Off the Shelf and Out of the Library

Marshall Shore gave a free webinar for Infopeople back on February 16, Off The Shelf: Looking Beyond Libraries for Innovation and Inspiration, and I finally got a chance to view it.  The premise was that there’s plenty of free training available outside of the library world, and we should take advantage of it. 

Nonlibrary training provides a very different perspective and can give you some great ideas and pointers like;

-letting patrons customize your web page will make it more relevant to them

-a Nielsen study found teens aren’t the biggest users of social media (so how should you reach them?)

-customize your patron surveys to get a better response rate (and get out of the library to survey non users)

-consider digital signage as it’s so much more flexible

-the more you use Pandora (free internet radio etc.) the better it gets since as you accept or reject its suggestions, it starts to understand your preferences (just what our Recommendations pages should do)

Better Together helps improve your social capital, engage  and build your community, and maximize your connections (great for increasing your advocacy skills and ensuring your library’s offerings are valued by the community)

-Ted (the “ideas worth spreading” site) has Tedx to help your town design and host its own TED style events

And often, libraries are mentioned in these trainings.  Advertising Age did a study concluding that Starbucks is the “third place” and that libraries really missed an opportunity there.  They also provide a marketing centric view to the world – e.g. the Haitian earthquake made them realize that people want to be able to donate via Twitter.  (This reminded me that I’m always asked at the grocery checkout if I want to give to some worthy cause.  Why not use this tactic at library self check stations?  When you put in your credit card to pay your fines, the first question could be “Would you like to donate money to the library foundation?”  – I’d love to hear from anyone out there who is doing this or considering it.  Is it generating any donations?  What are the benefits and drawbacks?)

So consider expanding your training marketplace and tell me, what are some of your favorite nonlibrary training sources?

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