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Training

Hard Questions

On November 30, 2021, at 7:00 pm, I spoke to Dr. Clayton Copeland’s Public Library Systems (SLIS 728) class for over an hour about library marketing, promotion, and communications as they relate to public libraries. They really had some wonderful questions!

What I found most interesting was the change in the student dynamics from thirty years ago when I was in library school. Back in the old days, I think there were many more full time students than there are now; however, by looking out into the gallery of zoom video streams, one thing seemed to remain the same: we still have a very white/female dominated profession.

There were many questions revolving around EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) in libraries and how we market to current and potential customers. Through graphic design and changing the view to represent inclusivity, we can do a better job of reaching out to all. While libraries have always been open to all, in the past we have not done that great a job of making sure our promotional pieces give a true depiction of the community segments we are trying to reach and we need to make a conscious effort to continue to change that.

A few takeaway resources I mentioned during the class session are as follows:

Here is a compilation of many of the questions along with my responses:

Communications

#LMCC21 and Professional Rejuvination

Now that I’m a library consultant and retired from the day-to-day library world, this conference was more important than I imagined it would be. Sometimes you need to be immersed in a subject for a few days to think of new ways to address issues and topics. The Library Marketing and Communications two-day virtual conference filled the void. Even though I’m retired and now consulting, I still serve on the board of the LMCG, which helps the conference, but more importantly, helps me stay involved in the profession. I attended some great sessions and moderated two. Here you will find a compilation of posts to my LinkedIn feed about those sessions. #LMCC22 will be held in Indianapolis in November so be sure to sign up for conference emails and find us on social.

  1. Here is a great takeaway from the first session of the #LMCC21 – check out the NLW toolkit the Georgia Public Library Service put together for their state. https://georgialibraries.org/nlw-toolkit/
  2. Attending the #LMCC21 and hearing from Anna Moorehouse at The University of British Columbia Library about Story-Based Communications at her concurrent session. Here is a story they published on their library’s website to effectively communicate with their library patrons. https://about.library.ubc.ca/2020/05/08/how-ubc-library-is-supporting-the-ubc-community-during-the-current-covid-19-outbreak/
  3. Moderating a session at #LMCC21 with Tina Thomas of Edmonton Public Library for her talk about opening up a shiny new library during COVID-19. Amazing how the communications had to be adjusted when the new building was viewed as ugly by the public. Turning it into a “Think Tank” was a great example of how to go with the flow! https://www.epl.ca/milner-library/#look-inside
  4. Attending an interesting session at #LMCC21 on live streaming by Daniel Cuthbert from the Lansing Public Library. “If the pandemic taught us anything, it taught us how precious and challenging it was to have spaces…” other than our physical locations. Can check out their videos on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWJqXZkk0SnPbiBUbolBIFQ
  5. Listening to the Day 2 Keynote at #LMCC21 with Fobazi Ettarh (I’m not a morning person either!) presenting Vocational Awe and the Art of Selling Libraries. Session takeaway: If the library is a safe space for hate groups, then the library is only a safe space for hate groups. If libraries are truly the last bastion of democracy, then we need to truly present that and pay close attention to critiques and think critically about what we do, what we portray we do, and how we can be truly inclusive. Toxic positivity is a real thing and we should practice being more authentic as library marketers and communicators. Learn more about Vocational Awe and related library issues at https://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2018/vocational-awe/
  6. Moderating a great session today for #LMCC21 – Partnering with Local Organizations to Promote Libraries and Increase Cardholders with Kari Lapp and Jordan Reynolds from the Saline County Library. Learning about the importance of partnerships with local organizations and businesses, using QR codes in monthly magazines and rack cards, etc. I also think this session has been a great example of what libraries can do by hiring NON-LIBRARIAN marketing professionals! Hire marketing staff with marketing degrees and backgrounds. They can learn the library stuff later 🙂 Check out their News page on their library website at https://www.salinecountylibrary.org/news
  7. Attending an interesting session at #LMCC21 titled Creative Approaches to Promoting Libraries Through Non-Traditional Partnerships with Nicholas Alexander Brown from the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System. Learning about converting participants to advocates, reaching out to influencers for the long term, creating high visibility moments, and even partnering with local sports teams. Learn more about their library at https://www.pgcmls.info/about-us

Communications

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.

Communications, Training

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.

Uncategorized

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.

Communications

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.

Training

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.

consulting, Training

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.

consulting

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.