Online Outreach: 2.0 Marketing Strategies for Libraries

Aaron Schmidt and Sarah Houghton-Jan

Rather than blogging every single slide, I am pulling out key notes that can apply to my specific library. 

Make your library website two-way.  This will allow them to give feedback.  We allow this on our blogs, which are moderated.  Also, our FAQs allow for users to submit questions. 

Blurring of jurisdictional lines.  Online, everyone’s patrons are your patrons.  Personally, I get questions quite often from people from other universities and even other countries.  This is often very difficult for academic libraries to try, as many only want to serve their own patrons.  Often this is the result of license restrictions, but I imagine it is still a mostly cultural thing. 

Is your library on Wikipedia?  Perhaps your library should be on the page for your town.  I just added our local libraries on the Athens, Ohio page in the Community Web Links.

List your library in a wireless directory.  wifi411, jwire, wi-fi zone, etc.

Solicit email addresses with sign-up sheets so that users can opt in for newsletters, etc.

What about experimenting with SMS reference service?  How would we staff it?  Would we just have a librarian carry “the SMS phone” for the duration of their shift?  Can librarians get their libraries to help pay for a texting plan?  This seems like our next avenue that we need to go in, but the details need to be worked out. 

Should academic librarians be using Twitter?  Would students read it?  What sort of things would we Twitter at the library?  I have a Twitter feed  that I used and embedded on my wiki and blog, but took it down once I started posting personal things (updates of the kids, etc).  Perhaps I need to revisit the idea for reference and work stuff. 


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