This school year, I have made a dedicated point to spend more time marketing the library. I have been very focused on doing whatever it takes to increase student library usage. I have spent a lot of time checking out things other people do, talking to other media specialists, googling ideas, attending webinars, twitter chats and conferences; whatever it takes. I am finding that my efforts are not only fun, but starting to pay off.
It started when a colleague sent a message on the Indiana Librarians listserv asking for ways schools were promoting the state award books. I had been doing a few things in the library and getting them interested, but her challenge drove me to find some other outlets. I decided to start making videos.
I spent a little time walking about the media center looking for pictures of the books, the signage, the prizes (I give away prizes via drawing for voting on the books.) and where to find the materials. I used my trusty Animoto account and voilà, a quick, fun video that identified all of the things we had to offer. I shared it with my YouTube account and emailed it to all of the students. They saw what I had to offer and what we were doing for the students who participated.
When the second nine weeks started, I posted a new video, featuring the winners from round one, the prizes we had and how they could win. I posted the video on YouTube and sent it to the kids. I am seeing a lot of positive changes in circulation. Last year only 8 of the state award books were checked out and voted upon. This year, I have already had 30. *I know this sounds like a very low number but in a school of 200, it is a good percentage.
I am not sure how much impact my newly found marketing strategies will work, but I am sure with time, persistence and a little patience, the students in my school will have a part in voting for the Indiana nominated books.