Let's Get Serious: Promoting Library Online Services


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Why do libraries have so little success getting the public to use their online subscription products? Is this just a lost cause? Find out what librarians can do as individuals, and in partnership with vendors and regional associations to make library online content findable and appealing to the general public.

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  • Excellent presentation!
    One thing I would suggest is the incorporation of actual tours of the public library by key decision makers. They all have perceptions of public libraries. A hands on tour allows for experience with products and programs. Bring in community groups that partner with libraries to deliver services to tell how the library impacts them.
    Our experience in Alberta, with tours, has been increased funding for public libraries!!
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
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  • Power library 50 million searches Last year, the Library Access line item funded POWER Library, statewide reciprocal borrowing and the Interlibrary Delivery Service, and the Electronic Library Catalog line item funded the Access PA database, the Ask Here PA 24/7 virtual reference service, and the Access PA Millennium shared library management system used in 75 school and public libraries. TexShare 15,658,239 sessions, 38,680,075 searches 2007-2008 14,659,737 sessions, 47,377,944 searches 2006-2007 Together, these two line items totaled $11.1 million last year. Clearly, funding the merged Library Access programs at only $3 million will lead to greatly reduced services.
  • Simple url: http://business.skokielibrary.info Highlights all types of sources, can be linked to by chamber, busines groups etc.
  • Serials Solutions
  • HCLIB Business plans results
  • Just a word about what to call them where to put them: I need a black dress,not a Donna Karan, or a Betsey Johnson, or a Vera Wang
  • 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?
  • Links to public library databases are on the high school page
  • And on high school college prep page. Mention drop in college help service
  • 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
  • This page alas has not changed since last year.
  • Let’s start attending and speaking at homeschool conferences! Museums, bookstores do I did. Very little competition at exhbitis. Many activeinvolved parents who are used to having to jump through hoops to get to stuff A9 - Online Gems From Your Public Library - Lesley Williams Show your kids historic newspapers from the Civil War or the Civil Rights Movement. Start their research with high-quality science and history encyclopedias from Scholastic, Britannica and other respected educational publishers. Download e-books and e-audiobooks for toddlers or teens. All of this and more are FREE through your local public library website! Lesley Williams, Head of Adult Services for the Evanston Public Library, will demonstrate the wealth of safe, age-appropriate and reliable online resources available and free to anyone with a public library card.
  • Avoid the word “library”, brings up the “oh that’s sweet” children and book club response. Stop infantilizing libraries 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
  • Synagogue was going to buy an online subscription to EJ, rabbi knew about it from me, convinced them to put link on page instead. Still would be nice if there was one easy link for all residents, (authentication issue)
  • See Pennsylvania and Texas
  • Commercials promoting INSPIRE have begun airing in all 92 counties on Network Indiana, the Purdue University and Indiana University sports network, and during high school athletics programming. The radio messages urge listeners to go to INSPIRE and use Indiana’s free virtual library.
  • Ohio weblibrary has a Facebook app!
  • One of the few states to have a serious marketing plan. Convened in 2005
  • Why do we put up with this? Can’t even publish th elogin?! 6 of the vendors I couldn’t evenlogin. Let’s promote Gale, the only major bendore that does NOT require any additional login, and has asimple url
  • 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?
  • “ Authorized users” Generally, our approach has been to strike out phrases such as "Library Cardholders," "Registered Users," "Home Users," etc. and replace them with "Authorized Users". Most vendors have not challenged the phrase substitution or pinned us down for a precise definition of what the phrase encompasses. I have, though, seen one or two contracts in which the vendors (and their attorneys) have included a glossary of terms. In these cases, their fleshed-out definition of "Authorized Users has been acceptable to us . . . meaning that it encompassed walk-in library visitors/users who don't have a library card, etc. I often consult a book called Law and Libraries: The Public Library by Lee Ann Torrains (http://tinyurl.com/6gb4sa). Even this source, though, acknowledges the complexity and ambiguity of the phrase "Authorized User".
  • 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
  • From Wilson’s Tryit page. Isn’t Try it supposed to be for patrons as well as librarians?
  • iPhone apps are our biggest competitors. Who is devloping some for library products? Sony ebook: iPhone store mentions libraries. 20 apps for students.6 pages of iPhone apps for “Reference: Dictionaries, physics, literary cooncordances. Wikipedia has an iphone app
  • Facebook is THE way many people share information. Far more than email.
  • Heard reference to this in Borders at Sony display.
  • Only online vendor that does this.
  • 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!
  • www.projectcounter.org/ Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources. “agreed international set of standards and protocols governing the recording and exchange of online usage data. “ Most vendors are memebers; info USA is not
  • From Sara Houghton-Jan librarina in black.Method of evaluating database use at San Jose public
  • ALA has the clout to get media attention more than individual libraries,or even state ones. Tends to promote computer usage in libraries, bt NOT remote use of databases.
  • 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?
  • A great start. Can we all start bombarding our local media contacts with news about library online services? Crayton Harrison
  • Has a $408,000 marketing budget http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGiL2lSwcdI
  • People spent 9 billion on bottled water in 2004. Perrier grew 3000% during the first 3 years it was advertised. Libraries are tap water to Google’s bottled water: Cheaper, healthier, safer. If advertising can take a free, community provided service and turn it into a luxury item when why can’t we do the same for library services?
  • 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. Signs of the Times
    3. 3. 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>
    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. <ul><li>Encourage users to subscribe </li></ul>
    7. 8. 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>
    8. 10. Online Resources in OPAC
    9. 11. Cannibalize current events
    10. 12. 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 be visible where our users already go . </li></ul>
    11. 13. Strategy 2: Schools, Homeschools and PTAs <ul><li>Do they link to your library resources? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they know about them? </li></ul>
    12. 18. 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>
    13. 19. Where is the Library?
    14. 20. Will YOU Be There?
    15. 21. 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 use your library resources? </li></ul>
    16. 23. <ul><li>Local Merchant’s Association page links to the library online business resources </li></ul>
    17. 25. 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>
    18. 26. Indiana’s 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>
    19. 27. Easier Access <ul><li>IP address range: used in Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee 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>
    20. 29. <ul><li>Geolocation is automatic </li></ul>
    21. 30. <ul><li>Usage declined 40% when authenticating by barcode was added </li></ul><ul><li>Usage increased by 20% when geolocation was added </li></ul>
    22. 32. 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>
    23. 33. This isn’t helping…
    24. 34. Neither is this…
    25. 35. 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>
    26. 36. 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>
    27. 37. 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>
    28. 38. We need current marketing support… <ul><li>Proquest’s Marketing Toolkit: nothing new in 2 years </li></ul>
    29. 39. Unclear on the Concept? <ul><li>Great poster… </li></ul><ul><li>Great ideas </li></ul><ul><li>NO MENTION OF LIBRARIES!! </li></ul>
    30. 40. How Does the Vendor’s Site Look to Patrons?
    31. 41. Is it Usable?
    32. 42. Are they trying to make it harder??
    33. 43. What about Mobile?
    34. 51. 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>
    35. 52. Add search widgets to library or community blog or Facebook site
    36. 54. Database Content on Library Facebook page
    37. 55. Proquest’s Library PressDisplay
    38. 56. Easily post to blogs or Facebook
    39. 57. Are vendors on YouTube? With interesting content?
    40. 58. 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>
    41. 60. Some Serious Press…
    42. 61. Search for books available at libraries in your zipcode
    43. 62. Digital Bookmobile on YouTube
    44. 63. The Digital Bookmobile on Facebook…
    45. 64. 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>
    46. 65. Why support vendors that don’t support libraries?
    47. 66. You are not the vendors’ friend…
    48. 67. …You are their CUSTOMER
    49. 68. 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>
    50. 69. COUNTER Intuitive? <ul><li>See if your vendors are listed </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for COUNTER reports </li></ul>
    51. 71. <ul><li>Problems with “free” remote access: </li></ul><ul><li>Based on guesswork, not actual usage </li></ul><ul><li>Vendor has zero incentive to increase usage </li></ul>
    52. 72. 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>
    53. 73. Notice Anything Missing?
    54. 74. Working the Media… <ul><li>What sources do your patrons trust? </li></ul><ul><li>Major papers more likely to do stories on national trends </li></ul>
    55. 75. WebMD-$33.7 million in TV advertising
    56. 76. Great TV Ad From Calgary Public
    57. 77. The Power of Advertising <ul><li>Can library online services become the bottled water of tomorrow? </li></ul>
    58. 78. Think Like a Travel Agent <ul><li>If you want people to visit Fiji, you DON’T advertise in Fiji. </li></ul>
    59. 79. 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>Indiana’s www.Inspire.net </li></ul><ul><li>Connecticut’s Iconn.org </li></ul><ul><li> www. iconn .org/ </li></ul><ul><li>Tennessee Electronic Library, http:// tntel . tnsos .org/ </li></ul><ul><li>New Jersey QandJ, www. qandanj .org/ </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>Project Counter, www.projectcounter.org/ </li></ul>
    60. 80. Websites used… <ul><li>Quova, www. quova .com </li></ul><ul><li>Auto-Graphics, http://www4.auto-graphics.com </li></ul><ul><li>AccessMyLibrary.com </li></ul><ul><li>Gale/Cengage app store, www.gale. cengage .com/apps/ </li></ul><ul><li>Itunes and App Store, http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/accessmylibrary/id342518632?mt=8 </li></ul><ul><li>Overdrive Digital Bookmobile, www. digitalbookmobile .com </li></ul><ul><li>“ Unethical Library Vendors: A Call to Arms for Libraries to Fight Back” by Sara Houghton-Jan. Posted on the Librarian in Black, http://librarianinblack.net/librarianinblack/2010/04/vendors.html </li></ul><ul><li>“ Has EBSCO Become the New Evil Empire?” by Meredith Farkas. Posted on Information Wants to be Free, http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2010/04/02/has-ebsco-become-the-new-evil-empire/ </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>“ Have We Created a Monster?” By Loren MccRory -- Library Journal, 9/15/2009 www. libraryjournal .com/article/CA6696560.html?q=monster+ mccrory & </li></ul><ul><li>Calgary Public Library Marketing, blog.calgarypubliclibrary.com/blogs/marketing </li></ul>
    61. 81. Thanks!! Lesley Williams Evanston Public Library Evanston IL 60201 [email_address] 847-448-8646