Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Student workers as library ambassadors

My sincere thanks to Lynn Baird of the University of Idaho Library for sharing with me a great article she wrote entitled, Students as Storytellers: Advocacy from the Ranks (PDF). Lynn asserts that with proper training, student workers can be powerful Word-of-Mouth agents among fellow students. These ambassadors can help their peers overcome anxiety and feel more comfortable using the library as well as communicate the value of the library's services.

This idea is very worthwhile because everyone in an organization is a de facto ambassador, so it's important to give people the tools and training to be effective in that role. I believe I mentioned before that our undergraduate advisory committee began spreading the word about the library on their own initiative. They handed out event flyers to their friends and wanted to be included in events such as our library tours. As a result of their interest, service is now a requirement of committee members. Lynn's article reminds me that I need to incorporate training for these students so they are well-equipped to talk about the library with their peers and others in the campus community.

Though not directly related to word-of-mouth but relevant to this topic, I came across this helpful toolkit from ACRL called The Power of Personal Persuasion. I quickly discovered that librarianship involves a great deal of personal sales, and, if you're like me, this isn't a skill that comes naturally. This toolkit is intended to help front-line librarians advance the library's mission, and contains examples of persuasive arguments.

Categories: must_reads | promising_promotions | tips_to_try

1 comment:

Nicole McGee said...

This is so true... in fact, Virginia Tech and Miami University (Ohio) did an ACRL poster session back in 2003 (?) on this very topic.

There are also some publications based on VT's LOEX 2002 presentation on peer advisors.

To my knowledge, MU (and many others) still has their Ambassadors program, while VT's university grant-funding source was a casualty of budget cuts.