Children’s Library in the Forest

Courtesy of Darien Library

We’re celebrating Camp Darien this year. My colleague took this photo of the Children’s Department and it was then sent to me to clean up. After 3.5 hours of scrubbing (while on desk), I then dropped it into a forest background. The forest background took about 30 seconds. At that point, I could have gone on to try to make it merge better or found a better background. My colleagues are happy though, so I’ll let it go. :-)

Publicity Award Winners

My library had the great honor of receiving three awards for our publicity this past year: our website, poster, and thematic (three or more related pieces). I have, pictured here, the items which were done mostly in my hand. Krishna gave generous assistance in the development of the Escape the Laboratory poster.

Escape the Laboratory Poster

Lonely Planet Bookmarks

Lonely Planet Sign

Lonely Planet Digital Sign

Lonely Planet Digital Sign

Lonely Planet Sign

Lonely Planet Shelfmarkers

Genealogy for Kids Program

Today my colleague Krishna and I hosted “Discover Your Family Story” program for children grades 3 to 6.

Participants will begin a family tree, learn how to conduct an oral history interview and learn about library resources that can help you discover your family story.

The materials took me four hours to put together. Do my research, design the program and the craft project (seen above), cut out 12 trunks and leaves and 200 nametags for the trees, and put together the handouts. The most interesting part were people texting their relatives to ask, “What were the names of your grandparents? I only knew them as Pop…”

This Week’s Small Victories

I’ve been rather busy at work to the point where I’ve had to turn people down who bring me last minute project requests. However, I’ve managed to complete these tasks:

* Analyze 3 months of email data on our weekly events email
* Recycled a four year old poster for a last minute request
* Designed the images needed for a double-sided physical giveaway
* Create a new poster for a festival
* Turn around-on-a-dime a new fundraising page
* Came up with a (clever-to-me) hack to make the fundraising page more mobile friendly using a button, anchor links, and white text
* Figured out how to draw a family tree diagram as an actual tree for next week’s genealogy class I’m teaching to children
* Do a complete sign and printed materials photo audit
* Started the professional development resource I’ve been asking Twitter about (the sortable, filterable, and search feature randomly broke, so it’s a WIP)

There’s also been an unusual new patron pattern. Four times in the past week, I’ve helped someone and then they look me in the eye, smile widely and say with more affection than I do for most things, “I love you.” Maybe everyone just needs a little love right now?

Image Finding

Not centered

Today one fundraiser ended so I was free to change out the header images on our website and social media accounts. This turned out be a tough challenge for our website. My general topic was “flowers, spring.” I hunted around my favorite public domain image sites. Over the course of an hour, I checked nine images. The final one made it up though it’s not exactly what I wanted. Conditions for the frontpage image:

* Wide enough
* Not too dark
* No white background (text is white)
* Not too busy
* Image can’t be centered since the search box and text is there
* Bottom right center has to be dark for the text
* If focused on a single object, it can’t be centered

Since I decided to do a last ditch promotion of the Big Library Read, I tried to find a nice pie image. There were some good ones to choose from, but they didn’t fit the conditions above.

Stretching

I visited a library which caters to library professionals. While browsing the stacks for new books, I found my attention caught on more than just titles directly related to my new publicity job. As I pulled volumes down, I noticed something. This book on fundraising? Yeah, I spend a lot of time worrying about that now. This one on strategic plans? I have spreadsheets working towards that goal. How about data analysis and visualization? Yeah, those spreadsheets will hopefully work towards that goal. What are your thoughts on administration and management? See all those emails and concerned with how projects are coming along. I was even tempted by books about building projects.

When my boss approached me about rotating to this new role, he had said something about it giving me room to grow. I admit to not quite believing him. I had been unofficially working in this area since practically the day I was hired. How could creating formal workflows change things? But with his hands-off approach, I’m allowed to roam and find new areas to explore. It’s surprising to see how much further I can see now. The concerns of all departments are even closer to me now. I’m tracking the numbers, reporting them, and looking for ways to extend our reach.

I wasn’t expecting there’d be so much further to travel.

Collapsible FAQ

A little piece of work which I’m fairly happy with is this collapsible FAQ for our new WiFi page. It’s just some Bootstrap.

Closed:

Open:

It took a few variations to figure out the best layout for it. Originally I had screenshots from a Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, and Android phone. Then I downsized and dropped the iPad. It’s listed first here since it’s the most common iOS for our users.

How’s It Going + Bitly Realizations

A small thing came home to roost today: 50% of my job now is emailing people reminders to do stuff. I’m giving myself reminders to email people to send me info for publicity items I’m making or promoting for them. I’m not actually making a lot of things at the moment since I’m busy tracking who owes me what for which program they’re hosting. Or to ensure that everyone feels included in contributing ideas for social media promotional materials. Today is World Poetry Day for instance, so I emailed five people to ask for a favorite poem to share. Then I snipped a stanza for a tweet, grabbed a custom short URL, and posted it to Twitter with a link and hashtag.

Social Media Ads
I’m also trying VERY hard to not obsessively check our Twitter and Facebook ad stats. We’re about to wrap up a several months long publicity run for a fundraiser. Once it’s done, I’ll compile a big report listing all our publicity efforts stats. Then next year I’ll clone the Asana project so we’ll know what items we have to do in the next round.

Note: we’ve been casually buying FB ads for awhile. I’m now obsessively detailing the stats in a new Google spreadsheet.

Bitly
Speaking of custom short URLs, we purchased dar.to to use with our bitly account. I showed key players how to install the Chrome extension and use it to tag their links. We’re using the links in social media, emails, and some linking of items on the website. This turned out to be a bigger dive than I anticipated:

* It doesn’t appear that you can further customize links once you have a custom URL in bitly.
* In order to get bitly links to show up correctly in Google Analytics, I’d need to run the original URL through a special Google tool. Then take that new URL and plug that into bitly. I’m saving this for something special.

We did get our first custom URL to show up in a newspaper printed press release. This is very exciting!

Weekly Stats Emails
I’m also spending a fair chunk of time creating stat emails which I send out:

* Analysis of how the previous Friday’s weekly events email did in terms of opens and clicks.
* Outreach on which events were mentioned in the two local papers and social media highlights.
* On/off again email to my boss on what marketing pieces I created this week and who I held meetings with. I often get too busy to follow up on this one.

Pi Day Blizzard Email

My hobby is making nice throwaway emails like this. The design is a default theme available from MailChimp. I realized later that I should have made the adult programs plural. There was a last minute change and I had to get the email out, so I missed it. There’s a lot going on in the text which I’m not 100% happy with it. Everyone likes clicking on Jen’s recommendation from Hoopla though so that’s a success.

Courtesy of Darien Library