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Brian Mathews , 31 states that "the library experience is a sequence of interactions set across a series of semesters Example : Incoming freshmen have different needs than other academic library users. They want to do well in their first semester. Most of them are taking the same core courses and therefore have tests around the same time. The library can help alleviate their anxiety by offering coordinated study sessions and bringing together teaching assistants, tutors, and education courses.

These informal sessions both target specific academic needs and serve as a social component for peer mentoring. This type of encounter plants the idea that the library is more than just a computer lab or a place for books; it is directly linked to classroom success. They were probably already going to study anyway, but in this manner the library becomes integrated into their lifestyle.

This is empathic thinking; instead of just trying to imagine ways to get more students to use the library, we flip the question around and ask, what do students need this week and how might the library help provide it? It's easy to get entrenched with the services you currently provide. Seek out new ideas by following professional magazines and blogs. Go to Weblogs for a long list of library blogs to explore. Librarian involvement in the Morning Report meeting was used as a way to improve the level of evidence-based information exchanged by residents.

Igor Ansoff developed a matrix focusing on present and potential services and markets. He stressed four different growth strategies. Market Penetration. Growth can be achieved by convincing current users to make more use of existing services. This is the easiest approach because these clients are already library users. Example : Parents who bring their children to the "wild kids, wild animals" events, might be convinced to attend other library events.

The photo shows an event at the San Mateo Public Library. Market Development. Growth may be possible by matching existing services with new market segments. Example : Some people who have purchased e-book readers may not be regular library users. However they may be convinced to use the library website to check out e-books. This new group of people will be difficult to target, but it will bring in new users to the library. Service Development. New services can be developed and targeted to existing market segments.

Key Questions

Market research can be used to determine what services will benefit a particular market segment. Example : A community college library might expand its services to the local community in the form of non-credit seminars. New services can be developed for new markets. This can expand the reach of the library to new groups as well as add innovative services. Example : A hospital library may currently focus predominately on doctor and patient needs.

Applying for a Library Job - Don't Do This!

However, it might expand its services to include special programs for secretarial staff. The problem is familiar. Everyone wants to check out the bestsellers the day they arrive.


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A year later, you're stuck with multiple copies of books that everyone's read or are no longer hot. How do you meet high demands, but also deal with excess capacity? Try advertising the books that are no longer hot. Focus on the best of the decade in each content area. Pair older books with new books.

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Most of all, get to know the life cycle of various library products. If you've been involved with libraries for long, you've see resources and services come and go. Remember Betamax tapes and Videodisc cartridges?

Each service as a life cycle that should be considered when selecting services to market. Adapt this worksheet for your marketing plan. Example : Steampunk is currently a hot genre and in the growth stage. This is the perfect time to recruit new readers to this interesting fiction genre. According to de Saez , the "product lifecycle theory maintains that all products or services are best fitted to particular stages in the development of service activities". These stages include:. The time periods within the stages differ depending on the situation, but the order is the same. Example : When handheld GPS devices were introduced in the late s, they gradually gained the interest of hobbyists.

Many libraries introduced the devices and made a couple available for check out at the library. As websites like Geocaching. Many libraries increased the number of GPS devices available for checkout and some school libraries checked out class sets. By the late s, use of the devices peaked. Some groups continued to check out the devices and new users continue to emerge. However, with the introduction of GPS apps on many smartphones, interest in the stand-alone devices began to decline.

According to Lynn Shostack , a service encounter is a period of time during which customers interact directly with a service. While traditionally these encounters are face-to-face, increasingly patrons are interacting with resources online. High-contact services are those that involve face-to-face contact.

Patrons are actively involved asking questions, working with a librarian on a project, or attending an event. When a high level of participation is needed, the customer must co-create the service. In other words, they are an active partner in the service experience.

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The service can't take place without the customer's active participation and involvement in decision-making. Medium-contact services involve less involvement with service providers. A patron may browse books with little assistance from a staff member. Low-contact services may involve little or not physical contact with the library such using an online service. Example : Many states no longer provide free tax forms to libraries. However, these forms are available online. Many library websites like the Urbandale Public Library contain tax information and links to forms as a service.

Use of this service involves low-contact. The service encounter can be thought of as a drama where library personnel and patrons take on roles and follow a standard script. Scripts are sequences of behavior that both staff members and customers are expected to follow. The more experience patrons have with the library, the more familiar the script becomes.


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Regular library patrons become comfortable with these standard procedures and may become frustrated with disruptions and changes. Some scripts such as checkout procedures are highly routinized.

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While others such as storytelling hours may very each week. Defining scripts using a flowcharting approach is an effective way to examine and analyze the procedure looking for ways to ensure a positive experience. Example : Check out a fun flowcharts of navigating NPR's top science fiction and fantasy books.

You could create a similar chart showing the process of Reader's Advisory. When a users comes to your website, what do they do? How do they act? What do they focus on and what do they ignore? Every aspect of the service encounter must be analyzed. When dealing with online encounters, usability studies can be conducted to see how people interact with the website.

Example : Dowd, Evangeliste, and Silberman provide examples of connecting users with electronic resources.