In the spring and summer of 2009, the State Library staff is pursuing the first Administrative Training Package, which blends ELMeR workshops, Wimba presentations, participant projects and a special website on WebJunction Kansas. The theme for this first package is Collection Marketing and Merchandising and it has been very successful.
On Thursday, May 7, and again on Friday, May 8, Michele Leininger presented a video training workshop on “Connecting Communities and Collections” to a total of five ELMeR network locations across the state. Michele had worked with the topic with many Iowa libraries while she was with the State Library of Iowa and then got an added dimension of field experience when she became the Information Experience Director at the Pierce County Library in Tacoma.
Michele’s natural friendliness, broad background and wealth of experience made for an enjoyable workshop, very interactive in spite of the distributed environment. The workshop participants discussed community analysis, patterns of library use, the marketing of collections, including many of the concepts presented in the Long Tail philosophy, weeding, Readers Advisory and many ideas from the newer field of collection merchandising.
Michele emphasized that librarians need to talk with library users in the library and in social networking environments. At the same time, they need to make library users as independent as possible. The goal is to help library users who are approaching the library in a wide variety of ways and with many different needs.
The first of two Wimba presentations was held on the morning of May 27. In “Why do we Dewey? Redesigning for the Customer Centered Experience,” Thad Hartman and Renee Patzer of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library discussed the benefits of collection neighborhoods, collection bookbags, collection stickers, special displays and the thoughtful reorganization of Dewey within a collection. They were candid about the staff time involved, but documented the increased circulation and customer satisfaction that have resulted from these fresh approaches. Their PowerPoint is available on the Marketing and Merchandising page of the Continuing Education tab on WebJunction Kansas.
The second Wimba presentation will also be exciting. Leah Krotz, director of the Belleville Public Library, will present on “Dazzling Displays and Rave Reviews,” which should be fun and also a rich source of project ideas. That Wimba presentation will be on June 24 at 2:00 p.m.
The Wimba presentations are open to everyone, as are the resources that will be posted on the Marketing and Merchandising web page on the Continuing Education tab of WebJunction Kansas throughout the summer. We are looking forward to seeing the marketing and merchandising projects that will be tried in Kansas libraries.