Library Marketing and Communications Conference

Posted on January 01, 2018

I was fortunate to attend the 3rd Library Marketing and Communications Conference which was hosted in Dallas Texas on 16 and 17 November 2017. This conference is designed for library employees of any level who are involved in marketing, communications, public relations, social media and outreach in academic, public and special libraries. 356 library marketers attended this conference - mostly from the United States and I was one of three international guests.

If you perhaps wonder how library marketers would go about organizing a conference, here are some of the fun and unusual activities that I found refreshingly different:

  • Attendees were invited to join Dine-Arounds the first two evenings with the purpose to network and have fun. The organizing team put together lists of local restaurants ready and waiting for groups of 10 attendees in order to meet and eat with fellow attendees. Bookings were made via the SignUp Genius online app.
  • Networking lunches featured popular table topics on day 1 and Geographical regions on day 2 which made it easy to connect and chat with colleagues. During lunch you simply had to find a table with a hot topic, but there were also tables marked “I don’t feel like talking” for those who just needed a quiet break. Topics for discussion included Facebook, Social media analytics, Infographics, Fighting for funding, Branding, Marketing fails, How to say no to marketing requests, Marketing plans, YouTube/video creation, Hiring students for marketing, Library signage, Controversial library displays, etc
  • On the last day at the informal Swag Swap attendees could share their own promotional or marketing materials. This was a wonderful opportunity to take home as many marketing samples possible for some inspiration and ideas. This included newsletters, calendars, bookmarks, flyers, buttons, branded gifts etc.
  • Attendees were encouraged to evaluate each session they attended immediately afterwards. The evaluation link was displayed on all the screens immediately after the session and attendees were reminded to give their feedback while the session was still fresh in their memories.

The tracks at the conference covered the following topics and it was extremely difficult deciding which one to attend!:

  • Marketing cycle,
  • Engaging your audience
  • All things media
  • Strategic partnerships
  • PR campaigns
  • User-centered design
  • Data driven decision making

The two keynote presenters were Shel Holtz , a popular speaker form the International Association of Business Communicators and Gina Millsap, CEO of the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library in Kansas. Shel addressed the very relevant topic of crisis communication in the age of social media with his presentation titled “Libraries, crises and social media” and Gina covered ways to convince library staff members that marketing is valuable and part of everyone’s job with her presentation titled “Building buy-in for marketing at your library”.

With so many attendees attending the conference it was an excellent opportunity to network and share stories with others. I am appreciative of the fact that I learned from and connected with other library marketers at this conference! 

- Author Elsabé Olivier

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