Marketing Archives - Jo Alcock Consulting
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My MSc Econ dissertation titled 'Strategic marketing in academic libraries: an examination of current practice' is now available on Aberystwyth University's open access repository. I know a number of people said they were interested in viewing it so I've included the details below. I have also added it to my publications page. Strategic marketing in academic libraries: an investigation of current practice Purpose The purpose of the research is to investigate strategic marketing in academic libraries, incorporating elements of organisational orientation, strategic planning, and processes and procedures to support these. Aims and objectives The aim of the research is to build on existing literature, extending the knowledge of...

Earlier today I gave a presentation at the Oxford Social Media 2011 event hosted by Oxford University Libraries. The brief was to discuss ways to market yourself as a librarian using social media, and rather than just update my previous presentation on a similar topic, I chose to change the focus slightly and concentrate on the marketing and personal branding side of things rather than the fundamentals of social media.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been thinking recently about advocacy and educating people; not necessarily on a huge scale like some of the campaigning going on in the library world, but on an individual level. It's sort of a double pronged approach - doing things at ground level to help spread the word as well as some of the larger scale campaigns. Some examples As a librarian, I often end up in conversations where I try to explain what I do to people. I'm not as good as I'd like to be at it, especially since moving to research...

Library definition
Library definition from Collins
Quite a lot actually, when you're a librarian. A recurring professional issue in librarianship is defining what a librarian does to a member of the public. Laura (Theatregradrecently blogged about her experiences as a librarianship student discussing her course with other students, giving a really interesting perspective. What is a librarian anyway? We have the traditional stereotypes - the middle aged woman wearing a bun with a twin set and glasses on string around her neck. What does she do? Well she's knowledgeable, but she's a bit stuffy and reluctant to share information - you have to ask very nicely and you have to be very quiet when in her presence. I'll admit that I held this perception of a librarian until I graduated from my undergraduate degree in 2005 and starting trying to find out about librarianship (this fact is ever present in my mind when I talk to people outside the profession).

I read an interesting blog post earlier today from Andy Burkhardt who wrote a guest post for ACRLog titled Don't Make It Easy For Them (read it - it's not too long). It really struck a chord with me - one of the bugbears in my previous job was when colleagues (in my opinion) spoonfed students. I shared the post on Twitter and an interesting discussion began about whether or not we, as librarians, should make it easy for students (I'm referring to students but the same applies to most library user groups). My personal view is reflected in my comment on the blog post (currently in the moderation queue):
I agree with the idea that information literacy sessions can be more rewarding both for the students and the teacher if students are able to discover the tools for themselves, however think some initial guidance is needed (perhaps which databases to use and how to get to them). This method of teaching is also intensive and therefore often needs more than one member of staff to support the session as students explore. It’s certainly my preferred method of teaching though; I found many students learnt more this way. I also agree with your point about the reference desk, I see the role of a librarian as one who can show people how to find the information for themselves, therefore empowering them to do it in future. Having said that, many of the students I encountered on an enquiry desk didn’t want that – they see the librarian as a resource to utilise to get you your research. They pay their fees and expect us to offer a service – doing their research for them. It’s a difficult thing to address. I always took the approach that I would try to show them how to do something, but I had some colleagues who would just do it for them. Some students preferred learning to do it for themselves, others just wanted us to do it for them and found my approach frustrating. I think a balance is needed but it can be difficult to know what is best and I think this probably changes depending on the situation and the persons involved.

[picappgallerysingle id="231085"]I started this blog post in a conference break at the JISC Future of Research conference. I wasn't actually at the conference (it was held in London); I was in my office in Birmingham following along using various event amplification tools. I hadn't come across the term event amplification (i.e. amplifying the event beyond the physical location, for example by using livestreaming or Twitter) until quite recently, through Brian Kelly's blog and a subsequent discussion I had with him. However, I have been involved in event amplification in a number of different ways before. Event amplification (although I didn't term it as that) has been an important consideration of mine both as an attendee, an organiser, and a remote participant.

[picappgallerysingle id="195600"] As some of you may know, escaping the echo chamber has been a concern of librarians for a while now. American library bloggers, and more recently UK library bloggers, share their experiences and discuss innovative ideas for developing their libraries, whether they are public, academic, law, health or special libraries. For approximately four or five years now, I've been reading about all these fantastic developments and joining in conversations with other library and information workers in the profession.There's some great stuff happening and some even greater stuff being developed for the future. And yet, we find ourselves in the unfortunate position whereby libraries are facing closure threats, funding is being cut drastically, and staff are facing redundancy. Obviously, these new stories are due to the economic climate, but why are libraries suffering worse than some other areas? Is it because libraries aren't seen as important as some of the more vital areas of public spending such a healthcare and education? Possibly. Is the problem exacerbated by the lack of communication outside of anyone working in the profession or our regular users? I think so.

Earlier this week, myself and Emma Illingworth (@wigglesweets and half of Librarians on the Loose) presented a joint workshop at CoFHE/UC&R Joint Conference 2010 titled “Your library brand and the student experience”. Although neither of us are directly involved in this sort of work in our institutions, it’s something we’re both passionate about and spend time researching, so we wanted to pull this together and share some of what we’ve learnt with others.

[picappgallerysingle id="7291598"]Last week I attended a really interesting event hosted jointly by University, College and Research Group West Midlands and Career Development Group West Midlands. Librarians as Teachers: the New Professionals? was a very popular event, with delegates travelling from across the country to attend. I was invited to join the panel for a debate at the end of the day, presenting the opinion of a new professional. You can see a programme of the day including presentations and supporting material, and view other blog posts covering the day, or view the archive of tweets, but I wanted to share some of the themes raised during the event which I’ve been contemplating since.