Every two years, my library holds staff development days. It’s a conference of sorts that lasts all day. The training focuses on one issue that generally affects our public library customers, like addiction, poverty, homelessness, and mental illness. I always learn something, even though I’m not a member of frontline staff. But this year, I was actually inspired while listening to the speakers. Their talks made me think about how the work of my marketing team affects the lives of our cardholders. During the closing session, I found myself writing part of this blog post on the back of a worksheet. It was a bit of advice and inspiration for myself… but then I got to thinking that I should share it here.
If you work in a public library, I bet you are as exhausted as I am after the long season of promotion leading up to summer reading. If you work in academia, the month or two before exams can feel like a marathon. Some elementary and secondary librarians are struggling just to make it to summer vacation. Six months into the year, we all feel a little worn down, don’t we? We need a reminder that our work is important. Here’s what I want you to know about the work you do.
Library marketing professionals are committed to cardholders. Every single marketer I’ve ever met in this space is thinking about the good of the cardholder over the good of anything else. I’m so proud of this profession!
The work you do feels small… but it’s a movement. We tend to think our work is not important. But we are part of a large social movement to make a real difference in the world. It feels normal and insignificant because we’ve done it for so long. It’s not normal or insignificant. You are heroes. You are amazing. Keep it up!
To recharge your batteries further, I asked for some advice from some fellow library marketing professionals. Here’s what they want you to think about as you head into the next six months
Amanda L. Goodman, Publicity Manager at Darien Library in Darien, Connecticut: “Stay organized. Teach project management skills to colleagues that you work closely with. When you’re working on a big project with tight deadlines, it’s helpful when you’re all pulling together to get tasks accomplished on time. Schedule more time than you think you will need. Something else will always come up.”
Athens Miguel Moreno, Technology Manager at Glencoe Public Library in Glencoe, Illinois: “Organize your photos, whether on your phone or computer, make it easier on yourself to never have to hunt around for a good picture.”
Tanya Milligan, Project Librarian at Falkirk Library in the United Kingdom: “Always think of the needs, interests and wants of your users in everything you do. If you aren’t sure about their needs, interests and wants, then ask!”
Lori Juhlin, Library Director at Hawarden Public Library in Hawarden, Iowa: “Your frontline staff are your best marketers, because if someone receives great service, they may tell others, but even more so if they have a bad experience.”
Kristin Lauri Readel, Director, Frost Free Library in Marlborough, New Hampshire: “Double check dates & times with the correct calendar. Use Canva!”
Carol Eyman, Outreach Coordinator of the Nashua Public Library in Nashua, New Hampshire: “Find out what publicity is working and what’s not by adding a question in your online registration forms, how did you hear about this program?”
And a few more from yours truly: Make an effort to talk to staff. Ask the librarians about their jobs. Learn about the problems they deal with. Talk to customers! Strive to be a little uncomfortable in your work. Push yourself a little. Make time to rest and be creative.
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