MOn May 19-20, 2016, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s Marketing & Communications Department convened a group of peer libraries’ Marketing & Communications professionals for a two-day conference at the Main Library in Charlotte. The goal was to learn and share best practices in library marketing and communications, as well as some of the issues facing libraries and communicators today.
As the director of the department, hosting my first event of this kind, I was both excited and nervous. I had an inkling that there was a demand for this kind of gathering, but it was our first time trying it. Fortunately, I can now look back at a great event that brought a lot of value to the participants and to me.
Around 40 professionals from libraries around the country attended – including those in Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia and right here in North Carolina. The group discussed customer engagement and email marketing, social media, branding, telling stories of impact and much more.
But more important than the topics was the synergy created by the group. The lively discussion prompted more than one participant to hastily jot down an idea to take back and try at their library. The sharing of strategies brought new ideas and innovations to the surface. Conversations during breaks turned into bigger discussion as the event went on.
Library marketing and communications professionals don’t have many opportunities to gather, so opportunities to share and compare notes are rare and very valuable. One of my observations about the group was how customer-focused we all are. People in this line of work care about library customers, and really want to improve lives by increasing library usage. How we do that may vary from library to library, but the centrality of the customer is universal.
I am grateful to my team for pulling off this event, grateful to all the people who took time from their schedules to travel here, and grateful to Orange Boy, Inc. for sponsoring it. There was a lot of interest in doing another one next year, so stay tuned!