Promoting our recreational reading collection

We have a smallish collection of novels in our academic library to give staff and students the option of relaxing with a book, rather than studying one. This collection is receiving a promotional boost pre-Christmas with this eye-catching display on level 1 of our library on the Manawatū campus. Our lending team have put this together and utilised some clever 3D effects to give some visual interest.


Love the humour!IMG_2408

IMG_2407I think I fancy a little Riesling with my reading this summer!

Do you have a rec reading collection in your academic or special library? How do you go about promoting it?



Tell us what you like! Getting student input

At Massey University Library we are reorganising some of the student areas on level 1 of our building on the Manawatū campus. As part of this project my colleagues on the project team are gathering feedback from students about what types of furniture they would like.

Their method for gathering feedback is straightforward and simple – and utterly brilliant.

A display has been set up to gather the feedback. There are visuals for the different furniture options and a short description for each. Nothing too wordy here:

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Students can vote for the furniture options they would like:

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They also have the option to add other comments on post-it notes:

photo (12)


And this has to be my favourite post-it 🙂

photo (2)In addition we have also given students the option to comment on our Library blog, Library Out Loud, and via our Facebook page.



Signs I like

I think it was Karen Schneider who described library signs as “library graffiti” at the recent LIANZA2012 conference – mind you this phenomenon isn’t exclusive to libraries. Outside the intensive care unit at a hospital I was visiting recently there were about 3 different signs advising you to push the bell and wait!

We’ve been making great efforts to standardise our additional signage here at Massey University Library. Sometimes however it works to step away from your “look”. My colleagues Joanna Wenman and Nicola Harris have devised these roadworks signs to highlight one of our collections that is on the move. They do incorporate a colour from our branding palette but the eye-catching shape and style is a great point of difference, and lends itself to being attached to either our OPACs or major directional signage. I think they work well!

Kiwiana theme a winner [or catering for a library do on the cheap]

Recently we held a promotional event at Massey University Library for our academics, showcasing some of our newer services such as eTV and our Discover interface. Partly inspired by a Christmas do I went to last year, we decided upon a kiwiana theme for the food. We didn’t have a lot of money to spend so the cheap and cheerful fare of cheerios* and tomato sauce, sausage rolls, lamingtons, chips and dip etc made for a low cost catering option. And one we could easily put together ourselves. Sure we wouldn’t win any Heart Foundation ticks for it, but it was popular and fun. One I would recommend for those of us in New Zealand looking to entertain our library customers on a budget!

Kiwiana treats – Foxton Fizz, L&P and lamingtons

And we also served up a rather nice (alcohol free) punch.

*these are cocktail type sausages in NZ speak, not the cereal 🙂

I’m not saying it has to be cheese and wine … but …

Welcome to my first guest post – this one showcases promotional events in an academic library. 

A big thank you to my colleague Heather da Vanzo, Humanities & Social Sciences Librarian, Massey University Library, Wellington campus

Libraries do need to up their game when it comes to marketing. Having worked in a variety of sectors, most recently in the Academic sector it’s clear that Libraries have moved from collection based institutions towards service based organizations – I’m just not sure we’re communicating the value of our collection to our clients.

Currently being in a small team our marketing has to be sustainable, we’ve agreed that 2 promotional events a year is feasible. We aren’t talking huge events – just 20-30 guests – again manageable and for us it allows us to offer a “hands-on” aspect to the session.

Tailoring the sessions to client needs is crucial – it keeps numbers manageable, but also ensures a clear message. So far our target audience has been postgraduates, researchers and staff but his could change, depending on the resources we market and the venue.

Heather da Vanzo presents at a Massey University Library event at our Wellington campus

As always it’s important we don’t reinvent the wheel so we’ve designed a check list of logistical tasks. The checklist ensures we can divide the tasks amongst the team and utilize a package of templates including a door sign, poster, bookmark and invitation email. Apart from saving time, these templates retain some consistency to the Libraries “promotion” brand.  We can easily change the colour and logo to match the theme of the promotional event.

Really it’s been about getting staff and researchers into the Library space and showing them the Library has what they need. Assuming we are familiar with the purpose of the institution and the needs of the clients, Librarians are in the best position to make the match between client and resource.  Essentially show clients our relevance.

We have offered, cake and coffee, cheese and wine, catering which doesn’t break the bank; but creates a welcoming impression with the client and gets them through the door. And it strikes a chord:

“Great session…..very informative and clearly presented…makes much more impact when you get a presentation rather than finding the info out by working through the data……and let’s face it….mostly we wouldn’t bother…….great cake too!” Associate Professor Ciochetto

We’ve found promotional events a great way to build relationships, promote our resources and look competent!

Note: Photo and quote used with permission

So it’s like YOUR Google?

At Massey University Library we have recently launched our Discover database –  which offers an integrated Google-style search of many of the Library’s article databases, ebooks, the catalogue, Massey Research Online and other resources, instead of searching each resource individually. Anyone can search Discover from our Library home page. Our publicity for Discover stepped up a notch this week at our Turitea campus with a simple but eye-catching display going up. We are starting to get more of branded look for our posters now using a specific template. We got the posters printed by our printery on campus so we could get some larger sizes, and had them finish them in a nice matt finish.  
The posters include quotes from initial student feedback:
Today we had a quick working party in the office to staple sweets to bookmarks and we then took them out to the Information Commons to hand out to students (felt a bit like channelling my inner flight attendant*). So that quick promotional effort reached over 100 students and it was a winner – we got several students asking us about Discover – one said “so it’s like your Google?” Right on the money. I think that actively distributing promotional materials with the added attraction of some candy is a technique that is well worth us trying again in the future.


 *In New Zealand flight attendants walk up and down the aisles distributing sweets before getting organised for landing.


Displays I like #1

I didn’t have to go far to find this one – this display is showcasing the Massey University Distance Library service at our Turitea campus library in Palmerston North.

 The photo doesn’t show it effectively but the graphics have a 3D effect as the images aren’t positioned flat against the display board. I think the effect is really eye-catching. And your eye is drawn to the central part of the display with its key message (we deliver books to you!), with the detailed information around the outside.

Distance Library Manager, Heather Lamond, tells me that the display was  the work of team member Div Collins. Good stuff 🙂

Sometimes simple promotional tools work the best!

At Massey University Library we’ve been developing some online tutorials for students and as part of the project we are getting a few students to evaluate each one. We weren’t sure how easy it would be to interest students in taking part, but the lure of the $5 printing credit seems to have worked quite well. We put a notice up on the blackboard that we have outside the library, and the whiteboard we have up on level 2 where the information commons is. These proved really effective at recruiting students – even though it’s mid-semester break and there are fewer students around we got the 6 business students we needed in what was effectively less than a day. This was a way better result than we were expecting and gives us a bit of confidence that the evaluation process isn’t going to hold up the production of tutorials at all.

Whiteboard marketing also came into its own earlier in the week. I was scheduled to take a 5.15pm intro Endnote class on Wednesday night. There were no takers on Tuesday morning, but thanks to a message on the whiteboard I  had 11 people at the class in the end.