Lessons to Library School Grads – Don’t Be Vader.

Today, I’m posting the text of the commencement speech I gave yesterday at the December graduation of the UNC School of Information and Library Science.  Lots of folks have asked me for it, so I thought I’d put it here.  Enjoy – and see you in 2015.


From Manning Hall to the Ice Planet of Hoth: Lessons for SILS Grads from The Empire Strikes Back

There are many books that graduates often receive as gifts – Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, The Tao of Pooh.  They all have some sort of deep and meaningful message for grads as you start out on the next stage of your life and career. But there’s another story that I think resonates just as much for you today. One that is also full of deep and meaningful messages as you start out on your careers. And it’s not a book. If I could, I would give you each a copy of The Empire Strikes Back.

Why this movie? I think it’s a treasure trove of wisdom – right up there with Dr. Seuss and Winnie the Pooh.  And it’s got AT-AT Walkers and the Millennium Falcon and a Wampa, so it’s even better.  Continue reading “Lessons to Library School Grads – Don’t Be Vader.”


From Tarheel to Jayhawk to Tarheel….

I am thrilled to announce that I will be the next director of the Chapel Hill Public Library in Chapel Hill, NC. Almost seven years ago, my family left Chapel Hill to come to Lawrence, KS and we are pleased at the chance to return to a town that we love and a town that loves its library. I’ll spend the next few weeks wrapping up my marketing duties at Lawrence Public Library, and will take the helm of CHPL on May 20. I’ve had a great time and amazing opportunities here at Lawrence Public Library, where I’ve helped position the library as a deeply engaged community anchor and essential destination. I look forward to helping CHPL do the same!


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 658point8@gmail.com 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!”

Oscar, Grammy, John Cotton Dana

It’s awards season!  If you and your library are doing some stellar marketing, consider submitting your work for an award.  These awards show off the “Best Dressed” of the library PR world:

  • The annual LLAMA/PRMS Best of Show Awards recognize the very best public relations materials produced by libraries in the past year.  Deadline is March 16, 2012.
  • The John Cotton Dana Award is the most prestigious award of the American Library Association.  It honors outstanding library public relations efforts – from rebranding to community partnerships to awareness campaigns.  Deadline is March 15, 2012.
  • And there’s a new award on the scene – sponsored by Library Journal and NoveList/LibraryAware.  Only two things are known right now – it’s worth $10,000 and full details will be announced at the LibraryAware Launch Party on March 15 at PLA.  If you need a ticket to the festivities, email Nancy Dowd, Library Aware’s Project Lead, at ndowdebsco@gmail.com

I’ll be in Philly and have my ticket to the LibraryAware launch – hope to connect with some 658.8 readers while there!

Ten Ideas for Public Libraries in College Towns

From issuing library cards for freshmen to advertising in the college newspaper to partnering for programming, here are ten ways to leverage your library’s position in a college town:

For Marketing & Outreach:

1. Reach out to students and welcome them to your community. Social media is a great way to do this – engage student organizations on Twitter, “like” the college paper on Facebook. Reserve an information table at a student orientation fair and pass out community maps, library pens, or library card applications.  Invite the Student Body President, Pan-Hellenic Council, and other student leaders to come into the library for a tour.  Continue reading “Ten Ideas for Public Libraries in College Towns”