Promoting EPIC resources – ideas from the vendors at LIANZA11

One of the sessions I attended at the recent LIANZA conference was about the promotion of EPIC databases, with the session being presented by the vendors themselves.  You can find all their presentations from the session on the EPIC website .  Below are some of the ideas I took particular note of.

Most vendors provide:

–          posters that either you or they can customise for you

–          Search widgets for your website

–          Training for library staff in their resources

Liza Fisher from Gale Cengage talked about “shelf talkers” to make the link between hardcopy and print – they can provide these for libraries. This is what they look like:

Example of a Shelf Talker: Photo courtesy Gale Cengage

Liza also made a point that I whole heartedly agree with – you absolutely have to identify key content for your customers. In some library contexts promoting big databases can be overwhelming for staff and irrelevant for customers. Liza suggests taking opportunities to highlight journals that might appeal to your customers – for instance if you someone asks where the golfing books are this could be an opportunity to promote access to golfing magazines on the EPIC databases. This “would you like fries with that” approach is not so alien to us – it is an extension of our customer service values. As Camille from Britannica said at the same session, we librarians are in sales. Every great sales person worth their salt knows their product – and we have to know our products and resources too. Liza mentioned what they did at Auckland City Libraries a few years ago now where they ran a display competition between branches, with each branch promoting a different resource. In this way staff at each branch become familiar with at least one of the resources on offer.

In one of my earlier posts I included some ideas for promoting EPIC databases from the nz-libs list. Be sure to check that out – there are some great ideas there from libraries around New Zealand and staff training was a key tool. I also included a link to Julie Badger’s excellent article about the challenges of promoting library databases. If you only have time to read one article on libraries and marketing, make it hers 🙂

Jenica Rogers – passionate librarian

Ah Jenica, where were you years ago when I needed you?

Jenica’s Roger’s keynote at the recent LIANZA conference was all about how to keep moving forward despite the odds stacked against you. Her talk was full of metaphors – climbing hills, moving through walls – accompanied by powerful imagery and sparse words on her powerpoint slides. There were times when I thought to myself that her keynote was sounding too much like something out of a self-help manual. How cynical of me. There were some real gems in what she said, some solid reminders of how to approach what you want to get done. Days later her talk is still resonating with me, and after finding it pretty much verbatim on her blog I suddenly feel the urge to print out some of the images she has there and put them around my desk.

So here are some of the things I noted from her talk:

• You are your own best weapon in the things you want to change
• Why are you fixing on an idea? What resonates for you? If you can figure out that then you have something to act on
• She talked about an actionable passion – a belief in something and a belief that it can be done. It is important to name your passion and be optimistic about it
• Important to challenge legacy processes
• You come back from conference and then you are just one person. What next?? Jenica used climbing hills as a metaphor for facing challenges. But you have to figure out which hill is worth climbing. Not all hills are worth climbing and some battles are not worth fighting. We have the power to choose what we work on.
• The secret is to approach success as you would any project. You have to plan for it, organize it, and manage it. She thinks any goal, every goal, should be project managed. You need to make a plan, draw yourself a map and then follow it. Having scripts helps to deal with unexpected.
• Build an ugly rocket to get you where you want to get to – you may not like everything you have to do to get where you want to be
• Success requires some tolerance for failure
• What’s the worst that can happen?
• We must not have fear driving us?
• Ask yourself why someone is blocking you? Can you find an ally? Find yourself a team. Sometimes finding someone to speak for us is our power.
• Build a world of professional peers – use the internet (my comment on this would be absolutely – find great people on Twitter and follow them!)
• You need to network – this is not your last job!
• Know yourself and set your priorities accordingly

Her best metaphor was left till last. It was all about farmers, and how whatever happens they never feel like they have had a good year. Extending this to librarians she said – we have been here a long time, and it’s never been a good year for libraries – get over it.


Some of this stuff I knew, some I wish I had heard years ago. I’m pleased I got to have the reminder about what’s important to help get the job done and not go crazy.