Randomly select 20 strangers and ask them what they think about their local public library. You’re likely to get 20 different answers, and most of them are probably not what you want to hear. As we think about who we are, what we do and, more importantly, what our brand is, chances are that our customers think we’re about books while we try to convince them that we’re so much more. After all, many of us loan games, do prom dress drives, teach punk-rock aerobics, partner with microbreweries (Edgar Allan Porter, anyone?), and offer 3D printing services. We push the envelope of what we loan and how we program for one reason and one reason only: to get people in the door so that they can discover what we really have to offer — ideas, inspiration, and access.
By Sally Dewey
As the Electronic Resources Manager, an important part of my job is promoting the resources we buy. I’ve actually had this job (under one title or another) since CD-ROM networks were around—back then we were just trying to alert the user in the building that we had something beyond books on the shelf. Then, in 1997, with web-based databases it was about the Library being the patron’s Information Home Page 24/7, or “Where it all Clicks.
Today, as public libraries are battling to stay relevant, we want to want to attract, snag, and entice patrons into discovering the wealth of resources we make available online. Why would we want to do that? To battle patron ignorance.