We were fortunate enough to receive a Professional Development Award from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine MidContinental Region to attend the Library Marketing and Communication Conference in St. Louis, Missouri November 11th through 12th.
This conference is unique as it’s the only conference specific to marketing and communications for libraries. It was a good mix of beginners to professionals including librarians and marketers. This award also gave us an opportunity to be a part of a cohort.
Taira Meadowcroft: I’d been eyeing this conference for some time and was excited to get the opportunity to attend. Throughout the conference I made many connections with others in my field and learned that we are all dealing with the same issues in some way. Telling our library story is difficult, but I learned ways to make it easier. The session Making the Message Accessible: Basic Website, Social Media, and Print Tips to Ensure your Message is Accessible to the Visually Impaired Community was the most impactful to me. As a person who does our social media and designs some print material, I didn’t often step back and ask “how accessible is this information?” I learned what social media platforms allow for alternative text and what colors/fonts are best to use. These are small changes, but even a small change makes a difference. I also highly enjoyed the mentorship part of this award. I didn’t have a lot of marketing and communications connections outside my library. I appreciated getting to know these individuals and learning about their wins and struggles with communications. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without the support of MCR.
Sara Motsinger: This conference has been on my radar since its first year, and I was exceptionally excited to have the opportunity to attend. This award made it possible for me to engage with library marketing professionals as well as those of us thrust into a marketing role within our small libraries. Spending time with the other awardees was as much a learning opportunity as spending time in the conference, as I was able to learn tips and tricks from my fellow awardees and strategically attend conference sessions in order to share my notes and impressions with the other MCR awardees. I was delighted by the wide range of topics presented and was able to attend such diverse offerings as “First Impressions Matter: How to Win Friends in Admissions and Influence Prospective Students,” learn how to “Effectively Create and Market Your Library with Videos,” and learn more about how to effectively use memes in ”A New Memes of Engagement.” Returning to my library, I have been able to implement many of the strategies and tips to my monthly marketing efforts and feel more creative in my endeavors due to the influx of ideas and inspiration provided by this excellent conference.
Natalie Newville: This award was an amazing opportunity to connect with other professionals in our field. I appreciated the cohorts willingness to share ideas and resources with each other. Each member of the cohort came from such diverse backgrounds and job duties that it was very helpful to discuss our challenges and successes at our own libraries. I came away with new ways to handle things which may come up, and new strategies to reach our intended audiences when marketing MRRL. The time that Jim spent mentoring the group was invaluable. He has a great deal of marketing experience, and he does a great job of sharing that experience with the cohort. Additionally, he is a great listener and helps the cohort come to their own conclusions, which I appreciate.
Kristin White: The Library Marketing and Communications Conference has by far been one of the best professional development opportunities offered to me during my time as a librarian. I learned so much in the short two days that we attended! I feel very fortunate to have had a mentor like Jim as well. He helped me determine next steps for my team going forward to implement a style guide in our library as well as a good direction with our social media efforts.
My favorite experiences during the conference include: meeting and getting to know my cohorts, librarians are awesome! All of the amazing keynote and conference sessions (my favorite was “Why is This So Hard? The Top 20 Things You Need to Know to Make Social Media Work for Your Library!”.)! And, exploring the St. Louis Arch with new found friends and colleagues!
I would, and have, recommend librarians and library staff attend this conference if marketing and communications is part of their position. Thank you for the opportunity.
Rachelle Brandel: Attending the conference gave me a sounding board to voice my concerns and ideas with like minded library professionals from a wide array of backgrounds. I acquired new ideas, validated considered possibilities, and cemented prior knowledge through seminars, conversations, and review. This conference made me excited about marketing and passionate to share what I’d learned with my coworkers. The ability to speak with leaders in marketing software, voice my concerns, and discuss solutions made my library’s situation feel seen. This conference gave me a network of library and marketing professionals and I have recommended it to almost every librarian I’ve met and will continue to do so.