Saturday, March 21, 2009
In tight times, N.J. libraries market themselves
Carolyn Wood (left) teaches Janice Satter and Keith Craig, both of Deptford, how to use computers at the West Deptford Library.
Just caught this article and am crazy about that headline, In tight times, N.J. libraries market themselves. I especially love it because we have been working so hard at stirring the "inner marketer" in our librarians and it's rewarding when reporters start to notice too. It all started back with a visit from Seth Godin and the launch of the new campaign, Solving Life's Problems. We hosted a marketing bootcamp and I'm just winding up my whirlwind workshop tour-15 libraries in two months! In the middle of all this, a committee from NJSL and NJLA held a fantastic one day event called Snapshot Day where libraries collected data, photos and comments and it was all posted online. It was a huge success and has served to motivate our libraries to be proactive in asking people for their input. What seemed to be a big help for everyone was the simple form created by Marie Downes McDonald, Director, and Helene Gray, Publicity Coordinator, West Deptford, NJ Public Library.
The stats were great! In just one day ...
* 161,367 people walked through the doors of New Jersey libraries.
* 156,793 books, movies and more were borrowed from New Jersey libraries.
* 27,742 people used computers at New Jersey libraries.
* 18,537 questions were answered at New Jersey libraries.
* 1,245 people got employment help at New Jersey libraries.
* 1,241 programs were offered at New Jersey libraries.
* 984 people learned computer skills at New Jersey libraries.
We will be able to use those stats with our customer's experiences to create powerful stories for advocacy and support.
Here's a quick list of guidelines for creating stories for your library:
1. Connect stats and stories to a larger message that resonates to the community rather than the library. For example, how many times have you told someone about the services you offer in your library and they look at you with that "so what" or "big deal" look? That's because they don't identify with the library. You could talk till you are blue in the face and they just won't care. But if you frame your information in a context that they can relate to and with something that matters to them, then they'll care about what you are saying. In our workshops we've been seeing incredible stories created that are linked to messages that matter to community members that are really powerful.
2. Make sure your stories are customer-centric rather than library or librarian centric. Talk about the experience of your customer, not the library!
3. Tell stories that begin with a problem a customer is facing and end it with the library helping to find resolve.
4. Use feeling words to describe how your customer felt before and after the problem was resolved.
5.Combine simple experiences in one story to provide drama and support your message.
6. Keep it long enough to gain interest and short enough not to bore your listener.
The workshop is getting rave reviews from library staff - everyone from directors to library assistants have found it useful. If you are outside of NJ and are interested in having me come out to your library and give the workshop, just email me and we'll figure out how to make it work.
Posted by Nancy Dowd at 5:04 PM