Raising the Reputation of Libraries: SWON's Fall Membership Meeting
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
The reputation of libraries are strongly interwoven. The public library you went to as a child might be in a different city or a different state, but the experiences you had there were important. The books, the programs, the staff helped you connect with books and ideas. I've heard more than a few librarians say that helped put them on a path toward library careers.
This connected reputation is fine when the news from libraries is positive. When people hear that libraries are teaching early literacy skills or digital tools, it sometimes prompts them to check if their local library offers those same programs. That's a great opportunity!
Seeing library programs from other systems that resonate with people can also help you discover programs to try. This is especially true if there are groups you don't often see at your library. If a Halloween costume event for teens is a big success somewhere else, it might be for you too. If you don't already have a strong teen presence in your library, that's a demographic you can seek out, and census data can help you demonstrate that groups who aren't regular patrons are in your service area.
Market segmentation can help you reach specific groups. As you divide your population into smaller segments, you can more clearly identify their interests and needs, and you can spot programs and services that might interest them. Segmentation can improve your marketing, as well. Here's a slightly dated but still useful page about library market segmentation.
Of course, the opposite is also true. When the news about libraries is negative, like the response to the Seattle Public Library's planned branding initiative (reading that really makes me cringe), people in your community might think, "I sure hope that isn't happening here." We are connected. So let's do what we can to raise the collective image of libraries, together.
- Nathan Swartzendruber, SWON Technology Educator
SWON's Fall Membership Meeting
At SWON's Fall Membership Meeting, we'll hear Kim Fender and Greg Edwards talk about innovations the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is putting into practice. A great example is the new Reading Branch, where the meeting will be held, which trades circulation and reference desks for roaming librarians. Changes like these can seem out of reach in various ways, but this talk is designed to show how you can implement them, whatever your library's size or budget. You'll have lots of opportunities to ask questions, as well.
As always, Membership Meetings are where you can hear more about where SWON has been working and what we plan to accomplish in the future. Everyone is welcome to attend. Please join us on December 1st for SWON's Membership Meeting.