We wanted to start the year on a good foot. So we thought, why not have a little fun and do some sharing!?
Earlier in January 2020, RAILS hosted a seven-day celebration of libraries promoting themselves. We called it the My Library Is… Facebook Challenge! Each day, we posted a prompt with a different challenge. For example, we asked to hear more about the plans and tools libraries use to tell their story. Thank you to everyone who participated! Here are some things that we learned:
Libraries are focused on creating a better picture of how taxpayer money is spent. Many libraries said that they use words like learning, education, community, and access when describing the work that they do. One commenter suggested that all libraries use ALA's The E's of Libraries® as advocacy tools.
Many commenters noted that their marketing starts with their regular quarterly or monthly newsletter. At Schaumburg Township District Library, one ongoing service or resource is featured each month. This allows patrons to learn about new resources and show how they are bringing value to the community. You can learn more about Schaumburg's marketing plan in the My Library Is... Sharing Showcase.
Many libraries are choosing to promote their programs and services using short videos. For example, Quincy Public Library uses video to describe the work of different departments. Plainfield Public Library even created a 2019 greatest hits video!
Print is a staple of library promotions. Many libraries use fliers and posters to advertise events, services, or simply the role of the library in the community. Schaumburg Township District Library produced a section of their annual report called "Bringing Value" which described in detail how the library is performing.
When it comes to social media, there are many options for libraries. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or others, libraries are seeking engaging ideas to connect to their community. Lincolnwood Public Library District has grown its Instagram following through a series of fun posts like #NewBookTuesday and #BookFaceFriday.
Attracting the attention of local media can boost the message beyond typical library audiences. While finding the right angle is tough, it pays to make the effort. When Northbrook Public Library uses press releases, they include photos and other supporting information, as well as taking care to link to the library's website for more information.
Capturing the individual experience of patrons can be one of the most effective methods for marketing and advocacy. Many other libraries use surveys and feedback forms to gather stories. Northbrook Public Library recently used stories to help promote the availability of volunteer opportunities in the library. Learn more about how to capture patron stories through the My Library Is... campaign stories section.