2008-05-06T19:19:09.873-04:00After reading the last post, Andrew kindly sent me a suggestion to have a library hacks wiki. I like the idea of sharing information via a wiki that anyone can edit, but am not so keen on idea of creating a brand new wiki that people will most likely ignore. I instantly thought of the Library Success Wiki as a better way to do this.
(just when you thought this blog was officially dead, I’m baaaaaack. Can’t say for how long, I just happen to have a bee in my bonnet again).
After being inspired by meeting conversation, I was on the hunt again today for fun, quick and easy, tips and tricks to share with our end users about OhioLINK resources. Preferably something that tells users how to find cool things in our databases that they don't know about. Things like this Trouble picking the perfect present? blog post which shows how to find consumer reports in EBSCOhost. This should be easy to find at library and vendor Web sites everywhere right? Wrong. Well, maybe I’m not looking in the right place, but they’re not, and not being a librarian, I don’t always know the resources well enough to come up with them. In fact, I’m feeling stumped right now.
I did however find one inspirational blog, Library Hacks, by Duke University Libraries. Inspired by LifeHacker, Library Hacks:
“Library Hacks is a place to find out about tools, resources, services, and ideas that can help make the library more efficient for you. It’s written mostly by librarians, but we’ll also have occasional student and faculty guest bloggers.”
The Cell Phones for Citation post has already given me some ideas. Maybe if I take pictures of my mileage I won't forget it!
It’s good stuff, but shouldn’t there be more tips floating around out there. Help me out, what are your favorite library and library database hacks?
2008-01-08T21:08:47.881-05:00As a major IKEA fan (try the Daim chocolate. Go on. It's impossible not to love it.), I have to say that Mark Malkoff is living my dream. This is just brilliant publicity for IKEA, but how many other stores would have said yes to this? (though I can't help wondering if it was really completely Malkoff's idea in the first place. It's just such great publicity!)
2007-12-10T17:41:41.344-05:00Since many librarians prefer not to toot their own horns, why not let your customers sing your praises for you? Last week’s Get to the Po!nt e-newsletter was a great reminder that we need to make it easy for happy customers to compliment us. The newsletter referenced a post at Andy Sernovitz’s interesting Damn! I Wish I’d Thought of That! blog (subscribed!) and included Sernvitz’s tips for opening the door to positive feedback:
- Let customers leave compliments on an "Employee Thank You" wall stocked with paper, pencils and thumbtacks.
- Ask your customers to vote in the Employee of the Month contest.
- Put your Web site's feedback form in a prominent location.
- Invite free-form comments on post-purchase surveys. "You're not going to get praise from a multiple-choice question," writes Sernovitz.
2007-11-01T20:34:34.339-04:00OCLC just published another must-read report, Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World. This report summarizes the findings from an international study on online social spaces, including social networking attitudes and habits of both end users and librarians. It explores social participation and cooperation on the Internet and how it may impact the library’s role, including:
One interesting tidbit from the report: Internet activity keeps going up. Search engine use increased from 71% to 90%. E-mail use grew from 73% to 97%. And the use of blogs, went from 16% to 46% in 18 months. While all those activities keep going up, up up, use of library Web sites dropped from 30% in 2005 to 20% in 2007. Sure different populations and even a few different nationalities were surveyed in the two reports, but still that stat is worth some thought.
Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World follows on the heels of another must-read OCLC report, College Students’ Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources.
2007-09-20T22:01:18.735-04:00Marketing-ish Think piece: Harry Beckwith's 40 tidbits on what motivates people. Beckwith is the author of the great Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing (a must-read) and other marketing books.
2007-09-13T17:35:14.357-04:00Speaking of videos, during some video contest research (cough *stay tuned* cough) I stumbled upon the SPARC Discovery Awards Competition. Videos should "demonstrate or illustrate what you see as the value of sharing information, ideas and knowledge." The winner will receive $1,000 and a "fabulous Sparky Award statuette." Two runners up will each get $500.
2007-08-08T21:23:16.771-04:00Publicity Hound Joan Stewart's latest tips of the week include some good advice on what not to do if you hope to ever get publicity and how to keep your message clear when talking to reporters.
2007-08-01T20:25:59.219-04:00I found Elizabeth's blog, Elizabeth Leonard on Libraries, yesterday. It's definitely worth a visit. She has a lot of good marketing points and tips.
2007-08-01T20:04:24.157-04:00I spent a lot of time thinking about what makes a good brochure while re-designing OhioLINK's brochures. Some of the tips I found really resonated with me, in fact they resonated enough that I was able to see our current brochure with fresh eyes and give it the overhaul it desperately needed.
2007-07-30T17:55:22.545-04:00I keep meaning to post something about Get to the Po!nt, Marketing Prof's newish e-newsletter. Well, actually I keep meaning to post something period, but, I digress. Anyway, back to the Po!nt, ignore the tagline "small business secrets in 60 seconds," this e-newsletter has great tips for anyone who cares about marketing and promotion period.
2007-05-17T18:10:00.712-04:00Are you confused about branding? Not sure branding is important for libraries? Then you definitely need to read Branding: How to Keep Your Practice from Being Plain Vanilla by Stewart Gandolf and Lonnie Hirsh. Yes, it's geared toward dentists, but the concepts are the same no matter what business you're in. This is a very clear and helpful article. They've stripped out the marketing jargon and added in a lot of good tips, such as:Everything must tie together - from how your phone is answered, how long patients wait, and your choice of uniforms ... to your technology, your manner, your location (signage, building, entrance, furniture, colors of the walls), which services you promote, and much more. If you decide you want to be the “leading-edge dentist in town,” you can’t limp along with a 1970s Brady Bunch look-alike office. All of that is so true for libraries too. If librarians and staff wish to be perceived as research and information professionals, then that image needs to be reinforced in everything, from the customer service you provide, to the publications you produce and yes, even down to the clothes you wear. When I was an intern at a credit union, the president explained that dress-down days and casual clothing weren't ever allowed because we were in the trust business. Who are you more likely to trust with your hard-earned cash, the uber-professional in a crisp suit and tie, or someone in jeans and a t-shirt? While I like to wear jeans to work as much as the next person (more probably), he was right.The article also offers are some critical brand-building points to consider: Start with the patient’s value system...Effective branding communicates to the tastes, attitudes, and sensibilities of the buyer, not the seller. This is one we often miss. Talk about the benefits patrons will receive (save time, money, hassle), do research at home in your pjs, or get a better grade on your paper. Identify a value-added edge over the competition. What is highly unique about your practice that delivers value to the patient over and above whatever else is available in the marketplace? Whatever issue you choose to compete upon, it needs to be the one thing that best characterizes the experience, and has to be the centerpiece for everything you do and say about the practice. Be willing to offend someone. By definition, your positioning must be unique; therefore, you cannot be everything to everyone. The challenge will be to appeal to many, while recognizing that your positioning cannot be universal. Being everything to everyone is not unique, and that’s the same as vanilla. Guard your brand zealously. Once you’ve created your brand, you should beware of the trap of carrying the message banner for others. Deliver a consistent experience. People prefer consistent quality to nasty surprises, and a brand isn’t really a brand if the practice doesn’t deliver a consistent, high-quality experience. That’s why it’s easy to understand why budget-minded American students traveling through Europe often pass on local fare to eat at McDonald’s. Remember, just a few negative experiences can blow your brand credibility and betray the trust you’ve worked so hard to build. Deliver consistent branded communications. In addition to delivering consistent in-office experiences, you must effectively communicate your brand message at every marketing opportunity. This means your Yellow Pages ad, Web site, brochures, etc. (Our next article will cover practice brochures, which should be the foundation of your marketing and branding communic[...]
2007-05-11T17:24:11.465-04:00I just read about Gale's 'I Love My Library' video contest in the Library Hotline. The contest is open to both librarians and library users. This seems like a good thing to tell library users about. I wish I had seen it earlier (you'd think $10 grand would generate some buzz) but there's still two weeks left to enter.
2007-04-29T22:00:35.200-04:00Have any libraries or library organizations been successful in raising funds via GoodSearch?
2007-04-26T17:46:48.260-04:00My customer service kick continues. Here are some links to other good stuff worth sharing:
2007-04-26T17:45:45.921-04:00After reading my Determinants of Delight post, Patrick Graham, director of the Pitts Theology Library at Emory University, wrote to share his positive experience of turning to the hospitality industry for customer service advice. Graham invited Stuart Newmark, Sr. VP of Operations for the Kessler Collection (a group of about 10 boutique hotels), to come talk to his librarians and staff about what they refer to as “customer care.”Mr. Newmark, did a four hour workshop for all of our staff--catalogers to IT to reference staff. It was a big hit and we continue to work through what we learned that day and look for appropriate application/translation from the hospitality industry to that of academic libraries. He left us a copy of a book that had been critical for the culture that they aim for in their hotels, Positively Outrageous Service, and I've found it both inspirational and helpful.I asked Pat if he would share the memorable points from that talk and he graciously did.It's important to make an emotional connection with customersNeed to be passionate about customer serviceService culture is not just a technique, and it comes much easier for some than others. Important comments regarding hiring of the right staff; he talked about the importance of hiring people who really care about others and see service as an honor or privilege; if you make a mistake in hiring and cannot cultivate the employee into the type of person needed, you need to do both of yourselves a favor and send the person on his/her way.The customer is NOT always right, but is always the customer. Allow the customer to be wrong with dignity.Continuously evaluate & seek feedback; aim for a zero defect policy. Celebrate the successes of your staff--via public recognition, small gifts, etc.Aim to create WOW moments.Always try to answer Yes--unless the request is immoral, unethical or unsafe.Empower your staff to make decisions to respond to unusual circumstances (and train them so that they can do this well).Discussion of core valuesGraham shared more tips about the talk:We had our staff develop of list of almost 20 questions that we'd like him to address--many relate to challenges we face in our library work--and enjoyed having him work through them with us.We created a Client Care task force and blog back in the fall and have now instituted a Positively Outrageous Service button so that our staff can commend one another for examples of positively outrageous service. I think we'll share the contributions at our monthly staff meetings and draw one for a complimentary $5 Starbucks gift card. We'll see how that works.The Pitts Library also created the Client Care at Pitts blog to support their discussions. Check it out for more resource links.Thanks, Pat, for sharing this great idea. I often think libraries can learn from other industries, it's great to have this positive example to share. On a personal note, I really appreciate every comment and e-mail I receive here, they inspire me to keep blogging (see this is two posts in one month! A record as of late). So if you feel the slightest twinge of desire to leave feedback, please do so.[...]
2007-04-10T20:12:06.216-04:00*updated 4/10/07Sooner or later everyone has to ask for a favor or pitch a complete stranger via e-mail. I’m sure no one does this with the intention of doing it badly, but lately I’ve been on the receiving end of some less than stellar examples of e-mail pitches. So I'm taking this opportunity to jot down some tips to keep in mind when writing a pitch e-mail, or any e-mail really.First, a quick note on the jargon. I’m using the word pitch to cover a lot of possibilities: the sales pitch, the media pitch (where you try to interest a reporter or editor in a story), even the idea pitch. Then there is the favor pitch, for lack of a better term, where you ask someone to do you a favor, pass along some information, provide information to you, etc. There are oodles of tips for media pitches online and they’re worth reading, but many of those tips should apply to ANY e-mail you send.Here are some things to keep in mind:Just say no to attachments! Some people may not mind them, but it's best to play it safe. Don’t send an attachment to someone who doesn’t know you. Attachments take time to download, take time to open in another program, and are used to transmit viruses. Today I received a sales pitch e-mail, but all it had was an attached PDF file and contact information. Now I’m nosy, so I did open it. The PDF was just a list of the company's services. These could have easily been incorporated into the body of the e-mail.State the desired action. A good pitch should include a specific call to action. Are you sending information that you hope this person forward to an e-mail list, publish in their newsletter, or just as an FYI? Include a polite, but specific request. I receive press releases in both my work and personal e-mail accounts that do not include context or introductory information and I'm not sure why I'm receiving them in the first place. These get deleted because I don't have time to figure it out. But if someone sends me relevant information and asks me to pass it along I'll always do so.Get the right information to the right person. Sending unsolicited information to someone who doesn’t want it is spamming them. No one likes spam, so don’t send it. Not everyone will be interested in everything you send, that’s ok, but don’t send things that are completely irrelevant.Be wary of HTML and graphics. This may just be a personal pet peeve, but I feel strongly that HTML e-mails that use multiple typefaces, type sizes, bold, italics, and colors just end up distracting from your message. Any one of these techniques can be used rarely and tastefully to help enhance your message, but remember that less is definitely more in this area.I’m sure you’ve all heard the warnings about how different e-mail software displays these things differently, and some people and organizations have settings turned to not display HTML or images. A nicely designed, well-formatted HTML e-mail is fine, but these are rare. If you must use these techniques, be sure to include a link so recipients can view it online.Keep it simple! If completing your call to action is too complicated or confusing, then your message will be ignored. For example, I recently received an audio card. Usually I won’t open these things, but this one had a good headline on some information I wanted to know and since there was no text, I had no choice but to listen. I clicked and was taken to a Web site. I had to search for the appropriate link and click again, which I did. I was then taken to a page with no cle[...]
2007-04-26T17:46:14.067-04:00I know I'm (at least) a month behind, but if you haven't looked at the February 2007 issue of College & Research Libraries News, there are several articles that may be of interest. And this is news to me, but now you can get the full-text articles online! Cool. When did that happen?!
2007-03-16T16:30:17.161-04:00Excuse me while I stray from the marketing topic, but since I haven't been around to be on or off topic, I figure anything is better than nothing. ;)
2007-01-17T19:03:41.386-05:00When your posts aren't noticed, or when they're noticed for all the wrong reasons? Case in point here. That'll teach me to post embarrassing stories.