Sunday, August 31, 2008

Come to the Library...

I have been thinking about and talking about self promotion for awhile now.  The new council budget was passed down last week and it was decided that the Library would no longer charge for computer and internet classes.  YEAH!  The question then arose of how to attract people to actually attend the classes.  I mentioned Brisbane Square and the way the Learning Lounge has put aside certain times on certain days for this purpose.  This got me thinking, and reminded me of the post by David Lee King on new ways to think about technology and tools.  What I got out of his blog was connections, and our need for them. 

So, this takes me back to promoting what we do, for example our basic computer and internet classes.  Do we try and sell it as the learning of new technology? (well, that is part of it), but for me it is about the connections.  Come to the Library and learn how to keep in contact with friends and family in far away places.  Come to the Library and we'll teach you how to set up an email account.  Come and bring a friend to share your new learning journey. Come along and laugh and play!  Come and learn how to see the photos of the new baby/wedding that they want to send you.  Come and we'll teach you about Flickr.  Just come to the Library!!

So, my goal at work this week is to ask any interested library staff to come up with five free(or very cheap) ways to promote our computer and internet classes.  I have great faith in the answers I will receive from the many assistants, shelvers, casuals and librarians, and it won't cost a thing!  Except the knowledge that staff are thinking and talking about how we 'do' libraries, and what can be better than that?

Feel free to comment!  You can do so anonymously via the comment box below, or feel free to write your name.  Can't wait to hear your thoughts....


  1. Hey Jo, its Rory. To promote it among youth perhaps you could ask some local schools whether they would allow you to put little adds in their school newsletters. In most cases the news letters would get back to the parents, which would mean even more people knowing about it. The actual wording of the add I dont think is that important, just a few references to what you were saying about it not only being a learning experience but a chance to meet new people, hang out with your mates and have a few laughs should be enticing enough. Are such classes open to staff members :P

  2. What a great comment Rory! I am hoping that these comments will be taken to the staff meetings and librarian's meetings for discussion. I had similar thoughts re youth, why not get them to come and teach us what they know!!

  3. Hey Jo,
    I would think more of the demographic? Its more the older generation trying to keep with their kids or their grandkids who want to know about computers, facebook and emails. No longer are phones the first choice in communication, especially if the grandkids are in different time-zones. In most cases the older generation have kids who know all about emails etc but do not have the patience with their family members. Maybe promote it on bookmarks or like rory said "take it to the schools". Do you want your granny to be your friend on facebook???

  4. Hey Jo, Other than the obvious suggestions of brochures and posters, the only small idea I have is the placement of those things. Instead of putting them at the counter or internet areas, putting them in "hotspots" like the magazine and large print area. Bright colours and big writing help, of course. I am sure you have some brilliant ideas, can't wait to hear them!"

  5. Hi Jo I have some Ideas. There are to many and it is to difficult for me to do it this way. I am a verbalist, it is my prefered method. I have a few notes on paper, so hope to talk very soon.cheers Nat

  6. Jo, My idea is to create a newsletter that is block emailed to customers via the email addresses we collect when we join them up. It would contain not only info on internet classes, but also young peoples, coming events, whats happening at the other branches and other libraries in general. I have no idea if it is even possible.
    Also I thought of a poster for Senior Citz clubs, Bowls Clubs, and retirement village recreation rooms.

  7. Ideas in point form
    *sign writing on "mobile Bus".
    *write with chalk on the pavement out the front of the library.
    *promote on library and TRC websites.
    *sent customers via email and text.
    *media release (it is free)
    *promote info on issues slip/or back and reservation/reminder notices.
    *stand/exhibit in shopping centres/main coucil building/CBD/info centre - James Street.
    *posters for schools and community notice boards.
    *library Orientation day or Open day
    *target groups with a letter such as sporting/religious/cultural groups
    *email TRC staff.
    *lunch and learn sessions (in lunch break)

    just to name a few

  8. Hi Jo. What you're doing here is great...I really admire your energy and enthusiasm! You will go far in your chosen profession, I feel sure, and there is so much ahead for you. Librarianship in Australia is in good hands, if you're a typical student!
    The only thing I want to say here is to confirm what you wrote about library promotion sometimes being found in the smallest things i.e. a genuine smile/ helping an elderly person select books/ just making someone feel better about themselves and their day. I've always firmly believed that the WAY an answer to a query is delivered can be more important than the content of the answer itself. One of our past assistants was on the desk with me one day, and she said "You are always so nice to the customers!"...I took that as a huge compliment! I haven't always found library staff in other libraries to be friendly or approachable, and that totally puts me off asking them anything...and I'm IN the profession...what must the average customer feel?! Anyway...that's my rant!
    Onwards and upwards!

  9. Hi Jo,

    Just puting down what we talked about.

    *Themed posters targeting seniors eg Army photos for Anzac Day promoting keeping or rekindling those friendships, Valentine's Day, Fathers Day etc.

    *Promote the idea of "something for nothing" as opposed to the rising cost of stamps etc.

    *Promote the idea of "seeing the world" through the internet, through museum sites etc.

    As a side note, hopefully the near future will see a library assistant/librarian visit to high schools to pormote our databases etc. I have been wanting to see this happen, and I believe it could pave the way for exciting new technological ventures!

  10. I am really so pleased at how many people have responded, and with the quality of the comments!!! I'm (almost) speechless!! Now if only we're allowed to implement some of these fantastic ideas.....

  11. Brisbane has been trialling some new classes under the banner of E-skills. Some of the classes we have been doing that have been really successful include "Managing your digital photos" which is about organising and labelling photos. We often get a chance to have a look at flickr in these. Introduction to facebook and youtube is really popular as they are often mentioned in the press.

  12. Hey martine , I like the title e-skills -that sounds great! On my prac bris square was just putting the last touches on the digital photo class, and I was lucky enough to sit in and watch. That title is resonating with me though - e-skills.....