December 2017 Monthly Report

My new boss has asked that I write out a more descriptive version of what I did in the previous month. Aside from all the usual work (social media, digital signs), I had twenty separate projects in progress. What I liked best about this report is that it prompts me to follow up on the items. A few highlights are below.

I strike a pose on a frozen pond. These don’t exist back home!

Museum Passes

We had a 20.4% increase in museum pass reservations in December vs. November. We sent out a special email highlighting museums in December which may have caused that increase.

Increase in Hoopla

In December 2016, we didn’t send out an email highlighting our digital services. So that was my base number. In December 2017, we did. The difference between 2016’s non-campaign to 2017’s campaign: 45% increase in new users and 25.9% increase in borrows.

I then evaluated this to two previous emails and came up with two lessons: have a holiday email focusing on digital items and use “present” or “gift” in the subject line.

Last Email Unsubscribed From

I was curious as to which email list was driving unsubscribes. We switched to MailChimp in December 2013, so I evaluated data from that point to December 2017. It took awhile, but I was able to sort out the emails into different lists. When I asked MC if I could easily sort by the group the email was sent to, this was not an option. So by hand it went!

New Year’s Eve Playlist

I loved the idea of finding a song to dramatically finish the year with. My colleagues kindly supplied me with several songs. The project took longer to put together than I anticipated, but our weekly events email readers + Twitter had a good time with it.

Seasonal Bookmarks

This year, we set aside money to get 30 bookmarks printed and cut by a professional print shop. We’ve split this into three terms throughout the year. The first round was exhausting to push through with an August 1st due-in-house deadline. With the second round, it went more quickly. However, it wasn’t clear if the digital proofs were accurate or not. Thankfully, the printer sent a paper proof which I was able to sign off on last Friday. Today the two boxes arrived. My colleague was wonderfully helpful in helping me sort the bookmarks and then distribute them throughout the building. Today was the day that we wanted the bookmarks to be in-house. Good timing!

Logo for Midterms Event

My very talented colleague approached me about her redesign of our annual midterms programming. Usually, we stay open an extra hour for 3 days (and again for finals). This year, we’re going to have an after hours event on a Sunday. I was so inspired by the title, The Long Night Against Procrastination, that I wanted to make a custom logo.

Courtesy of Darien Library

I looked up Ikea lanterns to find my favorite version. Then I stabbed at Illustrator until I got the shape right. My colleague approved. The original text was just plain text at an angle. It didn’t fit my vision. So I spent about two days working at it to come up with the above design. It’s not perfect — I’m not confident with Illustrator yet — but it’s 85% of the way towards my vision.

Courtesy of Darien Library

I also rather like the email design that goes along with the logo.

Planning Overall Library Program Themes for the Year

One of my jobs as publicity manager is to help departments find opportunities to work together on programs and services. As such, I found out their general program themes for the year. I then grouped these together in our wiki under two organizational schemes: by department and by season.

The information is pretty general so it remains flexible. For instance: Summer Reading Kick-Off: June. It doesn’t list the program theme or the actual start date. I arranged the seasonal information by ABC order. By department, by time.

I then immediately made use of the new resource by linking to it in an email for publicity planning, “Need help thinking ahead as to what we’ll be up to in this time period? View the seasonal program guide.”

Understanding Our Patrons Presentation

For an internal presentation, I developed a slidedeck based on the months of work my colleagues and I did to better understand our patrons. I won’t share the whole slidedeck, but some images are included in this post as illustration.

The first part dealt with departments categorizing their users into groups which share similar characteristics. They answered some questions about what users want, how they connect with us, and how we could do better by them. The second part was for me to crunch some data. The third involved surveying patrons guerilla-style. I’m still working on that last part.

We have some travelers!

Image is from a fascinating site. Click the image to see what I mean.

Do you know about this Google feature?

Four Layouts of Summer Reading

Our library uses the incredible art of Lisa Nowlain for our children’s summer reading program. It made it significantly easier to develop the web pages which support our four programs (pre-readers, kids, teens, and adults). This week I found out that even when we print out the trees at the size of children, they still look fresh.

Courtesy of Darien Library

Landing Page
To start my work, I sketched out a bunch of layouts for the children’s page. The head wasn’t there when I dropped by the Children’s Library, but her staff choose the design. The layout is almost identical to the Darien Olympics theme of last summer. I then selected my favorite for the landing page for all four programs. It took awhile as I had to create a large PSD file and duplicate the trees across it. The original wooden sign has tiny legs. I duplicated and extended them a little to complete my desired look. The buttons below are not what I wanted. However, the little wooden signs which fill up the brochure don’t work for the web. I have no idea why. So I used the plain ol’ generic default Bootstrap button for our website. I could have chosen another color, but the blue was the best default option.

Courtesy of Darien Library

Kids Page
Likewise, on the kids’ page, I cut off the legs on the sign to make it shorter. The PDFs are massive. I tried to squish them, but it became illegible. Maybe the watercolor background contributed to that? The location of the images is a little funny in order to make it usable on mobile. The tall tree and the kids collapsible below the information. Trying to get the blocks all to the same length was frustrating.

Courtesy of Darien Library

Teens
The background image for the teens page is from another artist (I’m unsure if he wants the attention). I struggled mightily with how to handle all the information on the teen page. The photos are all public domain. The struggle on this page are those movie covers. I ended up giving up on this yesterday. There are actually two more movies. The layout is a row with three columns. Each column has a row with three columns. When I blew the code out so I could look for the problem, it didn’t make sense. There should be enough room in it for up to 12 covers. But when I add in the extra ones, the images disappear and the date wraps to the second line. After 90 minutes, I finally gave up on it at the urging of my coworker. I’m displeased with that, but every tactic I tried failed. I don’t want to have rows with five or six images in it because then the covers are too dominating for the page.

Courtesy of Darien Library

Adults
I worked closely with colleague Virginia in developing the Adult Summer Reading page. She rejected my original header image and sent me three new ones to choose from. I selected the beach chairs. The challenge here was to keep her from the burden of creating a booklist for every single item on the Book Bingo Inspiration list. I managed to find some stuff on the website that would work. Then tasked her with developing 5 or 6 new ones just for this purpose. Her funniest chat was “What steampunk novel would you recommend?” for the new genre list.

The Book Readers Festival is another iteration of reusing Lisa’s artwork in new ways. I needed to make a flyer in a hurry so it could be posted around town. I opened up Canva looking for inspiration. I spotted it right away. Then I adjusted it for the design you see. It now exists as that image + flyer + poster which hangs over the front desk.

Marketing
I’m copying the URL of the pages into a Google URL builder, setting up the tags, and then copying that link into Bitly. I look forward to seeing what the numbers look like at the end of August.

Children’s Library in the Forest

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.

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…”