Build Library Awareness by Engaging Your Community - ARSL 2013
10/06/2013 04:45:00 PM | Author: Christa
Jennifer Powell, Geek the Library

Association for Rural & Small Libraries 2013 Annual Conference

September 26, 2013

Awareness and Engagement

Advocacy – is a conversation. Taking your library anywhere you go out in the community and talking it up. This is basic advocacy. Libraries are a brand. Market the total value of the library – everything you do that community might not know about.

Change the library perception. Educate the public about how the library is funded. About 70% of elected officials think the library is amply funded.

Show that the library is transformational, not just informational.

Talk about how your library is the total package for the community.

Only 37% of voters say they would support library at the ballot box – From Awareness to Funding, OCLC Report, 2008.

What’s the answer? Create internal and external library advocates.

Keep the library on your mind all year round. Pop-up libraries – take the library on the road – farmers markets, grocery store. Anywhere people gather – many supporters may never use the library, but will support it during voting time.

Make connections. Go to city council meetings, Kiwanis, influential community members. Get them to talk up the library.

Integrate messaging. Talk to a variety people in a variety of ways.

Share statistics to show where funding comes from. Expenditures, Circulation, Programming.

Use social media.

Capture and feature compelling stories. Tell why your library is making a vibrant community and what you have to offer. Highlight and showcase your library.

Empower your staff. They can be your biggest advocates.

Create library advocates in your community. What’s important to your community members? The library supports it.

Geek the Library – FREE community awareness campaign.

Three prong approach:
  1. Create awareness
  2. Generate engagement – get out into your community
  3. Encourage action 
Bill and Melinda Gates have given the campaign 4 grants. Looking for 1000 more libraries to sign up by June 2015. Staff will help you with marketing plan. Training for staff.

Campaign Kits:

Table skirt. T-shirts. Sticker rolls. CMC – campaign management center. Templates for customizable press release, artwork logos, posters, bags, bookmarks, handouts, postcards, videos. All freely downloadable. – consumer site. Quiz. Downloadable screen savers. – to sign up to get a kit. Gives access to CMC. They send you a PPT on thumb drive to explain program to staff, board.

Planning – field mangers to help you create a marketing plan. Plan to run the campaign for 6-12 month to make a lasting impact in community.

Localize – find and highlight someone whose life has been changed by the library. Put their face on your signs. Select recognizable people in your community to create interest in the library. Ask these people to be spokespeople for your library.

Go to community events with the table skirt; bring library info, stickers, bookmarks.

Library Events – Geek the Library Week, National Library Week. Geek of the Week. Adapt library programs to use the “Geek” template.

Campaign requirements:
  • Participate in a programming webinar.
  • Activate your CMC account. 
  • Complete a short survey before you launch and when you end. 
  • Notify them when you launch and end.
You don’t have to get a grant to participate – just sign up.

Accepting enrollments thru June 2014. Program materials will be available till June 2015. But you can keep going after that, just have to produce the materials yourself.

Flickr – Geek the Library pool.

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