OK, so I’m not a marketing expert by any stretch of the imagination. But I know that we need some serious marketing PR stuff to go on at my library. We have very low reference desk usage stats. I think part of it might be the population (over 50% military) but a lot of it is an educational issue. I have so many students who come to the desk embarassed or apologetic, as if they are somehow keeping me from my real work. And I always tell them, “I’m here to help. This is my job.” And maybe that gets through to the people who come to the desk, but what about those who never do because they think their question is stupid or because they actually have no idea what one does at a reference desk? Also, we just started providing IM Reference six to ten hours each weekday, and I want to get the word out about that. I had announcements put up on the school’s Intranet/e-mail portal and on the online graduate program’s portal, and I plan to put up a sign at the reference desk. I also put up a page on our Web site that explains the service. I figure since we’re launching this new service, it’s a perfect time to do some marketing about that and about what services we can offer at the reference desk (i.e. research help, help using databases, etc.). So I’m seeking input from the library community about what sort of things I can do to better market our services to students.

Here’s what I’ve thought about doing so far:

  • PSAs on the campus radio station
  • I could make bookmarks that could be handed out to every student who takes out a book and I could place them at the reference and circulation desks too. The bookmarks could tell students about how they can get help with their research at the reference desk and how they can now reach the reference desk through IM. Mind you, these bookmarks would not be fancy and I’d probably have to use my B&W printer to create them, but it’s better than nothing.
  • Maybe I could put some notices up by the public access computers (not sure how keen my colleagues would be on that)
  • I plan to talk to the folks at the Learning Support Center because they can market our services to the students they work with.

But I know there’s a lot more I can do that I just haven’t thought of. So if you’ve done similar marketing campaigns at your library or just have some good ideas, please comment on this post or e-mail me. Just keep in mind when you make suggestions that I will be the only person doing these things and that I don’t have a “marketing budget.” But I do have a lot of enthusiasm and a real desire to help our students here.