Competency D - Statement and Evidence
Portfolio of Cathleen Elizabeth Ash
apply the fundamental principles of planning, management and marketing/advocacy;
Marketing is all about planning: planning the new services, the target audience, asking questions. Are you attempting to reach a population that doesn't use your services yet? Or a population that uses some of your services but isn't aware of others? Do you hope to increase visits to the library itself? Or the website? Once some of these questions are asked, then the true planning can begin. It usually begins with an Environmental Scan, a market analysis, and an understanding of the target audience to be served by the campaign.
Any marketing endeavor needs to weigh cost and benefit. Is the new event or service designed to meet ten percent of the population? or thirty? Does the budget needed to implement the event or service align to the percent of the population that it will serve? It would not benefit a library to spend ninety percent of its annual resources on an event geared to ten percent of its user population.
Once a service or event has been decided by analyzing data from surveys, understanding client needs, and assessing the current community environment, it's time to draft the plan and implement. Included in any well-thought out plan are budgets and timelines. These should be as realistic as possible and clear and easy to follow. It's now time to actually market the event, through press releases, word of mouth, internal and external advertising. Once the new event or service is put in place, the marketing does not end. It is necessary to follow up with some type of assessment of the level of success of the new venture and a determination of whether it (or something like it) should be done again, or revamped and retried. This is marketing.
Marketing is advocacy - for the freedom to read, to find information, to access services offered by the library. Advocacy, however, should not end there. Libraries need to advocate themselves through marketing to strategic community players - be they at the local, state or national level.
I have advocated for school libraries at the local level, addressing technology concerns in the school libraries to a local Assemblymember. I have advocated for colleagues who were ill-treated in the local community due to an absence of a union or guidelines that allowed for access to information. I have marketed my school library with its users (students and teachers) and stakeholders (administration, district personnel, parents, businesses). I have promoted the ideas of libraries in a Banned Book week annual display that encourages discussion of the freedom to read and right to information. I have served populations less likely to use the library services and increased their participation in events and reading in general (booktalks, Anime and LAN parties - see Evidence O). In all of these instances, the steps (all or most of them) listed above were followed. Some events were more well-received than others, and these became the benchmark for future successes and planning.Marketing never ends. It's an ongoing endeavor required for any successful business, especially those that are service-based.
A plan to implement new services to users, including a press release. The focus is on the reluctant reader, struggling reader, and ELL population, in addition to the Anime Fan Club: all current users of library services. The plan will increase users' use of services.
An opportunity to meet with the local Assemblymember of my school district to advocate technology spending in school libraries.
District Board Meeting Presentation
At an award ceremony honoring the libraries in the school district that met or exceeded state goals (our had two awards), this presentation was designed to reinforce the need for funding. (this is a large file - 5 mg - and requires sound).
Site Council 2006
A request for needed items went out to the staff, with an acknowledgement that an estimated $100k would be available. Any requests had to be done in person, in three minutes, before the school site council. The first five or six slides in this presentation were used - the entire slide packet was handed out to the council for their later review.
(Note: the presentation was at least partially successful! We received the okay for $5000 - more than double what the state awarded to libraries for book purchases this year)
Annual library newsletters are distributed to staff; additional newsletters are generated as needed. The latest edition (September 2006) is available here.
Colleagues A recent firing of a teacher not covered by union support demanded advocacy. Information was not available to the public and a stand was made to ensure similar things would not happen in the future. Read the articles in the local paper (yes, that is me with the bullhorn), and the Opinion letter I wrote that was published. Online Portfolio Marketing of self - planning for future positions in the library setting.