Communications, consulting, Training

2021-2022 Annual Update

It’s been a fun first year of retirement and consulting! What have I learned about establishing an LLC and providing library online training? A lot!

I retired on July 1, 2021, and started my consulting firm, Curtis Rogers Consulting, LLC, on July 2. I created my logo and website, got some business cards I designed using Canva, set up a Facebook page, and started posting more to LinkedIn. I later set up a Twitter account (which I’m still trying to get used to).

I found a wonderful support group of library consultants in the ALA CORE Library Consultant group that meets online every other month. I even served on a panel discussion to talk about what I do and what it’s like being a newbie.

I’ve learned about setting up a Quickbooks account, creating quotes, and sending invoices. It was no surprise that just about everyone I’ve worked with does things differently so my motto has become, “I’m easy to work with”. Whatever they need, I can figure it out. Then again, none of this is rocket surgery…

I finished up a six-year commitment as secretary of the Library Marketing and Communications Conference board and was invited to join the board of the Friends of South Carolina Libraries.

I’m very appreciative to the organizations that have hired me to work with them this past year and also to the ones with whom I have upcoming engagements this fall. Here is a summary of my past and upcoming presentations and webinars:

ALA CORE Interest Group Week
Library Consultants IG Panel presentation – July 2021

Georgia Public Library Services
Series of four webinars in 2022

New England Library Association
Presentation on library signage – October 2021

Friends of South Carolina Libraries
Conference presentation on marketing and
webinar on Friends group resources – March & July 2022

State Library of North Carolina
Series of three webinars in the fall of 2022

Northeast Florida Library Information Network
Series of five webinars – 2021-2022

Southeast Collaborative Conference
Presentation on library signage – March 2022

Tampa Bay Library Consortium
Presentation on communications – November 2022

WebJunction – presentation titled
Library Signage: Effective Crisis Communications on January 27, 2022

If your library or non-profit organization is interested in setting up a webinar on any of the sessions I provide or if you’re interested in me working up a specific session on something you need that’s not on my list, please feel free to send me an email at curtisrogersconsulting@gmail.com. I’m looking forward to what lies ahead in year number 2!




Communications, consulting, Friends of the Library, Training

Friends Group Resources

If you’re a member of your Friends of the Library group, this is a session you won’t want to miss!

As a member of the Friends of SC Libraries board and also as a library training consultant, many times I see that a webinar can serve multiple purposes. It can serve as a tool to educate and can also serve as a tool to promote groups or resources. In the case of my upcoming webinar titled, Friends Group Resources You Don’t Want To Miss, I will show attendees how to access many available free resources in South Carolina and also at the national level, that can help them not only be better Friends but also reinvigorate and renew interest in their own groups.

Did you know that if you live in South Carolina and are 18 years old or older, you can get a free library card at the South Carolina State Library? There are a wealth of online resources and databases you can access with your state library card. Did you know there is a national group called United for Libraries that provides online resources to Friends as well as Trustees?

We will be reviewing how to access these websites and the many resources that are available to Friends groups. Get on track and rejuvenate your Friends of the Library group and register for this webinar today.

What: Friends Group Resources You Don’t Want To Miss webinar

Cost: FREE

When: July 20, 2022, at 2:00 PM

Register online at Eventbrite

Communications, consulting, Training

2022 FOSCL Conference a Success!

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 curtisrogersconsulting@gmail.com.

Screenshot courtesy Jonathan Haupt, Executive Director of the Pat Conroy Literary Center.

Communications, Training

Marketing and PR Skills for Friends Groups

Join me on Saturday, March 26, 2022, for the Annual Friends of South Carolina Libraries (FOSCL) Conference (online or in Mt. Pleasant, SC). Registration is $25 for onsite and $15 for online.

I will be giving a presentation all about marketing and PR silks for Friends groups. 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 basics before you get started promoting your next book sale or other membership event.

Visit the FOSCL event registration page to see a full agenda and sign up today!

Training

Library Learning and Collaboration

Register today for the FREE online SE Collaborative Conference – March 15-17, 2022

I am happy to announce I will be presenting a session titled, Library Signage: The good, the bad, and the ugly, at the third annual SECC online regional conference. My session helps library staff members think critically about their current and future library signage. In this session, I show many examples of library signage and attendees discuss what makes a good sign great and what to consider changing about library signage.

The 2022 Southeast Collaborative Online Conference is a collective effort by the Georgia Public Library Service, State Library of North Carolina, South Carolina State Library, Tennessee State Library & Archives, and the Library of Virginia to offer innovative and useful online learning experiences for library staff at all levels through a convenient online conference.

This year’s conference will utilize the Whova event app to provide more convenient access to sessions and resources for attendees. Webinar recordings and presentation slides for the 2020 and 2021 conferences are available on the About page.

Special thanks to IMLS! This conference is made possible in part by a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the State Library of North Carolina and South Carolina State Library. #SEcollaborativeconference

Communications, Training

Are you reviewing your library’s signage on a regular basis?

On January 27, 2022, I conducted a free webinar for WebJunction titled, Library Signage: Effective Crisis Communications. The most important takeaway is that I wanted attendees to THINK CRITICALLY about each and every sign in their library. Part of this process is to conduct a signage audit.

A great resource on how to do this can be found in Mark Aaron Polger’s recent book, Library Signage and Wayfinding Design.

Learn more about library signage by visiting the WebJunction page for my webinar and please make sure to review your library’s signage on a regular basis.

Communications, Training

Want to make sure your library’s signage hasn’t hit a dead end?

Join me for Library Signage: Effective Crisis Communications at 3:00 pm on January 27, 2022 for a WebJunction webinar and learn about how to get your library’s signage back in shape for the new year!

Good signage in the library helps to create clarity and build awareness, while bad signage can lead to frustration and confusion. Has your library had to implement COVID-related signage? Has there been a review of other temporary and permanent signage? This session will look at recommended types of library signs and address aspects of library signage within crisis communications. We will also address how to conduct a signage audit, the importance of library branding and using templates, and internal communications as they relate to signage. Online resources will be shared and there will be opportunities for Q&A and discussion.

I’m looking forward to talking about library signage with you soon!

Register today at WebJunction.org.

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.