Following the public’s lead: what public libraries do better than academic libraries
FOLLOWING THE PUBLIC’S LEAD What Public Libraries do Better than Academic Libraries IACRL Conference 2008 Chris Sweet Information Services Librarian Heartland Community College Aimee Dziekan Research Librarian State Farm Corporate Library and Information Center
The Wyoming Public Libraries’ new marketing campaign generated a lot of interest (and debate) among librarians. Most would agree that for libraries to stay relevant and viable, better marketing is needed. What can we do to market ourselves more aggressively?
-Go outside the library. -Put ads in the student paper. -Think about the big picture—word-of-mouth recommendations are still the most valuable. -Rethink budgets to include much more for marketing and advertising. -Smart use of social networking (evidence-based).
How is a bookmobile relevant to a college campus?
<ul><li>-Take your services to your users! </li></ul><ul><li>Southern Illinois University renovation and remote reference. </li></ul><ul><li>- Set up a booth at the coffee shop or Student Activities building. </li></ul><ul><li>-Set up branches/satellites away from the main library. Popular materials in the dorms, for example. </li></ul>
"Give 'em what they want" was — and still is —a guiding philosophy in many public libraries. Access to popular materials drives the success of most public libraries. Can this philosophy be applied in an academic setting?
-Collect for the "whole" person, not just the student aspect. -Audiobooks, videogames. -Again rethink collection budget allocations. - Possibly on a donation basis. -Use the New Book feature in Voyager. -Doing these things will help to bring bodies back into the physical library.
Who participated in their local public library‘s summer reading program as a child? Programming is absolutely essential to public libraries, why not us? Why aren't we doing more?
-It's not our job! That's Student Life's responsibility, not ours! With that attitude, we’re really missing the boat here. Work with student life—they'll usually be grateful for the ideas. To stay relevant to the students and the campus as a whole we have to do more programming. -Heartland Reads program -Again, bringing people back into the library which raises awareness and comfort level for coming back. -Can make the library seem like a more progressive place.
-Exhibits and displays. If not items from your collection, why not student or faculty art? -Poetry readings, theater groups -Possibly tie to curriculum, current events -Gaming…
How can academic libraries embrace the gaming culture?
-Gaming is foreign to most library staff members, so it is neglected or ignored. -It is not a fad that will go away. -Buy games! (Gets new users to the library, follows the give 'em what they want philosophy). -Buy gaming magazines (you can get subscriptions to all of them for less than the price of one science journal). -Big businesses are even looking to the gaming culture for advertising and talent.
My public library has a return drop box in the mall. It's like sooo convenient! How are you making your services more convenient?
-More drop boxes around campus. -Can you hand-deliver requested items to faculty and staff mailboxes? -Chat reference? Even better…text reference? -Remote reference.
Good public libraries focus on demographics and are careful to serve the full spectrum of patrons. How can we better serve our entire communities? What is our "entire community"?
- Alumni, children of students, spouses of students, Community Education students, vo-tech students. -Database subscriptions for alumni (U of I). -Library cards for children and spouses of students (w/o database access). -Buy children’s books, or take donations to build your collection.
Questions? Chris Sweet [email_address] Aimee Dziekan [email_address]