Posts Tagged ‘Libraries’

2013 SCLA/SELA Joint Conference is coming!

November 1, 2013 Comments off

The South Carolina Library Association 2013 annual conference is right around the corner. This year it will be a joint conference with the Southeastern Library Association and held in beautiful downtown Greenville on November 13-15. The theme is “Local Roots, Regional Reach.”

SCLA_logoThe 2013 SCLA/SELA Joint Conference promises to be a great opportunity for librarians throughout the Southeast to attend informative sessions, network with professional colleagues, enjoy the company of old and new friends, share and learn from libraryland, savor the great city of Greenville, and much more. The joint conference should encourage a healthy attendance with librarians from all library types. I’m really looking forward to it.

SELA logoAnd, fellow conference attendees, let’s make use of social media! Yes, avail yourself of the face-to-face opportunities (attend the sessions/keynotes/meetings, visit the exhibits, and mingle at receptions and other social events), but let’s also take advantage of social media to expand the sphere of engagement. Twitter users, let’s wear out the hashtag #scla2013 to share and interact from the conference. I know @sclanews will be there along with myself (@jkennerly) and a number of others. Connect with other Twitter users who are attending/following the conference (and likely make some new connections along the way). Share your insights. Share your conference pics. Share, share, share!

twitter_logo_large   #scla2013

In closing let me share some interesting graphics. Below you will find a couple wordclouds showing Twitter activity at the 2012 SCLA Annual Conference as well as an infographic showing demographic data of attendees. (A special shout out to Donald Wood for providing the attendance data.) Enjoy!

Will you be attending this year’s conference? What type of library will you be representing? Hope to see you there!

Most-tweeted words at SCLA 2012:


Twitter users at SCLA 2012:


SCLA 2012 attendance infographic:


I am ready to be a librarian again

December 17, 2010 2 comments

Challenging. Time-consuming. The first semester of this academic year has been…well, just that. I can’t remember a more busy time in my career as a librarian since 1998/99. (That’s another “perfect storm” story altogether.) And most of what I have been entwined with recently comes from outside my typical sphere of duties. Our institution is currently involved in the re-accreditation process, and I have landed on several self-study committees either as a chair or a resource person. Anyone who has been through the re-accreditation process (this is my 2nd go-around) understands what that means.

Honestly, most of my work energies over the last 3-4 months have been devoted to something outside of the library, and I kinda miss my job. (I should also note that I lament being socially MIA on Twitter, etc. with my peeps.) Special activities like re-accreditation are beneficial and much-needed. Nevertheless, at times I feel like a school kid wandering the streets in the middle of a weekday looking over my shoulder for a truant officer. (Am I abandoning my post?) Other times, I feel like Cinderella must have felt to be left scrubbing the floors while her sisters went out to the big event. (Am I missing the fun?)

I’m ready to be a librarian again…and in more ways than one. I’m ready to get back to what I know and love best. At the same time, I have been reflecting on just what it is that I know and love best.

Perhaps one of the benefits of this time away from my normal duties has been the ability to step out of the mix somewhat and reflect. I have been doing some soul-searching, or–more precisely–some mission-searching. Actually, I’ve been reflecting on “mission,” “purpose,” and the like for about a year now. Maybe this semester was the match to throw on the charcoals that I have been soaking in lighter fluid. When I heard from some of the library staff that they had a good conversation this week about the library’s purpose and identity, I knew that I was onto something.

So here’s what we as a library staff are going to do. In January we are going to hold an informal library staff forum to talk about our library and its role in our institution and higher education in general. We will reflect on:

  • Who we (the library) are.
  • What we do.
  • How we do it.

A family meeting, so to speak. Who knows? We may even invite the academic dean and the president. (Open communication is golden.) The plan is simple: Talk, listen, and respond and then see what happens.

New year resolution. Spring cleaning. A first step. Utter nonsense. Call it what you will. We’re going to talk and listen, and hopefully we’ll come out on the other end all the better for having done so.

Time to go. I’ve got more re-accreditation work to do before breaking for the holidays.


Reaching Across Campus for Collaboration

October 29, 2010 Comments off

I love the idea of collaboration. It broadens the creative knowledge base, creates a richer planning environment, provides opportunity for improved productivity, and fosters a broader sense of ownership.

CC image via flickr (by woodleywonderworks)

Lynne Bisko and Rebecca Pope-Ruark (Elon University) have published an excellent article in the October issue of C&RL News entitled “Making the Video: Tips for Successful Library-Class Collaborations.” The article describes a collaborative effort between Elon’s Belk Library and a class supported by the University’s Center for Undergraduate Publishing and Information Design (CUPID). Bisko and Pope-Ruark conclude the article with some practical advice for other librarians considering similar collaboration with students. This is worth the read.

Opportunities for collaboration abound. Most recently on our campus, the library…

  • Worked with some students in graphic design on logo concepts
  • Coordinated with Student Services during the 2010 Census to educate students about the U.S. Census and provide information about Census jobs
  • Also with Student Services, shared information about career-related resources and will be crafting a plan for embedding library resources on the Student Services website
  • Is considering a collaborative effort between our library and a marketing class
  • Has begun a conversation with the Art Department about a partnership involving the creativity of some art students, paint, and library walls. The students are loving the idea. I’ll be walking through the library with an art professor later today. Exciting stuff.

Does your library have any stories of collaboration across campus? Successes? Learning experiences?


From Blog Post to Newsletter: Sharing a Story

October 28, 2010 Comments off

About 8 months ago I wrote a post offering kudos to one of our library staff members. It struck a cord with a fair number of readers. Now, with some new introductory material, it has been re-published in the October issue of OCLC Cooperative eNews.

Article title: “Success Story from the Back Room”

I did not agree to this because it would be something to add to my curriculum vitae and pat myself on the back. Rather, I did this because I saw an opportunity to use an available channel to cheer a well-deserving library staff member AND spread the word about the value of libraries and those who work in them.

May we all continue to collect our “success stories” and use them to advocate the value of libraries every chance we get. Whether it’s in a newsletter, newspaper, board meeting, YouTube video, or on the street corner, talk it up with anyone who is willing to listen.


Sand, Surf and SCLA Annual Conference 2010

October 19, 2010 Comments off

Later today I will be heading toward the coast to attend the South Carolina Library Association Annual Conference 2010 in Myrtle Beach. This year’s conference is entitled, “South Carolina Libraries: Advocacy from the Ground Up.” Keynote speakers include:

  • Roberta Stevens, President of the American Library Association
  • Lynne Bradley, Director of the Office of Government Relations of the ALA’s Washington Office
  • Walter Edgar, Southern historian/author and Director of the Institute for Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina

The slate of concurrent sessions includes some interesting topics, and I have some good friends among the presenters. It promises to be a fun and productive time.

I’ll be on Twitter (@jkennerly) and using the hashtag #scla10. Send me a tweet if you would like to connect.

Looking forward to the conference, the coast, meeting some new people, and catching up with some good friends and great librarians from across the state! Maybe I’ll see you there!


Planting Seeds

October 12, 2010 1 comment

Over the last few weeks, the maintenance crew has been preparing a large portion of our campus grounds for re-seeding. There has been a flurry of activity: tilling, aerating, leveling the soil; removing large obstacles of debris, rocks, sticks, etc.; selecting the seed to be used; and before all of that, planning and more planning.

Today was the day for broadcasting the seed. Done. The maintenance crew has done its job. Now it’s time to let the seeds do theirs.

Seeing this happen today, I thought of an application for my job. I wonder:

Am I planting any seeds now that will bring future benefit to my library users?

The outcome of the maintenance crew’s hard work to sow the seeds on our campus lawn is uncertain. A person drops a seed and hopes that it will make contact with the soil, germinate, take root, and transform from that simple beginning to a beautiful creation that paints a lush green on the landscape. One thing is for certain though: If the seed never gets planted, don’t expect the grass to show up later.

Are we making efforts to deliberately do things now that may come to fruition only after some time has passed? If you believe something to be of benefit, don’t give up on it simply because you don’t see results right away. Granted, sometimes we try, fail, and simply need to cut our losses and move on. The seed simply isn’t going to grow. At other times, however, the seed just needs time to make contact, germinate, take root, and transform from a simple idea to something beautiful and useful.


Good Read #006: It’s All About the User

August 6, 2010 Comments off

I don’t consider myself to be an expert marketeer. While I understand the purpose, value, and need of promotional efforts, marketing has never been one of my strong suits. I continue to look to others for guidance and training in this area.

That is what drew me to the book Marketing Today’s Academic Library: A Bold New Approach to Communicating with Students by Brian Mathews. What I found was an engaging, well-crafted text with a clear thesis and a fresh approach to marketing in academic libraries. A quote from the publisher’s description best describes the purpose of the book:

Most library marketing intended for undergraduates promotes the collection, reference and instructional service, and occasional events such as guest speakers or exhibits. The guiding principle of Marketing Today’s Academic Library is that marketing should focus on the lifestyle of the user, showcasing how the library fits within the daily life of the student.

Bottom line: In all academic library marketing efforts, the student–the library user–should always be front-and-center.

The book flows well from chapter to chapter and is filled with valuable insights and advice for anyone interested in employing marketing strategies for their library. And, yes, while the book is specifically targeted towards those in academic libraries, there are useful nuggets of information to be found for those working in any type of library. I would even argue for its benefit to other departments on the academic campus or anyone serving students in general. If nothing else, Mathews’ insights on understanding today’s student are worth reading.

Mixed in with philosophical discussion of marketing to students, you will find plenty of practical advice and examples of how to engage in the various stages of marketing efforts. As a result Mathews has presented an excellent resource for those wishing to engage in library promotion and, more importantly, improving the student experience.

A few quotes from the book…

My objective in not to persuade you that libraries should embrace marketing methods, but rather to demonstrate the possibility of creating a richer library experience. (p. 1)

Promotional efforts must be social in nature, aimed at starting conversations instead of simply treating our users as a captive audience. (p. 2)

…instead of simply focusing on generating awareness or even just increasing use of resources, we should approach…our marketing as a chance to elevate the role of the library in our student’s minds. …We are not just providing more books, more journals, more computers, more staff to help them, but rather more relevance. (p. 141)

A basic outline of the book…

Chapter 1 — Making a case for marketing/advertising in libraries

Chapter 2 — Understanding the characteristics and activities that help define today’s students

Chapter 3 — Understanding student “need states” (that is, what they need in the academic setting)

Chapter 4 — Understanding and identifying those things that the library has to offer

Chapter 5 — Techniques and tips on ways to conduct marketing research in order to guide your advertising campaign

Chapter 6 — Realizing the importance of building relationships with library users and ways to go about doing so

Chapter 7 — Strategies and techniques for branding the library and its products

Chapter 8 — Presentation of practical “building blocks” that can make up the various pieces of a promotional campaign

Chapter 9 — Advice on designing the promotional message to be shared

Chapter 10 — Measuring and assessing the promotional campaign

Chapter 11 — An offering of practical lessons learned along the way by Mathews as well as a collection of promotional campaign examples


Work in an academic library? Looking for ways to effectively promote your resources and services to students? Want to “elevate the role of the library” for your students? I recommend Mathews’ book.


Leveraging Location-Based Social Apps: A Foursquare Example

August 3, 2010 Comments off

I play around with a personal Foursquare account–partly because I enjoy experimenting with tech toys, partly because it is game-like (and I have fun with that), and partly in order to understand something about the service. I would like to be able to have an (at least somewhat) intelligent conversation should it ever come up in my information-consultant role as a librarian.

The other day I was checking-in on Foursquare at a business establishment in the city where I live and noticed an icon pointing me to a “nearby special offer.” I clicked the link to discover the following…

Here is a real-life example of a business where I live that is leveraging their presence on Foursquare to connect with existing/potential customers and draw their business. (For those who are not familiar with Foursquare, users check-in at venues with their mobile device and are awarded points and sometimes “badges” for reaching certain levels of activity. The person with the most check-ins at a venue at any given time is dubbed the “Mayor” of that location.)

So it goes like this: Visit McAlister’s (and enjoy a great meal) as many times as possible, check-in with Foursquare more than anyone else, and enjoy one of those great meals on the house. It’s incentive-filled. Friendly competitive. Simple.

Location-based social networking applications–like Foursquare, Gowalla, BrightKite, and Loopt–are seeing a growth in popularity. (RJMetrics tracks usage data for Foursquare and Gowalla.) Some in the business world have recognized this begun exploring ways to incorporate these social networking tools into their advertising strategy. Likewise, some of us in the library world are asking ourselves, “How can we use applications like Foursquare to connect with our users who are sporting mobile devices and enjoying a bent for social networking?” It’s not necessarily about new resources and services. It’s not even about the social networking app. It’s entirely about making connections–making our libraries relevant to users.

This topic has been discussed for some time and at some length among librarians. Cecily Walker (Vancouver Public Library) blogged about Foursquare and libraries. David Lee King (Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library) wrote a post on the subject and then a follow-up post. Kyle Jones (contributor to the Tame the Web website) told of the Darien Library experiment with Foursquare and their library users. And Jenny Levine (The Shifted Librarian) shared her Foursquare “a-ha” moment with us. These are just a few examples.

Take a look at these two libraries on Foursquare:

Librarians, is your library using any of the location-based social networking sites to connect with your users? What kind of things are you doing? Are your efforts strengthening, enhancing, growing, etc. your connections to your users?

Library users, are you using location-based social networking sites like Foursquare? How would you like to see your library using these social networking sites to make special offers to you and have some fun along the way?


Good Read #004: Libraries in Pictures

April 23, 2010 Comments off

It has been a while since I last posted a “good read,” so I am trying to catch up. Last month, I highlighted Matthew Battles’ Library: An Unquiet History. For another sweeping account of the history of libraries, let me point you to The Library: An Illustrated History by Stuart A. P. Murray (ALA, 2009). Much like Battles, Murray does not attempt to present an all-encompassing history of libraries. Rather he provides small windows to catch glimpses of libraries throughout history and around the globe. And, as the subtitle indicates, this nicely-bound book is filled with wonderful color illustrations throughout which help to visualize the text. Honestly, the book is worth picking up for the illustrations alone. (It does have something of a coffee table book feel to it.)

For the most part the book is divided into chapters which move chronologically through history–from the ancient times; through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation; and all the way to the budding 21st century. There also are chapters devoted to particular continents or cultures, such as the “Asia and Islam” and “The Library in Colonial North America” chapters. The text does become repetitive at points, but it doesn’t really hurt the flow of the book. Actually the book doesn’t necessarily need to be read from cover to cover.

A final section on “Libraries of the World” provides brief snapshots of almost 50 libraries around the globe. Murray admits that his selection of libraries for this section of the book is somewhat random. He states that “this selection is representative of certain types of libraries, though it can only introduce them.” Murray further adds that perhaps the reader’s interest will be piqued enough to consider visiting these and other libraries of the world. There certainly are some libraries included here that I would love to see in person.

For those who wish to read more than what is contained in this book, Murray includes a list of suggestions for further reading.

Lovers of books and libraries, let me recommend The Library: An Illustrated History for your reading list.


Have donkey. Will travel.

April 16, 2010 Comments off

It’s Friday of National Library Week 2010, so I thought I would highlight one of my heroes in librarianship.

Meet Louis Soriano.

An educator in La Gloria, Colombia, Soriano shares the joy of reading with kids in rural Colombian villages by way of donkey. His Biblioburro brings books to kids who, otherwise, might never know the joy of reading.

Watch the video below to be truly inspired. Soriano gets it. This is librarianship in its purest form.

Anyone know where I can get a donkey?

Pic credit: Wikimedia