Kansas Library Association Conference 2012

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?”

FridayFriday the session I attended was “DIY PR: Ten Easy ways to Promote and Market Your Library” lead by Susan Brown, Marketing Director at Lawrence Public Library. The knowledge I gained from this session was INVALUABLE. So, I’ll just jump straight into the 10 tips she gave.#10 Write a Good Press Release

One Page. 3 Paragraphs. Include your logo. Write it as a story printable as is. Include a quote. Send it in the email and attached to the email as a Word and PDF file.#9 Make Friends with the MediaSusan started her job as marketing director by offering to buy coffee for all the media people she would need to intereact with, she could then glean from them how they like to receive their information. She learned from them also, to only send that well-written press release to the one person who wants it, not to the entire newsroom. She gave them all her cell phone number too.#8 Leverage Free Resources

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.

USE YOUR EMAIL SIG FILE. This idea was totally new to me (I don’t even have a signature on my emails). She recommended putting upcoming events at the library in your sig file or what your currently reading.Update patrons through a e-newletter and send personal emails to art center staff say for an art event.#7 Tell a Great StoryDon’t get hooked on your stats. Talk about your people.

#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

Susan Brown’s blog is http://658point8.com/ and her twitter is 658point8

Final Takeaways

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.

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2 Responses to Kansas Library Association Conference 2012

  1. Lesley says:

    Sounds like a great conference for you! Yay!

  2. Lee Dobratz says:

    Just found this blog entry. Lee says–come on wid’ it! Glad you liked the presentation, I had great fun!

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