Greetings from Seattle!

alamw13I’m in Seattle for the next few days, attending ALA Midwinter 2013.   There’s lots of good stuff for marketers on the schedule – I’ll live tweet from as many events as possible and post a roundup of the conference next week.  I’ll be at the PRTalk gathering this afternoon and if you are here in Seattle and want to connect, shoot me an email at or find me on Twitter at @658point8.

Also, I’ll share how I got here.  I was awarded a sponsorship by the the fine folks at EBSCO and ALA.  The competition asked for 250 words in response to the question, “The conversation starts here: How would you lead the discussion in your library to bring about meaningful change to an existing process, service, or procedure?”  Here’s what I wrote:   Continue reading “Greetings from Seattle!”

Social Media on the Move – Part 1

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.   Continue reading “Social Media on the Move – Part 1”

Six Questions with Ned Potter

For this installment of the 658.8 Interview, I went across the pond and reached out to Ned Potter.  Ned is the author of The Marketing Toolkit and he writes about library marketing at his blog of the same name.  His book is chock full of case studies and his site contains even more.  I hope I get to meet Ned at a conference one day and chat between sessions!


1. Where did you get your library education? (And I’m not talking about where you went to library school, if you did go to library school!)           Honestly, I got much of it online. Pretty much every day I’ll ask Twitter a question and apply the answers in my job. There’s so many great blogs out there – you can learn so much these days, without having to go anywhere or pay anything.

That said, events and conferences – particularly the little chats with people BETWEEN sessions rather than the presentations themselves – have been really important to me and my development. And there’s no substitute for just doing a job to really learn how it all works.  Continue reading “Six Questions with Ned Potter”

Inform, Engage, Listen, Respond


At Lawrence Public Library, we have developed a social media presence that is engaging, responsive, locally-focused, and fun. While we post a lot of funny memes, share book-related photos (often cats are involved), and ask goofy questions, there is actually a well thought out strategy behind it.  A strategy that in the past two years has tripled our following on Facebook and Twitter, led to increased engagement on both platforms, and resulted in real, measurable outcomes such as increased partnerships, new programs, and a higher visibility in our community.

When I began coordinating our social media just over two years ago, I realized that we needed a guiding document, but I did not want a lengthy policy piece – something that detailed exactly what can and cannot be said on social media, who can and cannot say it, or full of language that might stifle creativity or seem too corporate in tone.

What I did want was something that would outline who we wanted to be on social media, what we wanted to do, and lay out some basic rules of engagement.  I also wanted it to be short!  Here the text of the one-page document that developed:  Continue reading “Inform, Engage, Listen, Respond”

Read, Use, Join, Try, Do, Apply

Read thisThis article should be required reading for librarians, especially those who doubt the need for marketing. Ned Potter, author of Library Marketing Toolkit, interviewed Terry Kendrick, strategic marketing guru and author of Developing Strategic Marketing Plans that Really Work, for the latest issue of American Libraries.


Use this – The American Library Association released an “Ebook Media and Communications Toolkit” that can help librarians communicate about the state of ebooks in libraries.  At Lawrence Public Library, we repurposed some of the content for a feature on our website.  Continue reading “Read, Use, Join, Try, Do, Apply”

Six Partnerships for Public Libraries

Fred and Ginger. Batman and Robin. Starsky and Hutch. Your public library and ____________________ (insert community organization, local business, or local nonprofit here). Your library has the potential to join the list of great partnerships – all it takes is a little time, attention, and maybe a cup of coffee.

At every local, regional, and national conference I’ve attended in the past year or so, one of the frequent buzzwords has been partnerships. In an era of decreased budgets, over-stretched staff, and limited resources, partnerships make more sense than ever. Here are a half dozen partnerships that public libraries can readily develop – for programs, PR, and more.

If you’re wondering how to get starting developing these relationships, I suggest a cup of coffee. Contact the marketing officer or program director or even the agency head, and offer to buy them a cup of coffee.  Let them know that you’d like to partner more and be ready to brainstorm possibilities.  A good strategy is to start small – consider what the lowest-hanging fruit is and use that as a first effort. And don’t forget that partnerships are a two-way street: be prepared to discuss both what they can do for you and what value you can offer them in return.  Continue reading “Six Partnerships for Public Libraries”

3 Things to Talk About on Social Media in November

A few suggestions for social media fodder this month – these also work great for displays and programming, too.  There are lots more possibilities – please share your ideas in the comments!

1. NaNoWriMo – It’s National Novel Writing Month and libraries across the country are participating.  How about a Pinterest board featuring novels created during this month and then published?  You can also tweet out or post writing prompts, inspirational quotes, and words of encouragement to budding writers. #NaNoWriMo   Continue reading “3 Things to Talk About on Social Media in November”

3 Things to Talk About on Social Media Right Now

1. Halloween! The scariest month of the year offers great fodder for libraries and social media. How about a Facebook post asking What’s the scariest book you ever read? or What movie first made you want to sleep with the lights on? or What was your best Halloween costume? On Twitter, you can tweet out 140 character horror book suggestions or information about local Halloween events happening in your community. Pinterest is perfect for holidays like this – how about a board for ghoulish baked goods, literary-inspired Halloween costumes, or staff picks for scary books and movies?   Continue reading “3 Things to Talk About on Social Media Right Now”

Content Marketing for the RA Crowd

Even though I’m wearing a marketing hat these days, I do still keep my toes wet in the Readers’ Advisory waters. I occasionally write for NoveList’s RA News newsletter, a free resource full of great ideas for library staff involved in RA. My most recent article is just out and talks about making RA content more marketable by reducing it, re-using it, and recycling it. Read the article here and sign up for RA News here.

I’m not the only one with both an RA hat and a marketing hat!  NoveList is branching out into the marketing world with a new product – LibraryAware.  If you haven’t heard about this cool new tool to help libraries with branding and promotion, check it out.  One of the best things about NoveList has always been all of their added content – RA training, book discussion guides, themed book lists, newsletters, etc. – and it looks like LibraryAware will carry on this tradition with white papers like this and more.

Reader’s Advisory Goes Graphic!

No, this is not a post about 50 Shades of Grey or graphic novels.  This is a post about the power of graphic images to replace words and convey information in a fresh, interesting, and relevant way.

This flowchart made the rounds this summer.  And by “made the rounds,” I mean that it was picked up by everyone from School Library Journal and Nancy Pearl to GalleyCat and the Hollywood Reporter.  My colleague in our Teen Zone – the fabulous Molly Wetta – created it and she is still a little amazed at all the attention it has gotten in the past few weeks.  She’s mentioned to me a couple of times that it’s really “pretty simple.”  Continue reading “Reader’s Advisory Goes Graphic!”