Library Marketing and remote users

This week as I start to get into the real meat and bones of the first assignment for my Managing Library Services module I have been mostly reading about library marketing. In particular, I’ve been reading Ned Potter’s Library Marketing Toolkit which has proved to be a real source of inspiration not just for my assignment but also my working life.

The library I work in is a specialist academic library with the majority of students based in the main building. However, there is also a smaller building a 5 – 10 minute walk away which is home to students who spend a large percentage of their time over there. While I’m not using any hard-researched evidence to back this up, I can speak from issue desk experience that this physical dislocation means we see these students less in the library than those who are in the same building as us. Lately I’ve been thinking about how we can engage these students more with our services and encourage them to make the time to come over to the library, so it was very useful to read about the importance of knowing that if the user perceives the cost of the service to be too high (in terms of time invested) versus what they actually get out of it, they won’t utilise the service.

Tied in to that is Potter’s emphasis on the importance of promoting the benefits of our services, rather than the features. A student doesn’t care about the myriad of features of the electronic databases we subscribe to, but they do care if using a particular database will provide them with excellent essay references that they couldn’t find otherwise.

Definite food for thought, and I’ll be keeping those points in particular in my mind as I consider our remote users and how we can promote the benefits of the library service to them.