How many of you out there working at a service desk at your public library took a marketing class? I am guess none-2 is the range here. But, how many of you are finding that marketing yourself and your fabulous services has begun to suck up more and more of your time? Here I am guess most of you would answer in the affirmative.
I have never had professional marketing training, but over the years I have made an effort to learn more about marketing and how to use it to promote library services and programs. One way I have stayed up to date is by teaching 1/2 of 1 class in my RA course on Marketing each semester. It is not much, but it forces me to keep up.
Over my 12 years in public libraries as a librarian, library educator, and library trustee, I have also seen more and more libraries adding full time non-library marketing people to add to their staffs. Many of them are then sent to library school after being hired (I have taught more than a handful of these people). We need the marketing expertise so badly now, we are willing to sacrifice the library knowledge in the short term.
The point here...marketing is becoming an essential part of our jobs, but we are all hunting and pecking for the skills we need to fill this huge chasm between what we are trained to do and what we are actually being asked to do.
Thankfully, I have found a new resource to help bridge that chasm: 658.8 Practical Marketing for Public Libraries. Run by Susan Brown, the marketing director at the Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, KS, 658.8 is a forum for her to share her passion about readers’ services, social media, and marketing and merchandising for public libraries. For more on Ms. Brown, click here.
She regularly posts useful advice and resources which can be quickly understood and implemented by any librarian.
What I like about 658.8 is how she is able to look to the outside world for marketing inspiration, but is constantly making the library specific connections for you. I barely have enough time to help patrons and order new fiction some days. I need to be thinking outside the box for marketing, but honestly, it falls by the wayside to more pressing demands. But by subscribing to 658.8's feed, I don't have to feel bad anymore. I am letting Ms. Brown come up with the ideas and advice, and I can apply it to my specific community. Thank you 658.8.
Anyone working at a public library, but especially those in RA, should check out 658.8.
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