I had a great time presenting my session, Marketing & PR Skills for Friends at the recent annual Friends of South Carolina Libraries conference held online and in Mt. Pleasant, SC, at the Wando/Mt. Pleasant Branch Library of the Charleston County Public Library System. You can join FOSCL as an individual member or your Friends Group can join! Learn more at our membership information page.
In my presentation, I talk about how you don’t have to be a graphic designer, webmaster, or user experience designer to effectively promote and market your friends of the library group events, but it is a good idea to have a basic marketing plan and to know a few other basics before you get started promoting your next book sale or other membership events. I also reviewed many additional resources to get your Friends group pointed in the right direction.
From email marketing to social media, this presentation has a lot of points that will get your friends group thinking about creating a marketing plan if there already isn’t one. After my session, there were about 20 minutes of comments and questions! It was great hearing about different scenarios and best practices for promoting friends groups within the communities they serve.
If your friends of the library group is interested in having a 1-hour webinar on this topic, feel free to contact me to set it up! Email me at email@example.com.
Screenshot courtesy Jonathan Haupt, Executive Director of the Pat Conroy Literary Center.
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.
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.
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:
- 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
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.