BrandLibraries update for LIANZA 2013

Last week the BrandLibraries Working Party that I am part of presented an update to the LIANZA 2013 conference on the project.

The slides for our short presentation can be viewed below. The slides are pretty self-explanatory but if you have any questions do feel free to post them in the comments. The project is at an exciting time, with BRR Ltd currently in their Discovery phase, interviewing stakeholders and visiting libraries. Branding the libraries of an entire country, and taking into account all of the library sectors, is a pretty ambitious undertaking, and it will be interesting to see what BRR comes back to us with! One of the people I connected with at conference was Sarah Fry, from Nelson City Libraries. Sarah has a background in communication and journalism, and her comment  was that we should make sure we don’t send out too complicated a brand message. I think if it was left to librarians that is exactly what could happen – by engaging with BRR we stand a much better chance of getting it right!


You can also check out our January 2013 update to LIANZA Council on the LIANZA website.


Adding rungs to the ladder – making your job into a career

This blog post is all about you! It’s a report of a talk I went to awhile back by Dr Marianne Tremaine on Adding rungs to the ladder – making your job into a career. Marianne is the Associate Head of the School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing at Massey University (Palmerston North, New Zealand) and she is particularly well qualified to talk on the subject. Her personal journey has seen her move from an administrative position in a university to becoming an academic.

Her key message was that you need to take charge! Don’t wait to be discovered – you need to have your CV and job file at the ready. You also need to be open to possibilities to do more.

You need to consider what your persona is.
You need to project a particular image of yourself. What are you abilities? Are you a good problem solver, a good speaker, a good communicator?
Upwards communication is important – you need to tell your boss about what you are doing – they don’t always know!
You need to pay attention to your image – be proactive and take steps to expand others image of you and your capabilities.
It is useful to look backwards and forwards at your career – to do a stock-take on yourself and look at your growth and sense of identity.

Volunteer to do stuff
This could be finding information for someone else to use, or volunteering to write a report. The key thing is to be ready and poised to take opportunities. You need to think of yourself as your own agent.
You need to network and be visible.

Performance appraisals
Prepare carefully for your performance appraisal and make appointments between these to make sure you are on track. Your performance appraisal is an opportunity for you to make sure your manager knows what you’ve achieved that you are proud of; what you would like to do more of; and what training and development you think would enhance your abilities.
Don’t rely on your manager to ask things that are relevant!
Make sure you have all the information you need for your review, and plan the points you want to get across.

Be organised and make things happen
Keep records on your job files – of relevant meetings, details of your achievements. Keep copies of emails and letters of appreciation. You can also keep examples of work you have done.
Make things happen and be your own agent of change!
Therapeutic whinging should just be a springboard to action 🙂

You can achieve more than you realise
Be aware of transferable skills that you have – and give specific examples of these in your CV.
Workplace learning – you are constantly increasing skills by being at work. Read documents and pay attention to what is happening around you.
Ask other people for advice – they are often very willing to give it.
Ask a speaker to come and talk to your team meeting about the innovation you would like to bring to your workplace.
Write an article, a report or a letter to those senior to you – get someone you trust to check it.
Make use of connections, your understanding of in-house processes.
Be aware of your own value!

Make use of resources
Use resources at your workplace – find books, people and courses to develop your career.
Marianne mentioned three useful books:
The personal efficiency program : how to stop feeling overwhelmed and win back control of your own work by Kerry Gleeson
Pressing the right buttons : people skills for business success by Allison Mooney
Working identity : unconventional strategies for reinventing your career by Herminia Ibarra

And her final comments:
It is very hard to stand back from your own life – that’s why mentors are so useful.
There is always a way – if you want something enough, for long enough, you will get there.
You will reach your goal – and if it’s not the one you were aiming for, it will be another one!

Using social media to build your brand – what we can glean from an academic’s perspective

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a session by Massey University’s Dr Cat Pause on using social media to promote your research.  I follow Cat on several social media platforms, and as someone who talks to academics about social media, I was interested to see what a real live academic  had to say to her peers on the subject. Is my advice on the right track?  I’ve now tweaked my report on her session to give some insights into how practising librarians and those involved in library research may use social media to build their personal brand.

Studying librarianship or interested in evidence based practice? Sign up to This is a bit like LinkedIn but specifically designed for the academic community.  Here you can set yourself up with a profile, add your research papers, and search for other researchers. will also alert you if anyone has come to your page on their search via a Google search. (She did also acknowledge other sites such as Researchgate but didn’t go into those in any detail, so it seems like is her choice here).

Next up was blogging. If you want to blog, Cat made the point that it is important to think about what purpose your blog will serve, and how often you plan to update it. Cat publishes something on the 5th of every month – so she makes a commitment to just blog once a month. She doesn’t subscribe to the view that if you aren’t blogging everyday you are doing it wrong.

Are you engaged in library research? Cat does most of her writing on social media first and this helps her develop her thoughts for her academic output. She does recommend researchers  “keep the good stuff” for their journal articles.

Tumblr was next. I’ve dabbled in this site myself but it doesn’t consistently hold my interest. Cat describes it as a “multimedia twitter” and apparently it is where the cool kids hang out 😉 If you have access to Library Life (is that still restricted to members only?) then check out Donna Robertson’s feature on Tumblr in the 13th August issue. I loved the quote that Tumblr is the “best baby that Twitter and WordPress didn’t know they had” – so great for those who want to do more than tweet, but who don’t want to commit to producing lengthy blog posts. Check out for an example of Tumblr being used by an academic. I know one New Zealand Library uses Tumblr, but are any librarians using it for their library related stuff?

And then of course there is Twitter. Cat talked about how it allows you to participate in conferences that you aren’t at – and plenty of library folk do just that as well. If you are presenting at a conference, you can use set up and synch tweets to go out as you do your presentation. I have to say this is a god send if you are at a conference – being able to retweet the speaker’s tweets is an incredibly handy shortcut. Cat says she probably uses Twitter more for communicating with other academics she doesn’t know, rather than using email – something about it being less threatening I think. She did say it was highly effective for doing something that academics don’t talk about much – and that is “building your brand”. I don’t think this is a thing librarians talk about much either! In the academic world, Inger Mewburn , who is the  @thesiswhispherer  on Twitter is one of the show stopper examples of someone who has done built a personal brand.

There was a brief mention of Facebook – and how you can set up a profile page rather than a personal page to allow people to like you. Check out Linda Bacon’s Facebook page an example in an academic setting.

Cat also has a Youtube channel where she can showcase her media appearances.

Cat’s final advice was that it is important to link your social media sites – so people can find you on different platforms. If you are interested in developing a personal brand on social media, think about whether you should focus on one area – for instance she focuses her on fat issues, rather than her other interests. This avoids diluting your brand.

Is personal brand building important to you as a Librarian? I’d be interested in your comments!

Great post on libraries and social media

If you have any involvement with social media in your library, be sure to check out Nancy Dowd’s post Social Media: Libraries are posting, but is anyone listening?

Some of the points that resonated with me:

1. The importance of having a plan “Without direction, social media content creators can be at risk of working in silos without any strategy to communicate their brand, connect to services, or drive people to the library or its website”

2. Think visually and mix in a little fun with “real” content

3. When it comes to who looks after social media “select people with the right skill set, then provide them with a framework of principles and goals, then let them have fun”




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Illinois Libraries Matter

byCatherine Bailey

As I’m in the middle of writing my first marketing plan for a library, it seemed perfect to write about my experience. I’ve previously written several marketing plans for shopping malls but this was my first time writing one for a library so I was interested to see how the experience would be different.

One of the first things I realized was that despite having worked under the previous marketing plan for my library, I rarely looked at it. I had diligently worked at and ticked off the marketing activities I had been assigned but I rarely looked at the strategy behind it. And I wondered why?

Like many people in the library world, marketing is just one part of my work. In my library world I have combined marketing with information desk work, adult programming and outreach. Call me double-booked, but I do not have the…

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