Marketing and Communications Librarians: An Exploration of Roles and Responsibilities
Marketing and Communications Librarians: An Exploration of Roles and Responsibilities Karen Okamoto Mark Aaron PolgerJohn Jay College College of Staten Island City University of New York City University of New York Kokamoto@jjay.cuny.edu MarkAaron.Polger@csi.cuny.edu
AgendaOur StudyWhy we did this studyDefining Key TermsOur institutionsLiterature ReviewPractical Examples of Library Marketing and CommunicationsOur QuestionnaireResults and Comments from RespondentsLimitations and Concluding Thoughts
What is our study about?Our study explores the roles of librarians whose major responsibilities includes:-Marketing-Communications-Outreach-Public Relations
Why this study?Given recent technological developments and trends (popularity of mobile devices, social networking tools, etc.), we wanted to explore how marketing librarians figure in these times.• How long have these positions existed?• Why were they created?• What do they do?• What are some of the challenges?
DefinitionsMarketing: Through creative and innovativestrategies, marketing involves matching the usersneeds with your resources and services. 4 PsPublic Relations: Various strategies implemented to ensure positive relations with your stakeholders.Communications: verbal or written strategies used to disseminate information, and sometimes persuade your users.Liaison: a contact person who bridges the "communication gap" between various departments within an organization.Outreach: Strategies of "reaching out" into the community to develop relationships with your users
Our institutionsCollege of Staten Island/ CUNY o 13,000 students across 200 acre campus o Comprehensive Senior College specializing in Nursing, Education, Social Work, and Business Administration. o Offers programs at the Bachelor, Master, and Doctorate level. o 1 main library with 15 librarians, 10 part time librarians and 85 library staff.
Our institutionsJohn Jay College of Criminal Justice / CUNY • senior college • 14, 000 students • criminal justice focus • 14 full-time librarians, 10 part-time librarians • more than 300,000 books, periodicals, and microforms • over 100 databases • over 36,000 electronic journals
Literature ReviewWhy market?• Identify user & non-user needs• Financial and political support• Present library services and products as indispensible Marshall, N.J. 2001. Public relations in academic libraries: A descriptive analysis. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 27(2): 116-21. Ojiambo, J.B. 1994. Application of marketing principles and techniques to libraries and information centres. Library Review 43(2):46-51.But were already marketing! • Marketing is part of the job (others disagree - marketing is a dirty word!)• Were marketing all the time Baird, C. 2008. Outing a Marketing and Communications Librarian. Access: The Official Publication of the Ontario Library Association: 20-21
Literature ReviewFormalizing it • focuses marketing efforts • makes goals and objectives clear • decide who is responsible Taylor, S. 2002. Public relations and the academic library. Public Services Quarterly 1:1-4Who should be responsible?• marketing team• marketing team lead by a marketing librarian• marketing librarian/marketing specialist• participation of all library staff Kumbar, R.D. 2004. The importance of marketing and total quality management in libraries. Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship. Vilelle, L. 2006. The best is yet to come. Technical Services Quarterly 24(2): 9-26.
Practical Examples of Library Marketing and Communications• Library Web Sites• Library Polls, Contests and Questionnaire• Library Newsletters• Mass email announcements• Mousepads, staplers, and pens• Brochures and posters• YouTube Videos• Facebook Fan Pages and Twitter Feeds• Digital Signage• Blogs and Podcasts• New Faculty Welcome Letter, workshops• Roving reference• Open house and orientations• High school student outreach• Author talks and events
Our QuestionnaireDistributed anonymous short questionnaire asking librarians the nature of their rolesas marketing and communications librarians.Garnered 74 respondents who identify as marketing and communications librarians.-Was their position newly created?-Do they hold an ALA-accredited MLIS degree?-Do they have a marketing background?-Asked about the % of time devoted to marketing and communications-Asked if they worked with the institutions marketing and communications department-Asked about their obstacles on the job
Selected Comments from RespondentsWe have slowly been increasing our outreach as the demands forit have increased over the past decade. More students and facultyare using the library virtually, making it more necessary to havestrong outreach programming to reach our audiences. I amchanging the focus of my job from running a center and doingoutreach (on the side) to focusing on outreach and overseeing thecenter as a much smaller part of my job. I take marketing very seriously because you have to reach out topeople where THEY are, not sit and wait for them to come toyou. It is also important to keep reaching out to the regulars tokeep everyone informed of all the wonderful things you have tooffer.
Selected Comments from Respondents[T]he library set up a committee of librarians from differentdepartments. Outreach was added to each job description. It isthe smallest part of my job description.My position was created in 2004[...] Because of the largeamount of turnover, we are turning outreach duties over to acommittee of librarians so that this position can be morethan a entry level spot.I often use the help of event-specific committees and theexpertise of graphic designers.
Selected Comments from RespondentsI provide outreach mainly to faculty to promote instruction. Iattend faculty meetings to speak about our programs [...] Weveincreased instruction by over 50% since just a couple of yearsago. Were forced to do our own PR/Marketing because of a lack ofoverall library system support, and university support. Wehave a marketing coordinator, and plans are in the works tocreate an events coordinator. We utilize two student interns forgraphic design work - they receive both pay and course credit fortheir work with us.
Selected Comments from RespondentsWe have done a lot of good marketing raising awareness of ourbrand. We have the only logo outside of the organization logo.We have won a National award for one of our marketing eventscalled Tuesday Morning Coffee @ the Library.I am a Distance and Off Campus Services Librarian. Marketingis an extremely important aspect of creating a vibe, a demandfor what we do. It is not tied to a title as "Marketing Librarian". Itis intrinsic to the job I do everyday
Results of Our Questionnaire• 84.9% do not have a marketing background (debates on its importance)
Factors that lead to the creation of the position• Need for a contact person (32.9%)• Need for a marketing plan (31.5%)• Library under-utilized (21.9%)• Trend to hired a marketing librarian (8.2%)• Self-initiated• Reach target group, promotion, formalize efforts, evolved, solo librarians, part of existing duties.
• time• money• lack of institutional support• little staff buy-in• resistance to change• bureaucratic barriers
Limitations of our Study-Our focus was academic librariesnot public or special libraries-Not a representative sample-Some librarians who marketdo not identify as marketing librarians-Some marketing and outreachprofessionals who do not holdMLIS degrees may have been missed-% of marketing activity could be different at different times of the year-Some library directors are responsible for marketing and they may not have responded to the questionnaire
Conclusion • signifies an interest in marketing • challenges exist • specialized librarian positions e.g. instructional design, first year experience, user experience, web servicesFuture studies • in-depth interviews with marketing librarians • analysis of marketing plans
Questions/ Comments?Karen Okamoto Mark Aaron Polgerkokamoto@jjay.cuny.edu MarkAaron.Polger@csi.cuny.edu