Marketing Advice from the Boy Scouts

Be prepared. 

Just as there are “teaching moments,” there are “marketing moments” – moments when you are able to capture a visual image or a personal story or a quick fact that can be used to convey the library’s value.  Be ready for these!

  • Have batteries in the digital camera.  Keep the camera next to the photo consent forms*.  Next to those, keep the Flip camera charged and ready.
  • Know what programs and events are happening in your library on any given day and snap a few photos of them.  If you can’t make a big event, enlist a colleague to do so.
  • Let public services staff know that you are always available to take a picture or shoot a little impromptu video or just chat with a customer.
  • Let back-of-the-house staff in Tech Services or Collection Development know that you value their input, too.  If a cart full of a hot bestseller in high demand is being processed, take a quick photo to post on Twitter or Facebook.
  • Always have your business cards on you – if you hear someone talking in the line at the local coffee shop about how great the library is, ask if they’d be willing to submit a testimonial and if so, hand them your card or get their info and follow up directly.  (Conversely, if you hear someone ranting about a terrible experience they had at the library, introduce yourself, apologize, offer your card and let them know you’d be happy to meet with them and discuss further.)

A photo of children at storytime might be posted on Facebook, the personal story of a new citizen improving their English using library resources might be used in a presentation to legislators, the quick fact from the IT Department that database usage increased 30% might make it into the annual report.  Images, stories, and numbers all work together to convey meaning and value in powerful ways.

If you are charged with marketing and promoting your library, be aware of all the different ways to present information, be in tune to all that is happening in your library, and be prepared to capture the images, stories, and information that reflect your library’s value.

* For more information and perspectives on photo permissions and usage at the library, read here and here.

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