How has your library dealt with COVID-19 related signage?

How has your library dealt with COVID-19 related signage?

Your public, academic, or school library has probably had to deal with increased COVID-19 signage. Have you branded it or just printed out what the CDC or local health authority has recommended? Is there any continuity to the signage? Are you using clip art of masks, syringes, and viruses to get your point across? Whatever signage you post in the library, make sure you think critically about the message you are conveying.

The most important aspect of COVID-19 signage at your library is to properly yet briefly convey the message to the reader. People usually don’t take time to read signs. When dealing with health issues, we need to be particularly helpful!

Here are some tips for COVID-19 signs at your library:

  • Use polite language,
  • don’t be verbose (get to the point in as few words as possible),
  • always add your library’s logo/branding,
  • don’t have any typos and use correct grammar,
  • make sure that fonts and font sizes are ADA compliant,
  • and use images that support the content.

Some great online resources to COVID-19 signs as well as additional resources for your library:

The most important tip is to keep your COVID-19 library signs as up-to-date as possible. Make sure your signage is not too time-sensitive so that you don’t have to replace it too often. Also, make sure that it’s part of someone’s job to regularly assess the overall library signage and make adjustments as needed.

The Sign Removal Test

The Sign Removal Test

Years ago, when I conducted library signage audits around South Carolina, I developed a useful tool called the Sign Removal Test. While I was conducting an audit, I had a conversation with a front desk staff member at a public library who asked how to deal with signs she thought were not being read or were not serving any real purpose. I responded with a spontaneous idea and recommended she remove the sign for two weeks and track whether or not anyone noticed. This resulted in the Sign Removal Test.

As you evaluate your library’s signs, if there is a particular sign you’re just not that sure about, remove it for two weeks and see if anyone notices or asks questions that the sign addressed. If you feel the sign needs to be reposted, then repost it; however, I will bet you that 9 out of 10 times, the sign won’t have to be posted again. Give it a try!

If your library system is looking for online training sessions about library signage, feel free to contact me and set up a day and time for my library signage session. Also, check out the other online training sessions I offer on my training page.

What are the benefits of outsourcing training for your library staff?

What are the benefits of outsourcing training for your library staff?

Online training is easy and convenient! If you only need a training session that lasts 60-90 minutes, I’ve got a wide variety of topics I can provide.

Some of the benefits are:

  • You get a recording of the session so staff members who cannot attend can view the session on their own schedule.
  • There is always time for Q&A.
  • Sessions can be customized to your library’s specific needs.
  • Online training saves you money since there are no travel expenses.

Here is a list of topics I can provide training on:

  • Communication Skills, Personality Types, and Networking
  • Library Signage/Library Image
  • How to be a Successful Library Trustee/Board Member
  • How to be a Successful Library Friend/Friends Group
  • Photography Basics for PR and Marketing
  • Thinking Forward-Revitalizing Your Keeping Up Habits
  • Meeting Facilitation and Meeting Facilitation Skills Training

Feel free to email me so we can set up a zoom session to discuss training opportunities for your library or library system.

How well do your library staff members communicate?

How well do your library staff members communicate?

Part of the key to effective library communication skills is understanding how the receiver receives the information and how the deliverer delivers the information. How well do you know other library staff members’ personality types and how they prefer to receive information? Have you considered how you sound when delivering information or providing directions, reference information, or just having a casual conversation?

According to 16personalities.com, you can “learn what really drives, inspires, and worries different personality types, helping you build more meaningful relationships.” While there are many personality types, there are 16 main types that we discuss during my Communication Skills for Library Staff online training session. This workshop can be 60 minutes long or 90 minutes for more interactive exercises.

By learning some simple skills and techniques, networking with colleagues in person or online doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating. In this session, attendees will take a close look at various personality types and communication styles. The more you know about personality types and communication styles can make almost any interaction a pleasant one. Online resources will be provided and there will be opportunities for Q&A and discussion.

If you need this session customized to a particular communication issue at your library, I’ll be happy to discuss it with you! Contact me at curtisrogersconsulting@gmail.com to set up a zoom training session for your library staff today.

Photography Basics for Library PR and Marketing

Photography Basics for Library PR and Marketing

Nowadays, just about everyone has a camera in their pocket. Smartphone photography has come a long way; however, many people don’t even know the basics for making a great photo. Here are a few basic steps to making a great image with your smartphone:

  1. Make sure your smartphone lens is clean. We keep our phones in pockets, backpacks, purses, etc., and repeatedly touch the lenses. It’s a good idea to keep a lens cloth handy to wipe your smartphone lens before you use it. If you ever wonder why your smartphone images are cloudy or look hazy, it’s most likely the lens is dirty.
  2. Take multiple photos and select the best one to edit. Image composition can change greatly just by moving your camera by a foot or more so move around and take lots of photos to see how your composition changes.
  3. Use your smartphone’s editing tools or an image editing app such as Camera+ to crop and adjust the colors or to add a filter.

There are some wonderful tutorials on YouTube as well as some interesting photography magazines and books available at your public library’s website (usually on Overdrive or similar library service). Here are a few you might be interested in:

  1. Photography Basics in 10 Minutes (YouTube) – this is a great overview of photography basics to try shooting your photos in manual mode. Many people with a good digital camera will use the auto feature, but it’s important to experiment with various settings.
  2. 8 IMPORTANT Composition Tips for Better Photos (YouTube) – this video will make you think more about how to frame an image and how light and background play a part in photography. The key is to practice and take time to learn more about your own feelings when it comes to what makes a great image.
  3. Amateur Photographer – this is a British magazine that provides articles on equipment reviews, photographic technique, and also shares profiles of professional photographers. Check your local public library to see if you can access it online for free through Overdrive/Libby.

The image I created for this post was first taken with my Canon EOS RP digital mirrorless camera, then edited in Pixlr Express, then the quote was added in Canva. Once you know how to use some of these tools, you can create great images for your library use on social media to promote your library’s programs and events. If you’re interested in a training session for your library staff on how to take better photos for your library’s marketing and PR, contact me at curtisrogersconsulting@gmail.com.

How does your Library Friends Group succeed?

How does your Library Friends Group succeed?

When you hear the phrase, “Friend of the Library”, do you think of a person or a group of people or both? A library’s Friend group is one that supports the library (academic or public or other). That’s it. It’s that simple. But where it’s not simple, is in all the details.

The Friends of the Library group first needs a mission. Here are some mission samples (from the United for Libraries website):

  • To support and cooperate with the Library in developing, maintaining, and enhancing facilities, resources, and services for the public.
  • To support the freedom to read as expressed in the American Library Association Bill of Rights.
  • To highlight the library’s role in enhancing the University as a top-ranked institution in the state and nation.
  • To seek support for the library through monetary gifts and gifts of materials such as books, manuscripts, and art.
  • To provide additional money for library materials, equipment, and/or services from funds received through payment of dues for various types of memberships.

After finding its mission, the group needs a lot more to succeed. Groups need active members, bylaws, tax-exempt status, membership dues structure, branding/logo design, a communications plan, and a programming committee – just to name a few.

If your library needs guidance, information, and training to start or reinvigorate your Friends group, I can assist. Contact me and we can discuss how to make your Friends group the best it can be.

Is GIS for you?

Is GIS for you?

I’ve always enjoyed maps and understand their importance. As an undergrad, I decided to get a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from the University of South Carolina. I was a geography nerd for sure! I was president of USC’s chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon (ΓΘΥ), the international honor society in geography, and even completed an internship in computer cartography at Research Planning in Columbia, SC. I also was awarded the Julian J. Petty award for excellence in geography in 1990 from the USC Department of Geography, which still hangs on my wall to this day. 

The love of maps transferred to my library work and I would play around with websites like Zee Maps and Google Maps to map out county library branches when I would visit to provide library signage audits. While working at the SC State Library, I was able to recruit a geography friend to help the library create an interactive map of all South Carolina public library outlets

It’s a lot of fun to explore these library locations but it’s also important to have accurate information. If you’re interested in mapping your library locations, check out Zee Maps and Google Maps and watch some overview videos to get you started making specialized maps for your library system. The options are endless and you can add links to maps from your library’s website and also embed them. And you can always hire someone with GIS experience to build maps for you. Reach out to a college or university near you to see if they have a GIS program and find out how you can hire a GIS expert to help put your library on the map.

Restroom Signage and the Captive Audience

Restroom Signage and the Captive Audience

I’ve always wondered why there isn’t more signage in library restrooms. Libraries can take advantage of captive audiences by regularly updating signage on the back of stall doors and above urinals. Many people don’t really even like to think or talk about this, but it’s a great way to promote your library’s upcoming events, book clubs, and other library-related programs.

Remember these tips when creating restroom signage:

  • Use eye-catching graphics
  • Don’t use too much verbiage
  • For calendars of events, remember to update weekly or monthly
  • Update restroom signage prior to opening or after closing
  • Update the staff restrooms as well as the public restrooms
  • Use acrylic sign holders with suction cups so they can periodically be removed and cleaned
  • Always use your library’s logo and branding
  • Try to stick with your library’s brand color scheme

Share your library’s restroom signage thoughts and ideas with a comment. What works well and what would you do differently given the opportunity?

What is a Public Library Signage Audit – and why is it so important?

What is a Public Library Signage Audit – and why is it so important?

Library signage sets the tone not only of the individual library branch, but also of the whole county library system. All library signage should be positive, brief, and consistent. The following are both positive and negative library signage general rules of thumb:

Positive

  • Polite language
  • Not verbose – get to the point
  • Consistently use library logo/branding
  • No typos
  • Correct grammar
  • Font and font size
  • Image that supports content

Negative

  • Handwritten
  • Too many words
  • Clip art (try to use photography if possible)
  • Comic sans font (use font that is similar to the library’s standard font selection/branding)
  • Passive aggressive
  • Too many colors
  • Too much going on

A library signage audit is not only an audit of the library’s signs, but it may also relate to the library’s internal and external image including printed materials, customer service, grounds, and community perceptions.

During the signage audit, photographs will be taken of most of the library branch’s signs. Later, a visual report will be created with a list of what your branch is doing well and recommendations for what to change. The report may be used to look more closely at each library branch’s signage and make decisions about the type of signage that may be best suited to that community’s needs.

Does your library need a signage audit or signage training? If so, contact me and I’ll be glad to discuss it with you: curtisrogersconsulting@gmail.com.