Marketing library services and targeting them to different user groups has become essential in libraries. We explained in a previous post that marketing is an interesting topic for us all, and in another post how UCL library has approached students with humorous yet informative videos.
Choosing the right marketing tools is important. Some of our tools are similar but there are also differences, and ideas to learn from.
- Brochure and business cards
- Events in the library (“Fagsnack»)
- Info displays
The Medicine and Health library (BMH) has a communication strategy which purpose is to explain and provide guidelines for how to use communications strategically to reach BMH’s overall corporate goals. BMH shares a website on WordPress (bibliotekformedisinoghelse.no) that serves as a common entry page for BMH users, across organizations. This page also links to NTNU and HIST library pages. BMH has common Facebook and Instagram accounts, while the Twitter account is currently only run by NTNU.
- Basic information literacy training open to everybody
- Participation in (future) students events
The most visible marketing effort of the UCL library is the Biblio-Jack project. They have a team that aims to build a new, modern image for the library. The team has made a detailed marketing plan for the project that started in 2013 and has now produced four videos on YouTube and a Biblio-Jack universe in Facebook. In Facebook the characters of videos start discussions in order to invite students to ask and comment.
- Intranets (both university and hospital)
- Info displays
- Leaflets & bookmarks
- Basic information skills training open to all users
- Visits & stands (e.g. welcoming weeks for new students, staff meetings)
UEF library’s current communications plan is for years 2013-2015 including both external and internal communications. Each of the library services — customer services, collection services, internal services, KUH medical library, online resource services, training and information services — has an action plan.
Library services for both students and staff — researchers, professors, health professionals — must also be targeted according to their aims and interests but that is not easy. Analysis of different user groups and their information behaviour and needs has not been conducted in any of our libraries. In NTNU/BMH library a focus group study has been made before moving into the new library (available in Norwegian: Tilgjengelighet, fleksibilitet og kompetanse = Availability, flexibility and competence).
Marketing is an important and interesting field for libraries and libraries should employ also marketing professionals to develop and maintain the strategies and infrastructures for communicating with both individual library users and on organizational level. They can also take the user point of view and act as interpreters between librarian viewpoint and customer needs.
Libraries and library staff are also always marketing when they are communicating with the customers — e.g. at the service desks, when giving courses/training, and other settings, such as formal and informal meetings.