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How Service Organizations Can Assist Libraries

Moderator Yolanda Cuesta (left) and panelists (L-R) Coleman, Fullum Stovall, Brey-Casiano, and Ford explained how their service clubs work and how they can help libraries by providing support, manpower, and money.

Moderator Yolanda Cuesta (left) and panelists (L-R) Coleman, Fullum Stovall, Brey-Casiano, and Ford explained how their service clubs work and how they can help libraries by providing support, manpower, and money.

I was especially interested in the session titled Partnering With Service Organizations, since I give talks about community partnerships. This LLAMA PRMS session revealed some of the inner workings of service organizations and how they can help to fund and / or complete library projects.

The panel of four speakers each talked about an organization she belongs to, and each provided a handout of org info.

Carol Brey-Casiano talked about Rotary International, the world’s first service club, which boasts more than 1.2 million members worldwide. Its mission to serve others, to promote “high ethical standards,” and to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace, has a lot in common with the values of librarians, Brey-Casiano said. She also stressed its international reach and told listeners how it helped her learn valuable leadership skills.

Melody Coleman discussed her activities with the Lions Club and explained that while the Lions engage in a number of service activities, it focuses on helping those who have trouble with their eyesight. The fact that it helps pay for eye exams and glasses ties in with libraries’ literacy efforts – once a person can see, he or she can read. Lions have also funded large-print and Braille collections.

Sylverna Ford explained that the Kiwanis Club’s mission centers around enhancing communities by enhancing the lives of children. She said that the club’s weekly meetings give her great access to community leaders.

Pamela Fullum Stovall educated the audience about Altrusa, which began largely to help build the professional lives of women but now also focuses a lot on literacy, making it a natural partner for libraries. Altrusa often helps raise money and donate books for libraries.

Panel moderator Yolanda Cuesta talked briefly about Soroptimist International, which supports the needs of women and children.

All speakers agreed that their groups existed to help serve and fund local needs, and that the proposed projects do not always have to be strongly related to the organizations’ specialties. It’s smart to use your strategic plan to decide which organizations would be right to help you meet your goals.  The process of applying for funds from these groups is much less tedious and formal than those necessary to apply for many corporate or national grants. And they offer more than funding — members often volunteer their time for chosen service projects as well. And while all the panelists emphasized that you do not have to be a member to approach the groups for assistance, it sure doesn’t hurt. Finally, it’s very worthwhile to be a member, not only to have the camaraderie of local movers and shakers, but also to have their support and understanding, and to grow from the experience of belonging.

~Kathy Dempsey

editor, Marketing Library Services newsletter

Hitting their Targets

Peter Persic and Marcia Schneider

Peter Persic and Marcia Schneider



I started my Saturday with a good session called Targeted Marketing: Hitting the Bull’s Eye, which was sponsored by PLA. (Nod to earlier post on Alphabet Soup: this one stands for Public Library Assn.) I was glad to see a session on this important topic, although the info presented wasn’t so much about dividing people into target markets as it was case studies about how the two speakers reached certain groups they had already decided to promote to.

The large room was packed as Peter Persic, PR & Marketing Director from the Los Angeles PL, started his case study. He gave four basic steps for reaching a target market:

  1. 1. Identify your problem / situation
  2. 2. Identify your solution
  3. 3. Assemble a team
  4. 4. Develop a creative brief

I’d never heard of a “creative brief” before, but it was simply a name Persic used for a write-up of parts of a marketing plan – naming the goal & the audience, doing a SWOT analysis, designing your message, and deciding how to measure success.

In this case, the LAPL had replaced a number of old buildings with new ones, and the organization needed to let people know about all the new libraries had to offer. Luckily, a well-connected colleague was able to get PR giant Ogilvy to create a campaign pro-bono. After sharing all their info with Ogilvy, the firm decided to show off the new face of LAPL with a series of photos featuring the tagline, “This is your library.” Short and to the point, the words hover over photos of people and things that the public might not expect to see in a library, such as an espresso machine and a librarian with pink hair.

While Persic showed slides of these attention-getting posters, the actual campaign has not yet launched (they’re hoping to do it this autumn). He said that LAPL hadn’t yet worked out exactly how it planned to evaluate the campaign’s success, but polls and news monitoring were on the table.

The next presenter, Marcia Schneider, is Chief of Communications, Collections, and Adult Services for the San Francisco PL. In similar fashion to her co-presenter, she discussed a “branch library improvement program” that included 27 branches. I like the way she described the old buildings that SFPL replaced. Rather than just saying they were outdated or in poor condition, she said that (aside from just one that was completely new) the last time the organization had built a new branch was “the year we put a man on the moon.” That was a good example of how to use popular culture references to make a statement of need more powerful.

And while I was eager to hear more about how the library created a campaign to target its constituents, it turned out that SLPL also had the good fortune of using Ogilvy. In this case, the firm developed a new color scheme, brochures, and website.

While both of these projects were impressive, they didn’t deliver quite what I had thought they would in terms of explaining to the audience just how to successfully target specialized audiences. If only all libraries could manage to have professional firms figure it out for them! Sigh…

~Kathy Dempsey

Editor, Marketing Library Services newsletter

We're Ready to Hit the Ground Running (with help from Boopsie)



It’s been barely 2 weeks since the Infotoday bloggers said goodbye at the end of SLA’s Annual Conference in DC. Yet it’s time to start up again, this time for ALA’s Annual in Chicago. And with a couple of personnel changes for this next show, we’re rarin’ to go.

We officially begin our coverage on Saturday, July 11, but you might see a couple more introductory posts like this one before then. I’m Kathy Dempsey, and I’ll be kicking off this show’s coverage.

Right now, it’s 2 days before I fly to Chicago for ALA, and I’m pretty much ready to hit the ground running. I’ve registered, I have a hotel room, and I’ve made my schedule. This year, I used a new tool with a funny name to help with my schedule. It’s called Boopsie. Have you heard about it yet?

ALA has partnered with Boopsie so you can access the conference info on your web-enabled mobile phone. I downloaded it quickly and easily onto my G-1 Android (there are dif versions for dif phones). It works like magic! To find the sessions I wanted to attend, I just typed in the first few letters of the title, and choices appeared. I clicked on the correct choice, and Boopsie showed me the full title, speaker names, event description, and best of all, the location.

Those of you with full registration have probably used ALA’s Event Planner for this. But others (like exhibitors and press) don’t have access to the full planner, so I always had to wait to get my printed Final Program on site in order to learn the locations of many of the sessions. Now that’s already done — fantastic! But really, Boopsie is meant to help you while you’re on-the-go.

You can see ALA’s description and download instructions here. I encourage you to download it and try it. (Yep, it’s free!)

Since I’m the editor of the Marketing Library Services newsletter, I’ll be attending sessions that revolve around promotion, marketing, media communication, and PR. So keep an eye out for me at the PRMS all-committee meeting, the PR Forum, and sessions on advocacy and partnership. And I’ll have a table at the Swap & Shop (Sunday, 11a-1:30p, Exh Hall, Special Events Area), where I’ll not only be giving out free sample copies of Marketing Library Services, but I’ll be selling and signing copies of my new book, The Accidental Library Marketer!!

So keep checking back here at the InfoToday Blog for my coverage of marketing- and promo-related events. And if you see me at one of them, please stop me & say Hello! Our other ace bloggers will jump in soon too, and as a team we’re going to be able to deliver some great coverage. Stay tuned!

 ~Kathy Dempsey, Editor, Marketing Library Services newsletter