Terry Kendrick

The Library Marketing Toolkit is OUT NOW! Here's what's in it

The book I spent 2011 writing is finally out! Facet Publishing have printed and released the Library Marketing Toolkit and the pre-orders have been sent. There are details of what the book contains, and who writes its 27 case studies, on librarymarketingtoolkit.com, but as you'll know if you've read this blog before I really like slide-presentations as a way of getting info across in a non-boring way; with that in mind, here's what you can expect from the book. Chapters, themes covered, case studies, etc.

Still too early for full reviews, but some pre-prints were sent out and have been getting some good feedback:

‘Ned Potter's  book will help any library succeed in creating a community that is aware and engaged in its library. He has written an easy to follow tool kit targeted at the specific marketing needs of librarians that is sure to become a favourite resource for anyone involved in marketing a library. There are case studies from libraries around the world that will inspire you no matter whether your library is large or small. You'll love this book!’ - NANCY DOWD, AUTHOR OF 'BITE-SIZED MARKETING'

[The Toolkit] is brilliant and  a great addition to the library professional discourse.’ – ANDY WOODWORTH

'The Library Marketing Toolkit is packed full of useful, informative and above all practical information about the best ways of getting your message across, and it should be on the shelf of every librarian and information professional who needs to promote the idea of the library and its value in a modern day society.' – PHIL BRADLEY, CILIP PRESIDENT

You can click here to buy in the US, via Amazon.com, or if you're in Canada you can click to buy via Amazon.ca or finally in the UK you can click here to order via Amazon UK - or just get it straight from the publisher.

It's finally done!

- Ned

Three simple marketing rules all libraries should live by...

... but which so few do!  

Pic of blackboard

  1. Market the service, not the content. Telling people about content puts the onus on them think about how they can integrate that content into their lives; many people simply don't have time to analyse what we're offering in that way. We should be making it explicit how we can help them so they need no imagination to understand it - and that comes from marketing services. To paraphrase the awesome Sara Batts, Content is, Services do. Doing is more useful to people than being, so when you have a very limited time in which to appeal to people with limited attention span, market to them what you can do.
  2. No one cares about the how! Can't stress this enough: libraries are seemingly process focused, but the the rest of the world is focused on results. When marketing a service we should concentrate on what people aspire to, not the tools which will get them there. A classic example is databases: we say things like "we subscribe to X databases which you can access via the library catalogue" or, even worse, we name them individually. We market the features; what people want to know about is the benefits. Like Mary Ellen Bates says, the way to market databases is to say 'we provide you with information Google cannot find'.
  3. Market what THEY value, but continue to do what WE value. The SLA's Alignment Project unearthed some fascinating truths about what we as libraries and librarians think are important, and what our patrons and potential patrons think are important. There are marked differences, I'd urge you to read about it for yourselves. (To sum up, users put the emphasis on value-driven attributes, we put it on functional attributes. This is, essentially, points 1 and 2 above, mixed together.) But the key thing is this - it doesn't mean the stuff we value isn't important, it just means that it isn't as valued AS highly by other people. So we continue to DO all the important stuff we value, we just concentrate the marketing on promoting the stuff THEY value. .

You don't need to be a genius to do this stuff, or to have huge marketing budgets, or even loads of time. It's just a case of reconfiguring our existing efforts to acknowledge some simple rules.

Any that you'd add?

- thewikiman

p.s There is a part two of sorts, for this post, here.


Bravery based librarianship is the (only) future

Fearless man  

In recent months I've been fortunate to meet a few people  I admire. Stephen Abram, Terry Kendrick, Andy Woodworth, and Jim Neal* are all people whose ideas about librarianship I've been inspired by.

I'm really interested in a common theme, one which the SLA2011 conference really hammered home for me. All of them have talked about the need for for a little chaos. They've all talked about the need to build in the potential for chaos into the fabric of librarianship and the libraries we work in - to deal with what Stephen calls the "asynchronous, asymmetrical threats" libraries are facing. He believes the only way to deal with this is through pattern disruption (and incidentally, points out that pattern disruption is a lot easier to achieve with people than it is with buildings or books).  In other words, mixing things up. Not just plodding along the same old route.

I think that chaos - deliberate, sanctioned chaos - is very, very hard to engineer. The whole thought of engineered chaos is almost oxymoronic anyway. You can only build in the potential for chaos but you can't be completely sure you'll be able to decide what that chaos will be. So you have to be really brave.

I think that bravery based librarianship is the only future we have. At some point, we have to disrupt the patterns and set a new path. Many libraries are doing this already - our profession is, of course, much more responsive to change than most people realise. But fear-based librarianship, or at least caution-based, still seems prevalent. Many a decision is made in order not to upset the minority, rather than to potentially please a whole new majority. In many cases, this approach is taken with good reason. But we're talking about the survival of our profession, here.

But what strikes me is how often I hear about bravery-based librarianship that goes well. There were loads of these at SLA2011. So many times when libraries take the plunge on some decision or other, the outcomes are positive. I know failure is less likely to make it into the public eye, but even so enough people are trying interesting things and discovering that - hey, guess what - the world DIDN'T end and the earth DIDN'T swallow them up, and in fact everything carried on, but slightly better. So we should learn from them.

So many great ideas get bottlenecked by trying not to upset people. We are at a time when we need to inspire people, not protect their delicate sensibilities. Merely not failing is no longer enough. We have to succeed in such a way that the odd failure happens too - otherwise we're not speculating enough to accumulate sufficiently. And I'm not talking about whole libraries, I'm talking about the ideas which drive them. Can we get ourselves into a collective mindset where we don't fear chaos?

If you have an example of bravery-based librarianship, either succeeded or failing, I'd love to hear it in the comments.

Andy Priestner, another librarian for whom I have much admiration, is a good example of someone who has reached a senior position and still innovates, forward-thinks, and generally terrorises the establishment. (He's even employed a Special Projects Officer who has the freedom to make chaos happen, in a good way, because they're not tied in to the daily grind of the library. This is, thus far, the only clear example I've seen of what Jim Neal advocates - to build in to your organisation at least one position with real freedom to innovate, react with agility, focus on new ideas and so on.) What Andy does at Cambridge works!  Bravery-based librarianship really can be done.

- thewikiman

* I didn't actually meet Jim Neal in the end. He did a talk at my previous institution, and it was amazing - I queued to meet him but ahead of me in the queue were all the really senior people in the organisation, including my boss and the librarian etc. So I thought they'd think I was out of place, and he probably wouldn't want to be bothered, so wussed out and left. Later, I found out he knew who I was because of the Movers and Shakers thing, and wanted to meet me. Moral of the story - if you get the chance to meet someone inspirational, just take that chance and filter out all the things which might cause you to leave instead! Don't let caution get the better of you; bravery FTW. :)