saw a little cartoon that really scared me. It was in a business magazine
called Fast Company, which, according to its Web site (http://www.fastcompany.com),
is all about how the global revolution changes business, new business practices,
reinventing things, etc. In its June 2001 print issue, I happened to flip
open to page 66 and stared in horror at the little color cartoon ("Funny
Business," by Charles Barsotti). It simply showed one suited businessman
saying to a colleague, "Wilson, what exactly is a 'knowledge worker,' and
do we have any on staff?"
the fact that the info industry does not market enough!
Now, I'm not
sure just who would think this cartoon is funny. Businessmen shouldn't
think so, because if they know that little about knowledge management these
days, their companies are in trouble. And information professionals sure
shouldn't be laughing, because if businessmen are that uneducated, then
libraries of all sorts are in real trouble.
All of this
brings me to this month's theme, Using Technology to Promote Your Library.
Are you doing it? I'm betting that your answer is, "Some, but not enough."
Library marketing and promotion are topics that are on my mind year-round,
since I also edit the newsletter Marketing Library Services (MLS).
From all the indications I see, there are a number of libraries doing really
sensational promo projects, and there are plenty that just aren't trying
hard enough. (Hang on a minute while I push my little step stool over to
my soapbox.) Everyone should be marketing! Don't have enough time? Find
it! Short on money? I don't care! There are plenty of free or low-cost
things that you can do—that you need to do—to make people
aware of your services and expertise.
If you think
I'm overblowing the urgency, or that marketing is just for publiclibraries,
consider this: Information industry research and advisory firm Outsell
released a Super I-AIM study this past spring. According to a blurb in
the May 11 issue of its weekly newsletter, "e-briefs," Outsell questioned
more than 6,300 corporate knowledge workers and discovered disturbing news.
When asked "How do you prefer to get the information you need to do your
job?" they answered thus: Seek it out myself: 68%; Regularly scheduled
updates: 16%; Ask somebody on my staff: 9%; Have an outside firm do the
research: 4%; Call the corporate library: 3%. Gulp.
With that said,
I will shamelessly point you to the MLS newsletter so you
can get new marketing ideas (http://www.infotoday.com/mls).
This issue of CIL, by definition, focuses on larger technological
promotional projects, while MLS often outlines those that
aren't specifically technical. So no matter what the situation or budget
is at your own info center, you can get promotional ideas from one of these
publications. But don't delay. Because if your manager doesn't know about
and respect your services, that's not funny.
Kathy Dempsey, Editor