** Note: If you didn’t receive this in email format earlier today, please email Traci at avett@tblc.org

March Madness Month

A month of surprising facts, informative highlights, and fun activities
… all for the chance to brag about our incredible services! 

It’s day 2 of the 2nd annual March Madness Month, and we’re gearing up for an exciting month of continuing to promote Ask a Librarian through Word-of-Mouth Marketing. Please be sure to share your thoughts, suggestions, and experiences with us!

WOMM Tip: Using Ask a Librarian print promotional materials for marketing in your local library.

Most of us have some pretty good tricks up our sleeves for engaging the user, whether that involves engaging them in conversation, in your research process, or finding some connection to the library so that they’ll return – but catching their attention or interest can be an initial barrier. Having print items readily displayed and accessible helps tremendously, of course – for example, keeping bookmarks near tables or desks, on reference & check-out counters, and in your library’s study rooms. Such placement is essential to making sure users know about Ask a Librarian.

In most cases, the key is to figure out where all the action currently is in your library, and to look for the best ways to reach your particular group of patrons. Check out hot spots and cool spaces to see if your library visitors might be invisibly “restructuring” the purpose the library intended or assumed for them. Step back and look at things not from a perspective of employee but of user. You might notice, for instance, that parents waiting while their children attend programming tend to gather together in the magazine section. Or maybe your library’s teens tend to hang out near the ephemerals because it’s near the bookshop, or less crowded, or the space seems more suitable for conversation. In both cases, use that knowledge and rethink those areas in terms of marketing.

And you could do this in interesting ways. How cool is that above photo from St. Petersburg College Library?  Attach a 8×11 poster on your coffee or vending machine, or place larger ones on the end caps of your library’s higher-traffic aisles. Just remember that your mission may not necessarily be a short-term one. For example, glancing at your poster may not cause Coffee Guy to have a reference question today, but have him see it 3 days a week for 3 weeks, and it will seep into his memory in some form. And the next time he contemplates something, Ask a Librarian (or your library, or your databases, or asking someone at the Reference Desk, or…) will be an option that he just might not have thought of before.

Finally, keep an open mind, and think outside of the box. What about your coworkers? You could tape a QR code onto the butter dish compartment of your library’s break room refrigerator or someone’s favorite don’t-touch-this coffee mug. WOMM markets to everyone, and works in all directions. You can’t get it wrong, so just have fun!

Who wants to win one of our cool new Ask a Librarian book packs? Our nifty new drawstring bags are red with a blue Ask a Librarian logo. Promote us with style, and hold your book or sandwich at the same time. 
• Select one of our promotional print posters or bookmarks;
• Find an untapped resource, audience, or target location;
• Send us a photo of the item in its strange, new habitat. 
You can either use something currently on hand in your library, download them from here, or create your own poster or bookmark design.
Email photos to Traci, avett@tblc.org by March 11, 2011. 

The top 3 photo winners will receive an Ask a Librarian book pack!   


When speaking to users, remember these important talking points:
• If you ever need help when you’re not in our library, visit www.askalibrarian.org (or find the link on our library’s website).
•  Ask a Librarian is a website where you can go to get your questions answered by a real librarian.
•  Ask a Librarian is open for live chat and texting until midnight ET Sunday through Thursday, and until 5 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday.
•  You can use Ask a Librarian for free.
•  If Ask a Librarian isn’t open for chat or texting, you can always email your question, and your library’s staff will get back to you within 24 hours.