Twitter (yes again) – how Christchurch City Libraries are getting it right

A link to a recent article on the Stuff website was posted to the NZ-libs discussion list in what I felt was a bit of a “cautionary tale” type warning. The post prompted an interesting response from the team at Christchurch City Libraries. Marion Ogier, Content Manager,  Digital Library Web Team, replied with a description of how they trialled Twitter, got it approved and went on to use it as part of their social media strategy. I thought it was such a good outline of what good practice can look like I asked permission to reproduce it here:

Christchurch City Libraries is using Twitter http://twitter.com/ChristchurchLib and we haven’t found any pitfalls yet. The process went – play, learn, trial, learn, corporate approval. Team members played with Twitter as private individuals and explored its potential. A plan was then drawn up to describe how we could use Twitter to communicate with the community about the library. Library management and then the wider council management approved a three month trial. After the initial trial, we recorded what had been happening and made a case for continuing permanently. Approval was granted and its been full steam ahead. All six members of the web team contribute tweets on a daily basis, and we use our initials and faces so people know who said what. Tweeting happens seven days a week. We schedule tweets across a month or a week if we promoting a particular resource e.g heritage photos with a summer theme, interesting clubs in our Community Information site and so on. We promote new content and resources and point  to things people may not realise we have. A great example recently was our guide to Christchurch street and place names which ended up being referenced on TV 1’s breakfast show thanks to some Twitter conversation. We also respond to people’s comments and queries, join in conversations, and are proactive in following Christchurch people. The results have been very positive and we have had great feedback.

 Some of that positive feedback also came via the NZ-Libs list. Clearly their policy of going the extra mile and promoting community groups via Twitter is winning them fans and supporters. The response below is again reproduced with permission of the author, Richard Mahoney:

To add to the feedback … I’m a co-founder of Hounds 4 Homes, a  charity rehoming retired racing greyhounds. Last week I was telephoned and emailed by one of the Christchurch Library Web Team. It was time  for the annual check and update of our details in the CINCH (Community INformation CHristchurch) database. This year, though, was slightly different. Having adjusted our details the web team was planning  — with our permission — to schedule a tweet, sending out into the aether a few details about what we are up to and giving a link to our site. Naturally I was pleased that the Library was going to such trouble and making such a constructive use of web resources. But they did more than this. They were so well organised that I even had the chance to review the copy of the tweet. If ever anyone tries to convince local rate payers that they are not getting value for money or that decent, informed library staff are somehow superfluous … 😉

Well done Christchurch City Libraries!

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New book to look at the disconnect between theory and reality in library marketing

There’s another library marketing book in the pipeline. Nancy Dowd is currently working on a book that seeks to bridge the gap between marketing theory and how librarians put in into practice. As she says (the bold text is my emphasis):

Marketing is still viewed by many libraries as an afterthought. Many departments purpose is to create posters and write press releases rather than help a library know their customers and help to create relevant programs, products and services.

Kathy [Dempsey] began an important conversation in her book, The Accidental Marketer, when she outlined and defined each step of true marketing (see image here). Mary Evangeliste, Jonathan Silberman and I wrote our book about ways you could break those steps into Bite-Sized pieces. But even with those two books on the shelves, there is still a disconnect between theory and reality.

Nancy is seeking contributions to make the book as relevant as possible to “enact the changes needed for libraries to take advantage of marketing and help them make the changes needed that will position them as essential organizations to fund”.

You can read more about her ideas for the book and how you can contribute over at The M World – Marketing Libraries blog.