Tag Archives: libraries

Librarian’s best friend: Earlyword

Ever since I learned about the epic blog EarlyWord I have made a point to look at it at least once week, if not once a day (depending on the season).

If you want to be ahead of the game on all things Reader’s Advisory, this blog will be a big help, especially if you are short on time to read through all the starred Library Journal and School Library Journal reviews. EarlyWord keeps you abreast of the next book set to hit the big screen, the titles that book clubs will be fighting for, and just some fresh new authors and award winners that you can recommend when someone’s favorite writer is on break.

EarlyWord also mentions any books or authors doing the rounds on tv shows and radio so you’re prepared when that patron comes to the desk to ask about the book she heard about on the Today Show.

I always tell any new staff I’m training to check this blog when it’s slow on the desk. A quick glance can take you from giving your patron a confused look as they fumble for a title to being a superhero for knowing it before they could even complete their thought.

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buzz words and face to face marketing

NEVER underestimate the power of walking up to a patron.

I think a lot of times, we forget the that the lives of most of the people who visit the public library do not revolve around the library.  They may pop in and out for a book or movie, they may stop by every 3 weeks to return a stack of picture books and let their kids pick out another set.  But, unlike those of us that work there, they are probably not checking the library’s website on a daily basis or following all of its social media outlets.  

So when you hang up that poster in the front of your library, NEVER assume that it is enough.  We have all learned how to ignore all of the messages being sent to us every day.  Billboards, posters, fliers, spam texts and emails – we avoid a lot of marketing, we have to or we would never get anything done.  

So, librarians, if you want your program to succeed, be it a storytime event, teen club, or adult class — YOU have to take the initiative and talk to your patrons.  

One of our librarians decided he wanted to create a “Guys Book Club” – a book club with books that would appeal to male readers.  Now, he could have just put up a sign, maybe a little display, and hoped for the best.  And he probably wouldn’t have had anyone show up.  Adults, especially men, are notoriously hard to get into programs. So he made sure there was a stack of our system publication of events sitting open at the desk with the Guys Book Club dates highlighted. Any time he helped a male patron, he made sure to talk up the club, invite them to the program, and give them a handout.  And you know what? The club has been going strong for over two years!

Also, never underestimate the power of buzz words.  

We will be starting our Early Literacy Initiative this month.  In reality, we have been doing this forever, reading stories to children, singing songs, and preparing them for when they learn to read.  Our new programs will just include more information for the parents/caregivers to help them after the 30 minute story time is over.  In an effort to make people aware, I followed a cue from my co-worker and opened up the publication to the Early Literacy page.  When I started handing them out, I just said “storytimes are coming back in March!” and most parents smiled and nodded.  

Then I decided I should say “Early Literacy Initiative”.  No sooner had I talked it up to the parent I was helping, but then another parent came over to me to find out more because she heard me say “early literacy”.  

It’s easy to forget, when we live in the library, that not everyone knows what we are doing or understands the full value of programs for all ages.  So the next time you or a co-worker are trying to get a new program or series off the ground, don’t just put up a poster and cross your fingers.  Go out into the stacks, talk to patrons and let them know.  Your excitement and enthusiasm may make them want to check it out or your words might carry over to a patron you had missed and they will want to know more.