Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Article Note: On library promotion and buttons

Citation for the article:

Luedke, Jill E. and Sarah K. Laleman Ward. "It All Started With a Button. . ." Urban Library Journal 15.1 (2008): 67-77.

Read online. Journal is open access. Link to journal main page here.

I continue reading items on outreach for academic libraries. This short article has some good ideas for promoting library services. I particularly liked the idea of using small one-inch buttons as promotional tools. The size seems a bit more practical than the larger size ones we can make here. We do have a button maker, which was barely used until I arrived. It makes the two-inch or so larger ones, which are nice, but the size is a bit on the big size. I wonder if the smaller size, and the way that the authors integrate the buttons to instructional materials as well as outreach could be something that might work here. I am always looking for a new marketing and outreach idea. One challenge we would face would be the finding of materials. The authors work for an art library, so they can likely draw from a broad range of visual materials, something we are lacking here. But having said that, I think the button card idea is quite feasible for us. The article does provide some illustrations so readers can get an idea how the concept works.

The article also features a reminder for outreach librarians to reach out to campus organizations and orientation activities. This is something we do here where we set up a table for events like Patriot Preview Day. However, I don't think I am quite ready for the black "librarian" tee shirt idea they suggest. Here they usually prefer a more professional look (I would wear the tee; I just don't think the powers that be would go for it), but they did give me a couple of embroidered polo shirts for the library I can wear for events.

There are a couple other ideas I liked in the article as well such as the library "facebook" display. I can always use another display theme, and this could be something we could do at the beginning of a semester when new students are arriving.

Overall, a short article worth a look; it is a good example of a "how-to" article.


Sarah said...

Thanks for the comments on our article! To let you know, we made an effort to incorporate multidisciplinary content in the button-making (sounds funny, right?) but we were trying to promote all three libraries on campus. We found that charts and graphs, diagrams, musical notation, and simple words made interesting buttons as well. And it was a fun challenge to think outside art resources.

Jill Luedke said...

Thanks for discussing our article. As for content for buttons, don't underestimate the possibilities other subjects may offer. Consider graphics, graphs, equations, maps and charts. They can also be colorful and interesting. You could also take photos of your library, campus or city and make buttons from color prints. As for the "librarian t-shirt", I think you underestimate its classiness. I've worn mine to librarian conferences before. Dress it up with a sport jacket and dress pants (skirt for the ladies). We made our shirts online through, but other online DIY stores like cafepress are good too. All offer a variety of shirt styles. Or you could just make one for personal use. You'd still be promoting our profession. OR, you could use that big button maker your library already owns and make "librarian" buttons.

Lindsay from Spreadshirt said...

Thanks for using Spreadshirt to make your t-shirts! I love the idea of librarian t-shirts. Have you thought about setting up a shop to tell more library gear? I think tote bags would be pretty popular too.