LibGuides, Loop and Library Videos…marketing Library services at Cregan Library

My pitch centred around effective ways to market library services using three different tools: a “Welcome to the Library video”, a “virtual learning environment” (Loop), and online Library guides (LibGuides). Library Camp 2015First we looked at who our “target market” might be and decided that the student profile (made up of 66% undergraduate students and 24% who are online/distance learners) were the most important demographic that the Library weren’t currently reaching. Many Undergraduates use the Library mainly as study-space and are unaware of the vast number of resources, facilities and services that we offer them. For my MLIS (completed last year) I researched the information literacy of our Postgraduate students and found that many of our online/distance learners would like more support from the Library when it comes to their information use. So the question posed was how to reach non/limited users and distance learners. I explained each tool briefly, mentioned some advantages and then we brainstormed how to market Library services effectively using each one. I asked one leading ‘post-it’ question per tool and the group came up with some really interesting ideas!

1. “Welcome to the Library video”

Market: new students, distance learners, non-users and potential students Advantages:

  • Showcases the new Library
  • Instructs on new facilities
  • Highlights the Library’s role in teaching & learning
  • Supplements Library orientation

Brainstorm Q: How can we make the video ‘engaging’ to students??? Answers:

  1. Interview students about the Library
  2. Interview friendly library staff
  3. Brevity – keeping it short & sweet!
  4. Avoid info overload
  5. Show activity at the information desk

Post-it Q: Ideas on how we can get students to participate in a Library video:

  • Go outside the Library and ask students around the campus to be involved
  • Ask the Student’s Union for help
  • Ask the Access office for success stories utilising the Library’s impact on students’ studies
  • Have a waive on library fines for participants
  • Offer money off photocopying
  • Give a prize
  • Recruit volunteers on social media
  • Offer free lunches
  • Make it into a Library ‘event’ – invite students informally
  • Offer a title such as ‘Library ambassador’ for participation
  • Use media art, or business studies students to be involved on a project-basis/as work experience

2. Loop (virtual learning environment)

Market: all students and distance/online learners in particular Advantages:

  • Free to the Library
  • Students automatically enrolled to a “Library Loop” page
  • Info is online at their ‘point-of-need’
  • More interactivity possible than with traditional Library website
  • Online classroom facility for info-literacy sessions with distance students

Brainstorm Question: What are the possible disadvantages of setting up a ‘Library Loop’ page??? Answers:

  1. Less foot-fall in the Library
  2. Not accessible to everyone (i.e. less I.T. savvy students)
  3. Increased expectation that all info is online
  4. Increased expectations that we are constantly there to answer questions

Post-it Q: What ‘content’ would you put up on a Library Loop page??? Ideas:

  • New resources – ‘just-in’
  • Useful bibliographies
  • Library staff contact details
  • A newsletter/news
  • User surveys
  • Recommended resources
  • Course info
  • Weblinks
  • Materials for answers to likely exam Qs
  • Past exam papers
  • Link to Library Catalogue

3. LibGuides:

Library Camp 2015This cloud-based content management system allows librarians (with limited coding skills!) to create attractive and easy-to-use guides to Subjects, Collections and events (to name but a few)… Target market? Everyone! Advantages:

  • Guides can be embedded in Loop/VLE.
  • Can increase web traffic to Library resources
  • Can be used to make recommendations or ‘best bets’ for quality info sources
  • Markets the info service
  • Allows collaboration with academics

Brainstorm Q: How can we promote the guides??? Answers:

  1. Through a poster presentation to all College staff
  2. Get buy-in from Lecturers
  3. Embed the guides in Loop/Library website
  4. Use them during Library orientation for new students

Post-it Q: How can we encourage academics to collaborate with the Library on LibGuides?? Ideas:

  • Through Focus groups
  • Word of mouth
  • Assure (and re-assure!) training and support
  • Offer a service in exchange

(we started running out of time here!) In short, I learned a lot about making presentations more interactive and came away from my pitch with loads of brilliant ideas for using these tools to effectively market Library services. Further ideas welcome! You can reach me on genevieve.larkin@spd.dcu.ie.

by Genevieve Larkin

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