As a $19 million renovation and expansion project begins, my library – Lawrence Public Library – is in the process of moving into temporary headquarters. We are closed for two weeks while we move our collections and offices into – wait for it – a building that last housed a Borders bookstore!
This is not only a huge logistical undertaking, but it has been a major communications initiative as well. We have successfully used traditional tools – flyers, signs, e-blasts, press releases, etc. – to keep our community informed about the move. However, we have turned to new media methods to keep our community engaged and excited about what’s happening at their library.
This is the first of a two-part series that looks first at what we did on social media leading up to the move and then follows with a look at what we are doing during the move. Look for part two later this week.
In the weeks leading up to the move, we covered the traditional bases including:
- Large vinyl banners in the lobby and signage at all public service desks
- “We’re Moving” buttons and talking points issued to staff
- Press release to media and community partners
- Newspaper, radio, and TV ads
- Updates on website and e-blasts to mailing lists
This is all important communication, but we have a large community following on social media who – rightly so – feel a great deal of ownership in the library. They were clamoring for more insight into the move – How would we accomplish it? Were we coping with the stress? Could they do anything to help?
In order to move from simply informing our public to engaging them in this process, we turned to social media. Over the past two years, we have positioned our library as a community-owned destination that is fresh and funky, hyper local and deeply engaged. Social media has played an important role in this positioning. I am also extremely fortunate to coordinate a social media team comprised of dedicated, professional, creative, and just plain fun folks. We got together a few months ago to brainstorm creative ways to spread the word about the pending move and closure. Here are some of the ideas we put into action.
- Since we are moving into a building formerly occupied by Borders, the running joke is “It will be just like Borders. Only free.” The “Free Borders” hook really resonates with our public. When the lease on the space was signed, we had a local sign company mock up an image of what the library sign would look like on the building. We put this image up on our Facebook page to make the announcement – note the number of likes, comments, and shares:
- Our Facebook team started a “Farewell to the Library” series of photos featuring staff members saying goodbye to various aspects of our building. Miss Linda has done story times for generations of Lawrence kids – the number of likes and shares prove she is a beloved community character:
- We also encouraged folks to stop by and check out 50 items – the maximum number allowed per card. This way, we would have less to move! This also resonated with folks, as seen in the responses to our posts and tweets, as well as in the circulation numbers in the days before we closed for the move:
- On Twitter, we tweeted frequently about the pending move, especially in the week or so leading up to the closure. Here’s some of our Twitter team’s handiwork:
And a few responses from our followers:
And our fledgling video team created this super creative piece:
The doors closed on Monday, January 7th and while we still had people coming up and reading the “Closed Until January 22nd” signs and scratching their heads, we also knew that a broad swath of our community had heard about the move from a variety of sources and through a mix of straight information and inventive storytelling.
Later this week, I’ll post about the *really* creative social media initiatives we have going on while we are closed. If you can’t wait until then, feel free to follow us on Facebook and on Twitter and see what’s happening.
And a personal note to Jenny, Kristin, Molly, Ransom, Tricia, Kevin, Jeff, Becca, Karen, and the rest of the LPL Social Media crew – if you are reading this, I send you my everlasting thanks and major WOOTS! Y’all are amazing.