It is always a challenge to promote library eResources to the public.
Myth 1: Staff know all about libraries eResources products.
Strategy 1: A structured training program for all the staff
We discovered that if staff did not have enough knowledge about the eResources products, they would not direct the patrons to them. Every staff in the frontline contact with the public needs to be well equipped. A well designed training program for the staff is the foremost strategy in marketing our eResources. Bankstown Library had run a staff training program with the following features:
- The training was for all the staff, including staff from branches.
- Four training sessions were offered, staff were encouraged to book a session suitable to them.
- Training done at the Technology Centre at Central Library. Staff could concentrate on the training with no interruption.
- A special activity sheet was strategically designed for staff to explore each feature of the database Zinio in detail. Not only spending time to browse the database. They were asked to do a lot of activities, such as to download magazine on PC, tablet and smartphone; to install and use the Zinio app.
- For the staff that were not available to come to the training session, self-pace training material was provided.
- For some fun and encouragement a certificate of participation was given to each staff after the completion of the training.
Myth 2: Public knows what the library offers
Strategy 2: Impressive display in the library
Conveying captivating images with short content messages was found to be an effective strategy.
Emphasis on the content and special features of the database, what benefits the patrons could get from using it. Aim to convey the messages :
- Identical replica of the printed version
- Current issues
- No limits
- No due date
- Free download
- PowerPoint presentation with creative animation on the Smartboard
Myth 3: Patrons will come to the Information Desk to enquire about the databases
Strategy 3: Technology Booth
Staff need to be proactive in marketing the library eResources. We thought of a creative way of directly reaching patrons of specific interests in the library - setting up a Technology Booth at Ground Floor.
- The Technology Booth was strategically placed near the shelves housing the magazines at Ground Floor.
- The Booth was well decorated with messages displaying the benefit of using the database Zinio.
- The Booth was setup with a smartphone, tablets and laptop.
- Staff on duty dressed up to attract attention to library patrons passing by. We wore sashes with the words “Ask me about Zinio eMagazines”, caps and badges with promoting slogans.
- Two staff on duty each session. One stationed at the Booth, another one with a tablet/smartphone roved around the area to talk to the patrons about the database.
- Patrons were given the opportunity of using the devices to trial the database themselves. It helped customers realise how enjoyable and easy to use Zinio.
By David Botros, Bankstown Library
The content in this guest blog post was presented at Reference at the Metcalfe 25 May 2016.