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Communicating with Users Group

Meeting Notes - January 24, 2005

Communicating with Users

Meeting Notes from January 24, 2005

Reports from Members

  1. The Information Station is not in operation at present but will be back out on campus mid-semester at paper-writing time.
  2. E-reserves use continues to rise.   Angela is providing training for interested faculty.   A session for library staff was given at the end of the semester

ALA Reports

  1. Marina attended a pre-conference on marketing.   There was a focus on knowing users and their needs through methods such as an environmental scan.   The need for mission and goals to be on target and consistent with marketing efforts was stressed as was the need to continue to re-evaluate efforts.   Developing and implementing a marketing plan is a 2-3 year project.   Unfortunately, the pre-conference didn’t address implementation.   Marina noted two useful web sites from Syracuse University and Gale.
  2. Carol reported on a discussion of marketing at the Heads of Public Service at Academic Research Libraries meeting and an interesting discussion on academic library outreach.   See attachments at end of these notes.
  3. Chelsea is a member of the GODORT Membership Committee which is offering a Pre-conference in Chicago. Many of the issues and goals are similar to what we are trying to achieve.

READ Posters

Barbara asked for additional suggestions for READ posters.   She will investigate Mary Collins in IFAS Soils who was recently elected president of her professional organization.   Various students and alumni were suggested including Bob Graham.   Another possibility is Dean Jett, head of the International Center.

Traveling Exhibits

The group discussed traveling exhibits as focal points for increasing awareness of the libraries.   Chelsea is investigating one on Jewish History.   She will talk further with Bob Singerman.


Library participation in campus and community events was discussed.   There is a need for a useful campus master calendar to assist with planning.   For examples, the Medical School is going to be celebrating its 50 th anniversary.   There are many opportunities for working with local organizations.

Another suggestion, which we support and will proceed with, is showcasing new faculty publications – perhaps on a quarterly basis.   This is an ideal opportunity for a donor-supported series.


The library will again sponsor a Readathon this year.   Several suggestions were made as ways to attract readers.

Strategic Planning

Card Number 5 of the libraries’ balanced store card deals with promoting the libraries.   Carol sent this to committee members for discussion at the next meeting.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be Feb 7 at 3:30.

Notes from Heads of PS in Research Libraries:   ALA Midwinter, 2005

Discussion on marketing and public relations

Harvard – communications person was hired 7 years ago.   Before that the 11 separate Harvard College libraries each had their own web sites,   business cards, forms, etc.   They hired a designer from Disney to design their logo and web site.  They put up the web site and are revising it this year.   They created a library intranet as the place to get common forms and stationery.   They’ve also addressed signage.   For a renovation project in progress, they put little footprints on the floor (very un-Harvard, but they worked well).   Communications person is media contact.   She screens and refers the media, and she trained staff to deal with them.   She’s a member of the university PIO group.   She does a little event planning, but that’s a small part of her job.   She reports to PS (originally reported to the director)   They also have a writer for the web and publications and a web designer.

Stanford – has 2 new positions, and the web site was redesigned recently.   The Web designer is Assoc Director for Communication.   They also have a Director of Marketing responsible for external marketing.   They formerly had a web advisory committee, but it didn’t have enough clout.

Cornell is launching a new communications/media relations dept with 3 people + an events planner.

University of Virginia has a communications director who now reports to the director.   Focus is on external marketing and donor relations.

Penn State has a 3 person office of communication.   They’ve had some difficulty teaching library culture to the director of that office and some librarians don’t like to run their work by a media specialist.   A 2d year MBA class is taking on library marketing as a class project

Rutgers has a web master and communications coordinator who does the annual report and some donor things.   They have a staff to do library brochures.   They did a communications audit and prepared an RFP for a firm (Library Communication Strategies, firm of Peggy Barber and Linda Wallace).   The firm wrote a report with many recommendations.  

University of Arizona has a new position reporting to the dean.   They are looking at what their image is on campus, what they want people to know about them, and branding.

University of Utah does a daily email newsletter to staff with an archives back to 1992

University of Nebraska also had a class doing a library marketing project.

Notes from Outreach Discussion Group, ALA Midwinter, 2005

Penn holds a big party in the library the Friday before classes start.   Party is coordinated by a reference librarian.   They solicit prizes from local merchants.   They also give away popcorn and food during exams.   Penn uses table tents in the library for research paper appts the last 6 weeks of the semester.

Michigan coordinated with new student orientation and offered pizza (food paid for by student orientation – good advertising for pizza place)

UNC Chapel Hill – libraries participate in student orientation.   They give away stickers marketing their chat service, market their IM buddy name on sticker.  Tell them buddy name at orientation.

Collaboration with career center

Outposts in campus buildings – librarian there 3 hours per day.

Michigan has “field librarians” (new funded positions) in campus area such as women’s studies and architecture


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