Welcome to the first blog post in our new public libraries series on promoting your e-resources

With all the changes to library services and ever more branch closures, ensuring library members know about a library’s online resources and e-book collections is more important than ever.

But how do you do this on a limited budget and with limited resources?

As library members, and with a marketing and communication remit of our own, here are just a few ideas that may help…

Email…

All businesses and service providers these days keep in touch by email. They collect email addresses when you shop with them or visit their websites so they can let you know about new products and make sure you remember them.

So, if you don’t do this already, start asking for email addresses on registration forms (not forgetting to ask for permission to use it to keep in touch). For all existing members, ask for their email address when they next visit the library.

As you start to build your database, begin emailing your members with information about your e-resources.

Below are some guidelines (that we try to follow too) to keep your emails short, focussed and engaging:

  • Discuss only one or two resources per email.
  • Keep language friendly and casual – imagine you’re having a conversation with a member in the library and write your email in the same tone.
  • If appropriate refer to your members as ‘you’.
  • Vary the length of your sentences – a short sentence can work well as a punchline after a longer sentence.
  • Unless you are writing to under 12s use exclamation marks very infrequently as they can give readers a sense of false enthusiasm.
  • To help with clarity use subheadings to split up your emails.
  • Include hyperlinks at the end of your emails to your resource webpages so members can find out more information.
  • Email aesthetics are important – use relevant images if possible.

eNews…

A regular electronic newsletter is also a great way to keep your members involved in the life of your library. It can be used to promote all areas of your service as well as updates about your e-resources.

Instead of just mentioning individual e-resources, can you share a good news story about how a member has really benefitted from one of them? For instance:

If you subscribe to a family history resource such as Findmypast, feature one of your regular family history researchers who’s had great success and enjoyment from growing their family tree.

Or, a member who finds your e-newspapers a great way of keeping in touch with news back home wherever that may be in the world. Many newspaper collections such as Gale InfoTrac include world-wide and local news.

Personal stories are always popular so how about a ‘Meet your librarian’ feature which you could deliver as a short interview and perhaps include a photograph of your librarian.

Has your library worked out an effective way to promote its e-resources? Got any good tips to share? Please do let us know so we can help other libraries successfully promote their resources!

Keep an eye out for the next instalment of public libraries, promoting your e-resources series.