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Social Media in Libraries

Marketing with social media has become a crucial tool for public libraries. Libraries need to connect with their communities and promote their services. However, managing a social media presence for a public library can be challenging. It’s important to follow best practices to ensure that your efforts are effective for your customers. Here are three best practices for social media in a public library.

Develop A Marketing Strategy

The first step in creating a successful social media presence for a public library is to develop a marketing strategy. Identifying your target audience, determining the types of content that will be most relevant, and creating a posting schedule. Consider the type of information and services your library offers. What events do you host currently, and what does the community you serve want when creating engaging content?

Engage with your audience

Social media is not a one-way street, it’s important to engage with your audience. Respond to comments and messages daily. You also need to actively seek out opportunities to connect with your community and add new followers. Encourage your followers to share their thoughts, ask for feedback and listen to what they have to say.

Be Consistent and Authentic

Consistency is key when it comes to social media. Make sure to post regularly and maintain a consistent tone across all platforms. Additionally, be authentic and transparent when communicating with your audience. Share the library’s mission and values, and let them know what makes your library unique. Be aware of trolls and make sure to have a “social media policy” in place to deal with misinformation.

In addition to these best practices, it’s also important to ensure that your library’s social media accounts are properly set up and managed. This means keeping your library’s contact information up to date, monitoring your accounts for inappropriate content, and ensuring account security.

Also, take the time to review your analytics and measure the performance of your social media posts. This will help you understand what works and what doesn’t and adjust your strategy accordingly. Social media coordinator is a good role for professional development in public libraries for your staff.

Social media is an effective tool for public libraries to connect with their communities and promote their services. By developing a marketing strategy, engaging and being consistent with posts, you can create an online presence for your library. Remember, social media is an ongoing effort, so be ready to adapt and evolve as the platforms and audiences change.

Check my personal website for more library-specific articles to develop your career path: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Public Library Trends

 

Public libraries have been a vital resource for communities for centuries, and today, the role of public libraries continues to evolve in response to changing technology and societal needs. Here are three of the most current trends in public libraries in the United States and around the globe:

Digital Literacy 

With the increasing importance of technology in our daily lives, public libraries are placing a greater emphasis on digital literacy. This includes providing patrons with access to technology and training on how to use it, as well as offering classes on coding, web design, and other in-demand skills.

Libraries are expanding their digital collections, with e-books, audiobooks, and streaming movies available online. Even providing early literacy resources and parenting help for patrons, to help the next generation of library users.

Community Engagement

Public libraries are also shifting their focus to become more community centered. Libraries are hosting events and programs that bring together people from different backgrounds and perspectives to build a sense of community.

They are also partnering with local organizations to provide services that address the specific needs of their communities, such as homelessness and literacy classes for non-native speakers. Some libraries even provide high school classes online to earn your diploma, all for FREE!

Maker Spaces / Learning Labs

Maker spaces are a popular trend in public libraries, as they provide patrons with access to tools, technology, and resources that they can use to create, invent, and learn.

These spaces often include equipment such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and electronics labs. They also provide patrons with access to trained professionals who can teach them how to use the equipment and provide guidance on their projects.

Another need is for learning labs or specific workforce centers. Depending upon the community’s needs, a designated librarian for  help to assist job seekers. Career basics, like resume writing, online applications, and interview practice is essential in many cities as the job market tightens.

These trends are not specific to the United States, libraries around the globe are experiencing similar needs. They are adapting to the new normal and the changes in technology and specific needs of the community they serve.

Librarians are being innovative and finding new ways to offer services and resources that are relevant to the community. They are becoming more than just a place to check out books. Libraries are becoming a hub for community engagement and lifelong learning to improve economic development and sustainability.

Finally, public libraries are evolving to meet the changing needs of their communities. They are placing a greater emphasis on digital literacy, focusing on community engagement, and developing learning spaces. These trends are helping libraries to remain relevant and essential resources for their communities in the digital age.

Public libraries are more than just a physical space, they are an important partner in a thriving community.

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Best Habits for Job Success

 

Starting a new job can be an exciting but overwhelming experience. To ensure a smooth transition and set yourself up for success, it’s important to develop the best habits early on. Here are three habits to focus on when you start your new job.

Be On Time or Early Every Day

One of the most important habits to have when starting a new job is to be punctual. This means being on time for meetings, arriving to work on time, and meeting deadlines. Even if you’re working remotely, be early to sign onto your computer every day. Being punctual shows that you are reliable, responsible, and respectful of your colleagues’ and supervisor’s time.

Clear Communication

Communication is key to success in any job. When starting a new job, it’s important to take the time to understand the communication style of your colleagues and supervisor. Be sure to ask questions when you’re unsure of something and actively listen to others when they are speaking.

Communicating effectively will help you build relationships and get things done more efficiently. This is the foundation a solid and trusting work relationship.

Take Initiative

Another important habit to have when starting a new job is to take initiative. Don’t be afraid to speak up and share your ideas or offer to take on new projects. This shows that you are proactive and willing to take on extra responsibilities.

It will also help you learn and grow in your new role. You might make mistakes, but showing you are willing and able to do the job (and then some) is priceless.

Growth Mindset

In addition to these habits, it’s also important to be flexible, open-minded, and willing to learn. Your new job will come with its own set of challenges and being adaptable will help you navigate them. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance when you need it. Building a strong relationship with your colleagues and managers will make the transition to your new job much smoother.

Starting a new job can be daunting, but by focusing on these four habits, you can set yourself up for success. By being punctual, communicating effectively, and taking initiative with a grow mindset, you’ll be able to make a great impression.

Building relationships and excelling in your new role will be second nature. Remember to be patient with yourself and enjoy your journey. Best of Luck!

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Best Learning Styles

Throughout school and work, you’ve been told what your best learning style is to retain information. Now research has shown that you have learning preferences, which we all can benefit from. Here are ways to spot what works for you and what needs a little more practice.

What is “VARK”

Many learning models break down the way people organize and store information into four main categories. Those are categorized by your four senses: Seeing, Hearing, Reading, and Doing or Touching.

You learn differently depending upon the subjects being taught too. The learning style may vary depending upon the complexity of a topic also. Remember how math was easier for you than reading in school?

New research has shown that students or workers learning more complex topics, need more than one method to learn. And retaining and repeating the processes learned is beneficial when multiple senses are used in the teaching process.

What’s Best for You?

Assessing your best method of learning can be easy with a simple test.  Or, as we have seen during the pandemic, human beings adapt to their surroundings. Students, workers, and institutions modified learning, meetings, and processes to assist with the new normal.

Many of those organizations never looked back either. But we also saw a decline in test scores in our younger students during the lack of in-person instruction.

So, we go back to what is the best learning style? The answer is “it depends.” It depends on the student, their resources, the sustainability of the teaching, etc.…

Being adaptable to your environment and having the ability to learn multiple ways is best for most people. Resilience and a growth mindset are traits that are important is any type of learning and in most situations.

Variations of Learning

Now we’re learning from our past experiences, there can be anywhere from 3-170 variations to these basic four styles above. Understanding how and when you learn best is really an efficient method for students or new workers learning a job.

As we continue to embrace remote work and school, understanding your best learning style is the path to success. Wishing you all the best on your learning path!

 

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Listening is Important

Listening skills are probably the most important skill behind reading. Learning to listen, and actively hear what is said is also essential. Below are steps to take if you need help listening to what people REALLY say to you.

Active Listening

Active listening is hearing the other person for understanding. However, most of us listen to be able to react or frame a response quickly. Don’t do that!  Don’t listen for yourself to answer, listen to understand. You will gain far more insight into your speaker, by letting them talk. Hear what words they choose and how they say those words. Active listening takes effort, but you learn far more about what’s said when you are engaged and hearing the other person.

Body language

So, you’re probably thinking, but I’m on the phone, and can’t “see” my speaker. But you can! Listen for inflection, tone, and the speed of the speaker’s speech. Usually, someone upset or in “fight mode” will speak quickly and emotionally. Someone calm and measured in their speech is under control of their emotions. When you are at work, even remotely, you can listen and pick up ques in the person’s speech.

A rational speaker is usually easier to understand motive, even over a phone call. Body language goes beyond “seeing” the speaker but again actively listening to “how” the speaker is engaging with you.

Responding After Listening

You are now asking, so when DO I need to respond? If you have an upset friend and listening to them about a bad experience, sometimes never. No response is a response in this type of situation. As humans, we want to solve problems, but sometimes it’s best to just listen. Listening with an open mind and heart to fully understand the other person takes a lot of effort.

And sometimes you might never understand the person’s motives or true feelings, but you were there for them. Sometimes just being a friend and confidante is all that is needed in the moment, and active listening is key.

Practice makes permanent, so try just listening for a change. Don’t interrupt and truly listen to the other person on the phone, on Zoom, or sitting with you. The more you practice actively listening, reading body language, and understanding your listener the better you become.

For more living well tips check out my website: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Library Metrics

If your library runs on a fiscal year, June through July, have you prepared your annual report? What library metrics should you provide the Board?  Read on for tips to create an informative report full of the most impactful information.

Digital Checkouts

With the pandemic, digital checkouts have surged in libraries across the country. Provide your stakeholders statistics on eBook, DVD and music downloads. These items along with magazines are the four most popular circulating digital items. Don’t forget to add the new vendors from 2020 or other anomalies to explain large data swings.

Door Count

The number of people coming through the doors has decreased due to the public health situation. Including this number is totally up to you, but it might not be pretty. You could include new partnerships or other outreach metrics in place of the door count. Safe to say, physical visits to the library might never recover if we need to live with Covid long term.

As a leader, you need to begin to get creative about bringing folks back in. Will large public events or annual festivals drive library traffic post pandemic?  Each community is different and finding the sweet spot for public engagement is your job as library director.

Collections

What new vendors did the library add or delete?  Please include all the collections to provide an accurate overview of your library’s offerings and impact on the community. I’ve worked in library where DVDs were the number one circulating item. Other libraries had a large children’s picture book collection that drove the checkouts due to higher family populations. Tailor the report and metrics to highlight the collections’ strengths while acknowledging possible gaps.

Programs

Programming will be your library’s time to shine. Despite closures, virtual programming has taken off at most libraries nationwide and globally. Edit a bit from a virtual storytime to present during the Board meeting and share how the library was successful.

Be sure to collect data regarding re-shares along with audience size in the initial posting.  Keep a digital archive of the library programs to improve next year. Consider regular promotions of  library programs on social media platforms to reach your potential audience. This will drive customers to the building too.

Format

If you have a choice of format, I’d recommend a simple infographic. Keeping the library information to one page will keep it simple, easy to read, and easy to explain.  Finally, a variety of pictures and statistics also keeps the eye interested and readers engaged.

However, whatever format you choose, keep the report relatable to the average person by avoiding library jargon (like “circs.”) Be sure to have fun reviewing your year. You are the best person to tell the library’s story and advocate in the community. Best of luck!

For more leadership tips check out: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Prepare for an Interview

With the pandemic still at the forefront of our lives, interviewing for library jobs are being held virtually. You need to be ready to bring your skills and personality through the screen and get that job!

Research the Job

To prepare for your interview reviewing the library’s website and the job duties is necessary. Topics to be familiar with are the communities the library serves and popular programs. You will have a better understanding of your role if hired too.

Organize your thoughts and bring forward in the interview what you know about the library and the organization. You need to think about what value you can bring with your experience and passion for the job. Have a final few questions in mind. You show the interviewers what you know about their workplace and the time you took to understand the culture and their needs.

Practice your answers

Practice makes permanent, a mentor and teacher once shared with me. Anticipate the interview questions, or at least some of them.  Collaboration stories, rising from a problem or failure, handling public complaints will all be questions you should be prepared to answer.  If you don’t have real-world library experience, provide examples from your volunteer work. Student activities or stories from your personal life, like volunteering, also provide solid examples.

Making your stories personal, concise (no more than 2 minutes per answer) and appropriate for the question, will give you an advantage.  You need to make yourself memorable to the interview panel. The more you practice, the more natural and relaxed you will come across in your interview.

Be yourself

Finally, let your natural personality come through during your time with the interviewers. You are determining if the library and organization are a good fit for your needs, just like they are sizing you up. Ask at least two questions, not answered during the interview. Think about specifically the job, work culture or unfamiliar responsibilities you might need clarifying.

This shows your interest and initiative to understand what the library needs.  Outreach, children’s story times, working with teens are topics you can expand upon once you are aware of the job tasks. Your true self will shine through. Good Luck and just know the library needs you as much as you need this job, so relax and be yourself!

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Digital Marketing in Libraries

The internet and digital marketing have advantages for libraries. Read on for a couple of tricks to increase your library’s exposure and customer base. Libraries are here to stay, and social media will help bring customers back into the building.

Social Media

It’s a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram driven world. This means that marketing your library on these social media platforms is essential. That’s true for any business. Post pictures of programs, customers, and be sure to use hashtags every post. Post photos of the building, bookstore, and community events at your library. Keep up with various literary events such as Banned Books Week or National Library Week.

Email Marketing

Set up a mailing list and then blast out newsletters and other information to teachers, legislators, and other local officials. Customers need to be reminded the library is in the community.  Furthermore, reach out to new customers interested in various events at your library. Grow those customers and sign them up for a library card!

Use Videos

A picture is worth a thousand words, and photos sell. We live in a video-saturated world.  Make short videos about the programs at your library.  Storytimes and children’s programs have the biggest audiences at libraries, so publicize the most popular.

When doing this or taking pictures, it is important to use a proper high-quality HD-capable camera. With all the images we encounter in our daily lives now, we are quite good at telling HD from non-HD photos. The latter are now judged as inferior by default. Go for the quality and make an impression.

Event Marketing

What’s the next big event that you’re hosting at your library? Whatever it is, you want to use that to market your library big time. What’s more, you need to make sure that as many people know about it as possible. Use the tools above, employ flyers and banners, advertise to schools, and use other traditional event planning measures to get as much exposure as possible.

All this and more can help you get your library the publicity it needs and deserves

 

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Libraries and Programming

We have lived through the last two years in pandemic mode with many changes including library services. We have seen service models change and new programs emerge. The needs of communities are at the forefront of these changes, along with health and safety. So, what do programs look like now, with COVID-19 and health risks still in the foreground for many libraries? Let’s look at some successes.

Programs Outdoors

If you are lucky to live in a climate where in-person library programs can be held outside, patrons can have a new service model outdoors. Customers enjoy storytimes, school-age crafts, or book clubs social distanced for safety. However, programs are very engaging. If your climate is too warm or snowy, then an alternative has been a hybrid format. Producing online programs streamed via Zoom or prerecorded. This has become popular with many libraries.

Prerecorded Library Programs

Other libraries have great success and attendance with recording programs and posting the links. Posting within a Facebook post is also a great way to host a pre-recorded program. The advantage of prerecorded story times is easy editing and a way for the librarian to overcome nerves. Having your program recorded allows the flexibility to fix mistakes before posting. The link is available to update easily as your library changes. Plus the needs of your audience will change too.

Online Library Gatherings

Finally, many public libraries have adapted to all online programs due to funding constraints or public health concerns. Whether prerecorded or live every week at a predetermined time, virtual programs are the safest way to provide literacy and learning to a community. However, the downside is the staff’s reliance of a live audience for immediate feedback.

You also must have a team that has the skills and technology available to produce engaging library programs. Your library staff will need to have a solid handle on the audience they’re serving and the devices available. Have a reliable solution available if technology fails. Furthermore, bandwidth might be an issue and  would be a burden for your library users during online programs. Be sure to have solid solutions in place for every hiccup that could happen.

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Libraries and Entrepreneurs

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Many people dream of becoming entrepreneurs. They look forward to being in control of their own destiny and love building a career. Entrepreneurs are motivated and driven, and they aren’t afraid of hard work. The question is, where can you find resources to help get started? The answer is your local library!

Libraries Provide Access 

There are many research and reference tools for entrepreneurs at public libraries. Online tools that would cost a fortune if you had to purchase them yourself are free. Libraries have resources such as Reference USA, Regional Business News, and Business Source Premier for free.  These databases normally would cost thousands of dollars to access. Public libraries allow free access anytime with a library card and computer. Check to see if your city has multiple library systems, to access different subscriptions from each library. 

Free Patent Information

Checking out a patent or idea before moving forward is an entrepreneur’s first step. It is important to make sure that someone else doesn’t hold a trademark or patent on your idea. Libraries provide patent check resources and trademark information for free. This way, an idea is vetted before investing heavily.  Avoid legal problems down the road by checking out your idea. 

Check Out the Competition

Researching your competition before you start your business is also important. Entrepreneurs want know everything about potential competitors.  Furthermore, the library offers free information on marketing, demographics, and sales volume for the competition. Information that is invaluable for your idea to be successful.  The Reference USA database is the best source to help you gain an edge with your own company.

Raising Capital

Finally, raising capital in any business is essential. You will need to find investors or angel funders.  Libraries have all the information you need to begin the search. You will find resources and people to help you create a pitch, a logo, and more. You can find ideas on how to name your product, and you can learn how to speak in public. Finally, you can learn how to approach investors and sell them on your idea. The public library should be the first stop for any start up, and all the information is free!  Best of luck on your new venture.