Reenergize your marketing strategy in three simple steps

Mary Lou Carolan

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Having worked in public libraries of all sizes for the past 15 years, I’ve found there’s one common thread. Actually, there are many, but one really critical thing stands out. We don’t toot our own horn nearly enough, yet marketing always seems like an easy target to kick off our overflowing to-do list. And while we’re generally great planners, when it comes to marketing, we’re not always the best implementers. This is why I wasn’t surprised that 40 percent of public libraries have a communications strategy, but only 17 percent keep it current.

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Four surprising findings from community-centric space transformations

Betha Gutsche

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There is always something creative and educational waiting for us at the library.

That’s what one library user and parent said about the Ronan District Library in Ronan, Montana, after the library participated in the Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces project, led by OCLC’s WebJunction program with funding from an IMLS National Leadership Grant. The Ronan library, along with 14 other small and rural libraries in the US, transformed library spaces into places for social, active learning.

Thanks to the original program’s success and supplemental funding from IMLS, the WebJunction team is bringing this opportunity to 15 more public libraries in 2019. We often say libraries are the heart of a community, but one key to successful transformations involves placing communities at the heart of the library. The libraries each led a community discovery process, which helps them see their library through the eyes of community members. This opened a path to rediscovering the unique personality of the library and the ways people interact with it.

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Why the future of your library depends on others’ knowledge

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Like most libraries, my library in Madrid is facing new and challenging resource constraints, user requirements, and technology demands. Some areas are called on to do more work with fewer staff and lower funding. And all are dealing with user expectations based on global commercial powerhouse brands like Google, Apple, and Amazon.

What we have found at Complutense University is that the key to meeting major local challenges is to recast them as shared global opportunities.

Who do we share them with? All other libraries, worldwide.

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What is the top novel of all time?

Skip Prichard

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What is the top novel of all time? War and Peace? Moby Dick? Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? Dream of the Red Chamber?

The answer is, of course, “it depends.” It depends on your definitions and measures. Sales? Number of copies published?

One way of measuring is to look at library collections. Libraries reflect popular interest. However, they also reflect scholarly and cultural interest over time. Libraries are where the world’s literature is stewarded and defined.

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RDM: A challenge too big to tackle alone

Brian Lavoie

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The scholarly record continues to evolve, gathering a wider array of research outputs—including research data sets. In response, universities and other institutions have started to acquire capacity to support data management needs on campus. While services and infrastructure are coalescing around emerging data management practices, guidelines, and mandates, many questions remain about the future of the research data management (RDM) service space, and the university’s role in acquiring and managing RDM capacity in support of their researchers.

How do we approach problems like these that are clearly too big for any one institution to solve? One piece of the solution is to scale learning.

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Mind the gap: Bridging the divide between discovery and delivery

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I wrote in OCLC Next last year about “container collapse” and how many people are having a hard time evaluating the value of online research results. Students think that being able to identify high-quality materials is important. They also believe they are good at it—though our findings suggest they actually aren’t.

Some more recent research, though, indicates that librarians can make a difference. Somewhere between discovery and delivery, there is a gap that needs to be filled. As librarians, we can provide the training and assistance necessary to connect people to high-quality information.

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Are you managing the emotional side of change?

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When you’re leading any kind of change, maneuvering to get an ideal outcome can be tricky. I’m often asked by leaders in the throes of change management efforts, “What’s the one thing that can’t be missed?” The one element that could deter all the work to build awareness, acceptance, and action. My response is pretty much always the same: Never underestimate the emotional side of change.

Did I just get all warm and fuzzy on you? Yes, I did. And it’s important, especially because this aspect of change is often overlooked. The reality is that all change begins and ends with human beings—and humans are driven by emotions.

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Continuing the legacy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries program

Sharon Streams

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By Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President, Membership and Research, Chief Strategist, OCLC; and,
Sharon Streams, Director, WebJunction

The first initiative launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries program was one to improve computer technology and internet connectivity in US public libraries. And it was a total game changer for thousands of small, rural communities across the United States.

That initiative then spurred the idea for an “online portal” that would connect isolated library staff to ongoing support and resources. From there, a 2002 foundation grant to OCLC led to the launch of WebJunction on May 12, 2003, at a celebration at the Library of Congress.

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Too much metadata?

Stephen Hearn

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As a metadata manager, much of my career has been focused on catalog management and authority control. Or, to put it another way, on the connections and commonalities that records share. I’ve observed the slow emergence of standards for describing authority control entities—topics, places, persons, bodies, works, etc.—as entities in their own right, with their own descriptions and their own connections to other entities.

Part of what makes my job interesting—and challenging—is that it’s not something I can do in a vacuum, on my own. Metadata without good standards is almost useless. And standards require cooperation.

That’s what I love about the Metadata Managers Focus Group of OCLC’s Research Library Partnership. I get a chance to meet with others excited by metadata challenges and really dive deep into the issues that are at the forefront of our daily working lives.

For example, while one problem that we often face is a lack of good metadata, sometimes—just like with holiday eggnog or Halloween candy—we can get too much of a good thing. So how much is “too much” when it comes to metadata?

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Discover Seattle during your ALA Midwinter visit

Jennifer Peterson

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In just a couple weeks, thousands of librarians from across the US, Canada, and other locations will descend on Seattle for ALA Midwinter. It’s great to have a chance to meet with OCLC members and hear about what they’re doing within their communities. And doing so on WebJunction’s home turf is particularly exciting.

My colleagues and I want to help make sure that you enjoy your visit to our part of the Pacific Northwest, so we’d like to offer some recommendations for your upcoming visit.

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