Library Marketing and Communications Conference 2019
I had the opportunity to attend the 5th annual Library Marketing and Communications Conference in St. Louis last week. This conference came highly recommended by members of the statewide marketing cohort I belong to, and they were right. This was one of the most informative, enriching and engaging conferences I have had the privilege to attend in my professional career.
This is the only conference of its kind that focuses solely on marketing and communication in the library world, and the schedule was jam packed with programs that touched on visual communication, internal and external strategy, community engagement and tools of the trade.
The conference has steadily grown since it started 5 years ago and has completely sold out every year. I would highly recommend this conference to anybody interested in exploring this niche of library work and the distinct challenges it presents.
There were also plenty of networking breaks to meet with other library marketers from public libraries, systems and academic libraries from across the country and even some international attendees. During the opening session I sat next to a marketer from Florida State University and when she saw my nametag proclaimed “I love cheese curds!” I wasn’t sure if Wisconsinites are expected to carry them on us at all times.
In the next section I am going to recap some of the highlights of the conference as well as share my thoughts and takeaways. The conference organizers have made the slide shows and presentations from each of the sessions available to attendees and I will have them linked below.
- Overview - This session covered intermediate to advanced animation techniques and assumed some familiarity with Adobe video editing software. The presenter showcased how digital signage running loops of animated book covers were used to engage students in the sci-fi lounge at Georgia Tech. He also used some of the same techniques to create videos for author visits and other outreach.
- My Takeaway - I can definitely see an application for this approach to video content creation for us. Video content is a proven winner in social media engagement and creating, short 15-20 second videos to accompany a post designed to be shared seems very doable.
Overview – Memes are definitely one of the most popular ways to communicate within certain demographics, but are they too risky to be used by libraries? This session provided background on contemporary meme culture and offered tips for how to keep your memes fresh, relevant and resonate with your audience.
My Takeaway – Who knew you could fill an hour talking about memes? I consider myself fairly well versed in meme culture and was pretty keen to see how others have successfully used these as part of their overall marketing strategy. There’s a fine line to walk when using memes, and you could easily post something that originated as offensive, but I still feel that they are a nice option when appropriate.
- Overview – Considering how much money is spent on collections, they typically garner a much smaller percentage of the overall marketing efforts. With circulation down, libraries are looking for ways to shine the spotlight on their collections and engage readers who aren’t already coming through the doors.
- My Takeaway – This was perhaps the most thought provoking session of the conference from my point of view and I was madly scribbling down every thought that crossed my mind during this hour. Chatham-Kent Public Library’s “We’ve Got a Book for That” marketing campaign really hit a chord with me and I am starting to plan out something similar for InfoSoup.
- Overview – The presenter of this session talked about the social justice model of disability and principals of accessible and inclusive design. She was born with a visual impairment and has an understanding of how to approach design from the perspective of including those with disabilities.
- My Takeaway – This session provided a lot of insight on how to make accessibility a part of your marketing planning process and make sure you follow through with the best practices. I think we all want to do a better job at making sure our outreach is accessible to everybody and this session provided a lot of touchpoints to consider during the early stages of any project.
Overview – This presentation did a great job of covering some of the basic fundamentals of good design including font selection, color schemes and layout. The presenter shared examples of bad and good design that were promoting the same event and the audience would get to help pick out the mistakes and what worked.
- My Takeaway – You might be asking yourself why somebody that is a graphic designer picked a session geared towards the basics. One of the reasons why is that I’m always interested in how others present this information to people that aren’t designers by profession. I’m always striving to improve my own skill set and sometimes going back to the foundation of good design is a nice refresher. Another thought I had while attending this session would be to see if there would be any interest in a webinar going over the principals of design and some easy tips and tricks to make your visuals stand out?
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- Overview – Angela Hursh, the person behind superlibrarymarketing.com, presented this rapid fire session that covered a lot of ground in just an hour. She is a big proponent of actual user engagement over vanity metrics and she shared some of her tactics to lessen the frustration about making the most of your library’s social media outreach. She covered the major platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube and the idiosyncrasies of each.
- My Takeaway – If you don’t already follow Angela’s blog, superlibrarymarketing.com, go ahead and do that right now. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you get back. I have found her blog to be a never-ending font of useful tips and insights that I try to incorporate into my own work. I really liked the format of this session because it didn’t dwell on any one particular platform or strategy, but provided an option to cherry pick the tactics that were relevant to your social media strategy.