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Apr 22

Making things easier for our users

In my current, short-term (sigh) role as Acting Information Services Librarian, I work closely with our Publicity Officer (our desks are adjacent in our own little corner at our library HQ). We were talking the other day and it was brought home to me how much work is done behind the scenes to make things easier for our users.

Case in point: The Library’s monthly newsletter.

Not even thinking about all the work that goes into the content creation, once that has happened, this is what our Publicity Officer does to get it to our users.

She creates the newsletter in In Design. She then creates a jpeg of it for our website. Then there is the Shockwave file for users to be able to read it like a magazine online. Then for those who don’t want to, or can’t read it like that, she creates single pages of the newsletter and saves it as a pdf.  Then lastly there is the HTML file for the subscribers, which is emailed out once everything has been tested to within an inch of its life. 

And that’s not including the work that goes into the print versions that are created for pick up at our libraries.

We do all this, so there is no barrier to users accessing our monthly newsletter.

I then thought about the process I go through for promoting library events. I create a slide for our website slideshow using PhotoShop Elements and then a page on our website, which incorporates this and all the rest of the information relating to the event. I then add the event to Eventbrite for our online bookings. Then it has to be in our Google Calendar, which we embed in our website as Calendar of Events, followed by another different (and much larger slide) for our digital photo frames. Then I update the SD card for the host branch and send it to them to changeover in their digital photo frame.

This is totally separate of course (but in conjunction with for consistencies sake), to the flyers, posters that our Publicity Officer produces, as well as the articles that are created for our own newsletter, as well as those of our two Councils (as appropriate). Then some are added to Facebook or included in our Library News blog as well. And again that is not taking into account, all the organisation of such events in the first place, as well as the running of and after event follow-up.

Why do we do all this? Because we want to use every means possible (and ethical) to promote events to users that may be of interest to them.

We have quite a busy schedule of one-off events, besides our regular events, so it ends up that we spend a lot of time doing this.

I’m not complaining though, I really enjoy the whole process, particularly creating the event slides – I think I may be a bit of a closet graphic artist (and a very late-starter).

And this is just one part of what libraries do to make things easier for our users. Its a lot of hard work, but it is worth it.

So it got me wondering what other lengths we go to, to make things easier for our users.  I would love to hear your stories.

 

 

 

 

4 comments

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  1. moonflowerdragon

    Hi Michelle

    Thanks for sharing what is involved behind the scenes – I wonder have you done an estimate of the time involved – and does that get factored into evaluation of events?

    Looking over the processes I don’t see any way to make it all more efficient – have you been looking at any cross-channel approaches? (I don’t know of any but I keep seeing that word ‘cross-channel’ floating around).

  2. Michelle McLean

    We already share text cross-purposefully and re-use the same images etc, so its not as work intensive as it could be.

    Hard to know what the balance is, because there is no way to directly measure the impact. But we know from feedback, that people are finding our events through these means, so its not a waste of time.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. HelenK

    Hi Michelle,

    It’s great that you think about the variety of ways users find out about the events for your library service.

    Do you have stats on the breakdown of how they found out about the different types of events?

    I’m curious, as I heard my team discussing it other day and learnt that 70% of our internet training bookings come from the local newspaper, as do 60% for our other programs.

    Helen K

  4. Michelle McLean

    Helen,

    Thanks for your comment. I only have anecdotal evidence. Most of our event attendees find out through flyers in our branches, but not as many as used to be. The proportion of those discovering through digital sources is always growing.

    Michelle

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