Posts Tagged ‘Library marketing’

Hi everyone

Here’s an interesting article on The Guardian website about the role of libraries in today’s society and the different ways in which certain libraries have been trying to increase use and engage with the public:


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Lone Librarian…

The Women’s Health specialist collection is exactly that – specialist, and with the risk of being unknown. As a drawback, more work is required to get more users, and get the collection recognised. One way many of the collections do this is exhibit at various conferences/meetings. On Friday 6th November, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) held their ‘Academic Association of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (AAOG) Annual Meeting’. We had an exhibition stand booked, so that we could inform people in the field (clinicians, researchers or students) about the collection, and try and get more people subscribed to our monthly e-mail newsletter.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, my supervisor could not attend with me; but, seeing as it was an excellent marketing opportunity for the collection, I went down to London on my own as a representative of the Women’s Health collection (struggling with my laptop and a banner stand which turned out to be ridiculously awkward and heavy!) I thought it was ironic that I had been nervous the week before at the prospect of half an hour manning the stand by myself whilst my supervisor had a meeting during lunch…never mind the whole day!

After getting the 6.15am bus to London, I got to the RCOG just after 8.00am, where I proceeded to set up my stand. I had an ‘NHS Evidence’ banner stand to place beside the desk, and had taken my laptop with me so I could show people ‘round the library’. My contact time with potential users was restricted to the registration period (9.00-9.30am), morning break (10.25-10.45am) and lunch (12.30-1.45pm). There was a mixture of clinicians, researchers and academics in the field of women’s health attending, and I hoped to at least bring attention to the collection.

As it was, not many people came up to talk to me, but I did get some more subscribers to the newsletter! One aspect I had been worrying about was if people asked questions I couldn’t answer. I’d imagine that’s a general concern for all library trainees, and most people will probably bumble by! I especially felt out of my depth with the possibility that people might ask medically-based questions about the collection (rather than the simple question of how to use it and what else can you do with it!) Luckily, the only question tending that way was whether we included a certain topic, which I knew we did (but also showed the person how to find that subject on the topic tree; akin to another trainee showing a user where the medical books are!)

I really enjoyed the whole day; especially explaining the benefits and advantages to using the collection and what else we do (other than housing a vast amount of medical evidence). I liken it to giving a library tour – showing a user the general layout, what subjects are included, answering any questions, and (always!) hoping to promote the library and gain more members.

Digital libraries may be the way forward in the future, but there will always be the traditional aim of a library…

…to help promote learning!

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