Making the Most of Our Stock, Reader Development and Marketing in Stirling


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Liz Moffat, Stirling Libraries, gives and overview of the kind of changes that they have made in Stirling libraries to encourage borrowing amongst users.

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  • Not the latest Man Booker winner, not a heavy classic Try Something different 75% of people going into a busy library, not the small branches because they are a well known readership, but the bigger libraries. 75% don’t really know what they want, so we are organising the library for the 25% who know what they want and where to find it. Most people also only spend an average of 5 minutes in the library, studies have been done, so we need to catch that 75% and offer them something they want to try within 5 minutes. I would mention GOMA here, everything I would want in a library. Nice decor, no clutter, couches and the smell of coffee are all tactics to make you stay in the library longer than that five minutes. Galashiels has had a fortune spent on it, been refurbished but doesn’t have that cosy, welcoming feeling. Today I will hopefully show some ways to make people stay longer and also how to get the most from your book stock.
  • OK what do we have Staff Amenability and profitability are linked, it has been proved, take care of the former and the latter is guaranteed. Publishers are now realising that libraries and librarians are connecting with their readers in a way that bookshops don’t manage. In the past they have always dealt with bookshops exclusively. I was at an event in the Mitchell library a few weeks back for the reader development co-ordinators. Publishers had asked to meet us along with half a dozen authors and The Reading Agency, who are doing a lot of work to connect writers, publishers and readers.Libraries are carving a unique role in offering reader centred activity. Our libraries have had a few events with new authors launching their books. The publishers provide the food and drink and the author. We just provide the venue. Our staff know their readers and are not afraid to get out from behind the desk to go and talk to them. Wide range of products Internet Services, Know UK etc. back catalogue of stock We have the consistent access to readers so reader centred approach is a natural fit for us.
  • We can’t really do anything about buildings and location without huge investment Book Festival has helped to change the profile of libraries. Many people thought it was the Tolbooth, Albert Halls and MacRobert putting on these events. We certainly let everyone know it was libraries. We have raised the profile by showing our professionalism and polish. 16 days of action leaflet, amazed and pleased with the quality of our input to the campaign and buzzing around Viewforth We have stemmed the decline in issues since these courses two years ago and with the introduction of the Mystery shopper, librarian’s wish list etc. Not just this course but stock management system, stock promotion policy etc. working through notes, realised we have come a long way. We have also changed the negative image of being boring Student Loan advert a few years ago was ‘we were going to offer book tokens, luckily we woke up’ Open a student bank account, we will give you lots of goodies. Unfortunately book tokens won’t be one of them, we have decided to give you something you may actually want. Now furniture sellers, interior designers use books the image is changing. e.g. the murder mystery, poem pie and pint with partnerships e.g. ALT , we’re getting out there we have great interpersonal skills
  • First impression is the Transition Zone, then there is the power spot, the counter area, displays, then guiding signs. Sometimes the counter is right in the power spot and this is wrong. Bannockburn Ok to the side Our last impression should also be of the power spot, book display, so it has to be right. Transition zone - from outside to inside, relaxing customer on the way, WOW factor, no posters no clutter. If you watch someone coming in to the library, you will see that they keep moving, they don’t stop dead the minute they are inside the door. They are slowing down, adjusting their eyes to the light in the space, their senses are analysing sound and smell, feeling warmth or cold . It is a few seconds before they are actually here, so it is pointless putting anything up or laying out posters in that transition area. I bet people still ask where the toilet is? If you were to say ‘Can I help you’ during that few seconds the answer would definitely be ‘No’. People need a landing strip. Create an ambiance, with smell, colour etc. There is nothing like the smell of coffee for making you want to stay. Make the space spacious, give the customer room. GOMA Nottingham - Counter area- de-clutter to give a more streamlined professional look. In an ideal world it would be better to have a very small counter with staff more on the shop floor rather than behind counters. Staff pleasant and smiling and always there for the customer first, rather than their own work. Counter has to show this. Not in your face however, but we’ll come to that in a minute Waterstone’s - Power spot - three metres into shop or library floor. This is the prime spot, this is where you can make or lose your first impression. This is where you put your display. Anything you want to really push, up to you but….
  • Show books here with authors larger than titles etc. (activity)Reading cover signals Cereals Sugary(sweet, romantic) – Cornflakes(run of the mill) – Muisli(something a bit more interesting) Checkout girl has to display all cereals, even ones she doesn’t like, not just the type she has for breakfast. Cornflakes don’t need much advertising and it is difficult to supply demand if you want them, you want them – same with Catherine Cookson, so why promote them. A large table with a small table on top, covered with a sheet and with a header can fill the power spot. Dunfermline do this and it is always changing and is always tastefully done. Acetate stands, display units, 360 degree displays - Look at books to display - cereal analogy. Face on displays. When Edinburgh City Libraries started to put most of their books on face on displays, their issues increased Non Fiction 25% increase, fiction an incredible 90% increase. The most reliable zone for display is just above eye level to knee level. Anything above or below that is wasted unless someone has a specific to look for. Large clear type in high contrast ` works best
  • Displays - less is more, don’t need a lot of money.
  • Don’t put aisles too close, leave plenty of space around displays. No-likes the bum brush feeling and will move away if they feel there is a chance of that happening. A lot of displays are flat against wall or shelf end and most people are approaching from right angles, so would only see the side of the dumpbin. Research shows that people start browsing displays from about 20 feet away, so they can already decide what to take, so it is important that they see the covers on approach, so that this additional browsing time can happen. It has also been discovered that same colour displays don’t work very well. Opening the book started this phenomenon, but have backtracked since then. If you have all red books together, all blue, all green etc. , it makes it difficult for the eye to pick out one title that is interesting. This also proves research is being done all the time - no definite answer - constantly evolving, constantly correcting
  • Design wise this type of dumpbin is not ideal anyway, we have dumped them for good quality wooden display furniture. Books sit too far into it. If you need to use the cardboard ones it is best to plump out with books behind, so that the books in front are more visible
  • We have really good quality headers and a small design team working on them all the time. We have a Stock promotion group and a stock promotion policy which states that each library will undertake at least two face on displays a month. Librarians and Library Officers can feed in to the stock promotion group what designs they would like so everyone is generating ideas.
  • Staff commitment to refill Difficult in a one person branch, but important. Better to take the display away for a while than to have it like this Again, the header could be more inventive. Have a spare header like ‘Quick Reads’ or something for in between times
  • Face on issues again 90% fiction 25% non-fiction Incredible difference Buy the feature fillers from Opening the Book, with comments etc on them Shelf fillers are quite cheap. Staggered book shelf displays for differing eye levels, but could create interest in themselves
  • You can plump out the face on with books behind. Again you need staff commitment Two or three titles face on amongst spine on shelves. Use acetate stands, feature fillers or books behind to plump out
  • Activity book discussion on ‘books that staff hate’ books 10 to 15 minutes Use book wobblers too. Books that staff hate. Comments cards. Put cards in each book. People like seeing what other people like or dislike about books. You can put the cards up on a board in the library near your display books. Good quality cards though, don’t even have to say as much as this. We want to engage with our readers and the best way to do this is through reading groups and through talking about books and writing about books. Reading groups themselves may not greatly increase readership or issues, but where you have a number of reading groups you have a base for readers’ days which do bring people in and interest them. Word of mouth is also a good way. If someone in the group is reading something different, they will mention it to colleagues etc. And so library usage will go up. The thing is we have to show book buyers that we have what they want and more, something a bit different. Book Festival we have reader to reader days i.e.Big Book Exchange, Desert Island Books, speed reading. These engage as much if not more than simply having author visits. Writing about books, we have just talked about books and that is about it as far as running reading groups is concerned. Top ten tips in your pack Frontline training course is a great way to get all staff actively promoting stock and talking to borrowers. It is an on-line training course run by Opening the Book. It sets practical tasks and although Stirling staff got a lot from this session delivered today, all who have undertaken Frontline feel it really got them working towards reader centred promotions.
  • Bannockburn is a good library and always has good displays up, but as an exercise: When you go back to your library, look with a fresh eye or go into another branch in your authority and see what points you could improve on. Just going on what we have been discussing, critical comment, no slagging. And see the difference.
  • Ask for ideas – what are you already doing? Promoting the service in a positive fashion to raise the profile of the Service, increase issues and library use
  • Original Marketing Plan produced in 2003, nothing done with it. Revised 2006 Marketing is an integral Action within the Service Plan and at the quarterly Scrutiny Group meetings, members of the Scrutiny Group have the opportunity to ask for a progress report and to suggest revised timescales. This keeps it as a “live” issue. Marketing Group – all levels of staff and from the Community Libraries and Library HQ Established a Design Team, invested in specialist software and trained the Team in its use. Made the commitment that these staff would have the time to produce the publicity as part of their working day. Ensured that all publicity is now done by this Team to a required standard – no more “home-made” posters
  • Opposition – Supermarkets, Media – TV, DVDs, Music shops, Car boot Sales, Markets, Cinema, Sports Centres, the internet. Bookshops can also be the opposition – BUT set up a partnership with your local bookshop and work together Mystery Shopper – what it’s purpose was (NOT to judge the staff) - questionnaire Money was spent updating furniture, buying new display features, like dumpbins – but not in cardboard – display units, signs. Tatty posters were taken down and replaced with new, laminated ones Standard styles were developed. We also invested in banners – generic ones and for Off the Page. Portable, eye-catching, not too bulky when raised
  • It’s all common sense & you may feel I am preaching to the converted How do you like to be treated when you enter a shop? That welcome (or lack of it) is what stays with you. Greet people as you like to be greeted. If necessary, apologise for the delay in attending to them - done automatically in M&S, regardless how long (or not) you have been waiting. It makes you feel that you have, at least, been noticed, that the assistant is aware of your existence Remember, if you are having a bad day, you can’t let the library users see it.
  • Be aware of what your customers are doing. If someone looks as if they need help, approach them and ask if you can help Be ready to listen if someone wants a chat. You might be the only person they speak that day If they complain about something, eg to pay fines, maybe they have been having a bad day & being asked for this, is the last straw Listen, but know how to disengage if someone else needs assistance. Don’t make that first person feel they have been a nuisance. Be pro-active As I said, it’s all common sense.
  • Work with your Council Design and Communications Team. Contact them at the early stage of a project. They can refine ideas and sometimes help with funding Next few slides will show the results of this
  • Festival brochure – recognisable brand image. Festival logo and the Heart of Stirling brand – this ensures that the publicity receives national distribution The Council Design Team input helped to ensure better publicity
  • A selection of posters, promoting different aspects of the Service and incorporating the Council brand. The map picture – this year’s calendar front cover, photo taken by a Council Employee and permission given to use it.
  • Make use of any free papers in the area. We find that they are better at publicising events and activities than the main local paper. Target what publicity you send to them to the area where they base themselves. Often they will send a photographer to an event, then publicise it. And that is the publicity you cannot pay for. Off the Page publicity was sent all over the place to every paper and news organisation. Last year that paid off, when the Fred McAuley Show featured the Festival. This is when it can pay off doing your own publicity – often going out under the Council Press Office heading can be a disadvantage How you start your press release is important. You need to catch the reader’s attention with the first sentence.
  • Use of the website to let the public know what is happening in the Service. This may need working round any Council restrictions on web style. Flickr is a good way to let the public see what events have been taking place. We also put the pictures from this year’s calendar onto it and they could be reviewed before buying it. We have a WiKi for the different Reading Groups and they go in and add their comments about the books they have read and have discussions with members of other Reading Groups.
  • Positive image
  • Positive image As you will see, we have developed an image for the Book Festival. Banners are portable and much more effective than displays. Have banner, will travel. And then you have the …………….
  • Don’t be afraid to make changes if something you have tried doesn’t work. Eg Evaluation forms for the Book Festival showed that the radio campaign was the least identified method of people finding out about the Festival. This was despite a series of adverts throughout the day on all the programmes. So we stopped using local radio and concentrated on other methods of advertising. Free DVD offers Potential of using local firms for sponsorship in a joint competition
  • Positive image
  • Negative image What message does this give? How do you know your Marketing is working?
  • Evaluation is necessary to assess the success of whatever you are doing. surveys feedback forms evaluation forms word of mouth Be proactive in seeking evaluation – you may already be doing this Have evaluation forms at all events. Have them on people’s seats, hand them out. Have pens ready for people to complete the forms. Keep them simple and quick to complete, then you have a better chance of getting a good return Have staff there to collect them Take heed of what is in the results Surveys and questionnaires, on an annual basis, about specific topics, eg the state of the buildings, the stock Don’t be afraid to seek outside help. We have done two in-house mystery shoppers, but recognise that to get unbiased feedback can be more beneficial to the service. Eg. Library authorities could visit each other and do mystery shoppers – but ensure your staff are aware that this will be happening.
  • Commitment – from the managers, from the staff and from the Administration. Pride – be proud of your buildings, even if they are not perfect Be aware of the impression given Keep posters fresh – replace them if necessary, be selective in what is displayed. Develop a poster policy, if you don’t have one Keep flagging up problems or the need for new furnishings Make a wish list. How to use it. Be proud of the service you provide Be willing to go the extra mile – I’m sure you already do that Learn and adapt To keep the Marketing Gropup fresh, rotate the membership. This encourages all the staff to feel involved Be aware that for all the money spent on marketing the Service, publicising and promoting it, the biggest asset in marketing the Library Service is – THE STAFF. YOU are the best advert for the Library Service Be PROACTIVE, COMMITTED, ENTHOUSIASTIC.
  • Frontline course You need management commitment to get all staff trained We have it as a key service plan objective as is improving library look
  • Making the Most of Our Stock, Reader Development and Marketing in Stirling

    1. 1. Making the most of our stock Reader Development and Marketing in Stirling
    2. 2. Mission Statement for Reader Development ‘ The best book in the world is quite simply the one you like best and that is something you can discover for yourself, but we are here to help you find it’
    3. 3. Strengths <ul><ul><ul><li>Staff - positive attitude and strong customer focus </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wide range of products </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Computer service </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Good back catalogue </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Access to readers </li></ul></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Weaknesses <ul><ul><ul><li>Library buildings, poorly built </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Locations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Low profile </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Issues are declining </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Negative public image of librarians - boring </li></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Improve Presentation <ul><li>Transition zone - First Impressions </li></ul><ul><li>Counter area </li></ul><ul><li>Power spot - Bit in the middle </li></ul><ul><li>Both above - Last Impressions </li></ul>
    6. 6. Displays
    7. 7. Mixed Messages
    8. 8. Eye catches on approach
    9. 9. Dump the dumpbins
    10. 11. Victim of success! Keep filled
    11. 12. Small feature filler
    12. 13. But you don’t need a huge budget
    13. 14. Other ways to promote stock <ul><li>Book Wobblers </li></ul><ul><li>Comments Cards </li></ul><ul><li>Reading Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Frontline Training Course </li></ul>
    14. 15. Walk the Walk
    15. 16. What is Marketing? <ul><li>Promoting the Service in a positive fashion to raise it’s profile within the community and to increase library use and issues. </li></ul>
    16. 17. What we did <ul><li>Revived the Marketing Plan and updated it </li></ul><ul><li>Put Marketing and Customer Care as an integral action within the Library Service Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Set up a Marketing Group, involving a cross-section of staff </li></ul><ul><li>Established a Design Team </li></ul>
    17. 18. What we did, cont’d <ul><li>Identified our opposition </li></ul><ul><li>Set up a Mystery Shopper programme in all Libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Prepared and costed a list of “concerns” </li></ul><ul><li>Agreed money had to be spent to start addressing these concerns. </li></ul><ul><li>Agreed that furniture colours and wood finishings should be standardised </li></ul>
    18. 19. Customer care <ul><li>What is customer care? </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that the customer has the best experience they can on every visit </li></ul><ul><li>The first impression a person has, is the one that stays in their mind </li></ul><ul><li>Look up when someone comes in, smile and greet them. </li></ul><ul><li>Make everyone feel welcome </li></ul>
    19. 20. Customer care, cont’d <ul><li>Be pro-active </li></ul><ul><li>Ask how they enjoyed their books or DVDs </li></ul><ul><li>Ask if you can help with an enquiry or with more books </li></ul><ul><li>Be empathetic if someone wants to talk </li></ul>
    20. 21. Branding <ul><li>Develop a “Brand” – make it recognisable </li></ul><ul><li>Standardise poster style, colours, logos </li></ul><ul><li>Set up a Design team and invest in design software </li></ul><ul><li>Work with your Council Design and Communications Team </li></ul>
    21. 24. Publicity <ul><li>Use the local paper and local radio . </li></ul><ul><li>Build up a network of contacts, meet with them and get to know them. Work with them. </li></ul><ul><li>Send information to BBC Scotland and STV – addressed to individual programmes. It works. </li></ul>
    22. 25. Publicity, cont’d <ul><li>Develop your website </li></ul><ul><li>Use Twitter, You Tube and Flickr </li></ul><ul><li>Have WiKis that the public, eg your Reading Groups, can feed into </li></ul>
    23. 28. Things that work <ul><li>Build up good local press contacts </li></ul><ul><li>Writing your own material </li></ul><ul><li>Keep information positive </li></ul><ul><li>Try different things – if one doesn’t work, drop it </li></ul><ul><li>Competitions </li></ul><ul><li>Remember ‘loss leaders’ </li></ul><ul><li>Target age groups </li></ul><ul><li>Target new housing developments </li></ul>
    24. 31. Evaluation <ul><li>Constant evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Learn and adapt </li></ul><ul><li>Access outside opinion </li></ul>
    25. 32. What is needed <ul><li>Commitment </li></ul><ul><li>Pride in your Library Service </li></ul><ul><li>Willingness </li></ul><ul><li>Enthusiasm </li></ul>
    26. 33. Statistics to prove its all working
    27. 34. More Statistics ….
    28. 35. Elizabeth Farr [email_address] 01786 432389 and Liz Moffat [email_address] 01786 432391