Glasses. Check. Cardigan. Check. Name tag. Check. I was ready for the Kansas Library Association (KLA) Conference. The Conference took place at the Hyatt Hotel in Wichita, Kansas from Wednesday, April 11th to Friday, April 13th. The Conference takes place annually and is a nexus of knowledge sharing, and idea brainstorming.
My first day of the Conference, I was able to view Emporia State University library students projects. I also attended my first session titled “Bartending at the Circ Desk”. The session was lead by Lee Dobratz, director of the Council Grove Library and former Bartender. What I learned: Greet your patrons within 30 seconds of their arrival (obviously more applicable to smaller libraries). Talk up your specials- i.e. your displays, new books, new services. Offer to give new patrons a tour of your “menu”-i.e. your stacks and services. Show off what you know, suggest books, promote book clubs and give “insider” information such as new books in. Check back with patrons. Read people, look for eye contact, if they don’t meet your eyes maybe you’re not giving off an air of approach-ability. When dealing with angry patrons revert to your policies, rules, and supervisors. Say “I’m sorry, let’s investigate.” Drop your voice and use your “Mom” voice to sooth them. The biggest thing I took away from the session was “Never say No”. If you can’t help a patron, refer them to somebody who can or say “no” in a different way like “I’m sorry I’m not able to help you today.” Also, personal relationships are big. Introduce your customers to your colleagues. She ended the session by reminding us all “Where would we be without our patrons?”
Use online community calendars, put your art events in the Art Center calender, put your buisness/job related events in the Chamber of Commerce Calender.
#6 Collect Great Stories
Collect patron stories anyway you can and use Snapshot Day to it’s full potential. Snapshot Day is an annual event where librarians collect stats and photos and stories from their patrons.
#5 Repurpose Content
Use those collected photos and stories over and over again in different ways when promoting your library.
#4 Be Social (with Social Media)
Don’t just blast event updates, engage people in conversations. Read the book “Trust Agents”, the author says to promote someone else on social media 10 times for every time you promote yourself.
#3 Get out of the Library
Get a table at festivals, host programs outside the library. Create a Pop-Up Library at community events.
#2 Promote within First
Tell your staff, trustees or foundation members what’s going on at the library.
#1 Build Relationships
The Conference really reaffirmed to me that I want to be a librarian. I love working at the circulation desk and would love to do marketing for a library in the future. The sessions I attended will help me be better at my job and perhaps reach new goals. I also met two great people, Lee Dobratz and Susan Brown, who may provide *crosses fingers* interviews for this blog. I would love to go visit their libraries an shadow them for a day, too.