><li>6. Training </li></ul><ul><li>7. Project Management </li></ul><ul><li>8. Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>9. Budget </li></ul><ul><li>10. Evaluation Plan </li></ul>
  28. 30. But my project is huge and I need help managing the steps!
  29. 31. BaseCamp
  30. 32. Staff Training <ul><li>Part of training is information. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide staff exposure at least 1 month before soft launch </li></ul><ul><li>Offer staff formal training in that time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Play with it, touch it, and learn it. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Fun. Rewards. Food. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Types and numbers of trainings </li></ul></ul>
  31. 33. Getting Staff Buy-In <ul><li>Inform early and constantly. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for & use input. </li></ul><ul><li>Demand consistent managerial support. </li></ul>
  32. 34. Soft Launches <ul><li>Beta test everything! </li></ul><ul><li>1. Launch the new service for a small group of staff first (to find big bugs). </li></ul><ul><li>2. Launch for entire staff (and ask for feedback, problems, suggestions). </li></ul><ul><li>3. Launch for users (without “hard” promotion and ask for feedback). </li></ul><ul><li>4. Do a hard launch and promote. </li></ul>
  33. 35. Assess projects thoughtfully
  34. 36. Evaluating New Services <ul><li>Survey users and staff 6 months in: Would you recommend this service to a friend? Why or why not ? </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate the library's follow-through: Has adequate marketing and training been done? </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate statistics: How much staff time is being used?How much is the service used? </li></ul>
  35. 37. Project Evaluation Plan
  36. 39. Results of Evaluation <ul><li>Continue service </li></ul><ul><li>or </li></ul><ul><li>Discontinue service </li></ul><ul><li>or </li></ul><ul><li>Extend pilot </li></ul><ul><li>and </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- change aspects of the service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- do more promotion or training </li></ul></ul>Discontinuing a service is not failing. Persisting in a failed effort is failing.
  37. 40. Market our services the right way
  38. 41. <ul><li>Marketing ≠ Bookmarks </li></ul>
  39. 42. Raising Awareness <ul><li>PR in our physical presence </li></ul><ul><li>PR in our online presence </li></ul>
  40. 43. F2F World Marketing Ideas <ul><li>Open communication & discussion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>in the library </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>outside the library </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Outreach to partners & community groups </li></ul><ul><li>Word of mouth </li></ul><ul><li>Dynamic physical marketing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>LCD screens in-library or in the community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flyers, posters, geocaching in the community </li></ul></ul>
  41. 44. Online Marketing Ideas <ul><li>Library website promotions – large, graphic </li></ul><ul><li>Have a good URL </li></ul><ul><li>Updates & flyers on Facebook, Twitter, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Short promotions on receipt printers, email alerts, newsletters, catalog, banner, everywhere! </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure search engine findability </li></ul><ul><li>Events websites (Eventful, Going, Upcoming)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Get links from partners </li></ul>
  42. 45. $10 = 5000 Facebook Flyers to targeted audiences Facebook Flyer image by Steve Lawson: CHEAP ADVERTISING!!!
  43. 47. Rejoice in failures... for failing indicates that you have encountered a boundary that needs testing.
  44. 48. Questions? <ul><li>Sarah Houghton-Jan </li></ul><ul><li>web: </li></ul><ul><li>email: </li></ul><ul><li>IM: LibrarianInBlack </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: </li></ul><ul><li>Skype: LibrairanInBlack </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook: </li></ul>