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!
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 email@example.com to set up a zoom training session for your library staff today.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
Are you looking for an amazing online library marketing and communications conference? Look no further, this conference will have everything! Be sure to follow #LMCC21 and get on the email list. Learn more at LMCC21 Conference website.
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?
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:
Not verbose – get to the point
Consistently use library logo/branding
Font and font size
Image that supports content
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)
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.
Are you interested in an online training session? I can customize the perfect training session for your library staff, trustees, or friends group. Sessions take place via zoom and can be for up to 100 attendees. While working for the South Carolina State Library, I conducted many different training sessions both online and in-person. Here is a recorded session titled, Library Signage: the good, the bad, and the ugly. And here is another session I developed to help library staff members develop networking skills based on understanding personality types titled, Networking Skills for Library Staff.
I thoroughly enjoy providing training to library staff members and am happy to work with you on creating the perfect training session for you! Feel free to contact me today to discuss your library’s needs.