Thanks to everyone who turned out for the chat last Tuesday. I thought there was some good discussion and some promising ideas came out of the talk. However, I do understand that the chat room format can get a little unwieldy, and we lost a person or two I really wanted to follow-up with ("Kate:" If you're out there, feel free to get in touch with me to follow-up on the question you had!). I want to summarize what we talked about and point out the major issues we identified when marketing to internal staff.
A major point of discussion was the observation that many staff are reluctant to try new technologies because doing so is seen as waste of time, a source of stress, and a distraction from serving patrons. Participants offered up a number of ideas to get staff into a "play" mode where they can experiment and make some discoveries that may ultimately help patrons. Some of the librarians in the chat room mentioned that they have no funds to pay for incentives, so our ideas focused on other means of motivation. Here are some of the highlights:
- Have a bragging wall
- Sponsor competitions with other libraries
- Get people together to talk about what they learn
- Put people in teams
- Let managers and staff know what the ROI is (Return On Investment) for their time (it's not a waste of time to try new things!)
- Partner with patrons who are familiar with social technologies so that they can teach staff (someone suggested that this could count as volunteer hours)
- Have an "open mic night" where patrons can share their tech knowledge with staff
- Integrate "play" into daily routines
Finally, our conversation didn't stop at tech talk. Some participants talked about branding projects their libraries are working on. The general consensus was that it's important to involve staff during the planning process, and that it could be more difficult to rally staff support when they are simply offered a finished logo they had no say in. One person mentioned that in a former position, the library redesigned its Web page, involving staff in the prototype stages. To top it off, staff were given nifty t-shirts with the Web address, which they donned enthusiastically. I know that having too many cooks in the kitchen has the potential to stall projects, but involvement could be structured so that it's productive. Today, I was just thinking that even something as simple as letting staff vote on one of a few prototype logo designs could give them an investment in the project that would pay off during implementation.
Feel free to read the full transcript of the talk and contact me with questions or other ideas. Also, I'm going to contact my internal marketing guru, Sybil, to get her take on our exchange.
Thanks again for showing up! I'll post a new chat time and topic soon.