Librarian, Market Thyself

I recently attended several really good presentations on marketing yourself and your library, and it reminded me that with most of us working from home, we’re not necessarily visible to our patrons right now. Has not being in the office or library resulted in a decrease in work? Are we out of sight, out of mind? I think the answer to both of those questions, at least for those in my firm, is no. My research group is busier now than we were a year ago.

Prior to March 2020, we were visible to our patrons because we saw them in the hall, in classrooms and meetings, and even in the library. All that changed when we transitioned to work from home status. No more in-person meetings of any type. But firms transitioned to Zoom (or other online platform) meetings very quickly. Initially, there were practice group meetings every week, and after a few months, I think many of us experienced “Zoom overload”. As working from home became more the norm, the meetings went from weekly gradually down to the pre-COVID normal of monthly (or even less frequently). Everyone became accustomed to reaching out and connecting by phone/email/Zoom.

But how many of us in the library attend practice group meetings, or attorney meetings on a regular basis? If you don’t, I encourage you to start doing so. If you need permission (or a Zoom invitation), reach out to an attorney in the group and ask if you can attend. I regularly attend meetings for several of my practice groups. I don’t always have something to contribute, but seeing my face, or my name, on the screen reminds them that I’m there and available to help. Periodically, I’ll hear that an attorney is working on something, and I can add a comment about a library resource that can help. If not, by now I’m part of the round the table “what are you working on” discussion and I just remind them that our research group is available to help if they need something.

If I have time, I’ll prepare a quick summary of a resource that would be helpful to the group. Sort of an “elevator pitch”. Or, if I’m really prepared, I’ve approached the group leader well in advance and gotten permission to have a vendor attend and do a short (15 minute) presentation on a resource previously unknown or underutilized by the group. We’ve done a few of these, and they’ve gone over well. It’s a chance for the attorneys to see what we have available. And that’s my goal. It may not be something that many of them will use, but they have a better idea of what information they can request.

This last really holds true for business development. We have a marketing department person attending just about every practice group meeting. As a result of some of the short presentations, we’ve set up sessions just for the Marketing group. They won’t use the products, at least not enough to justify getting a seat/license, but they learn more about our resources and what they can (and can’t) ask for.

Just because they don’t see you in person, don’t let your patrons forget that you’re there. Find ways to market yourself and your library. Whether it’s attending meetings, sending out reminders for training and CLE presentations, or setting up and presenting training sessions. Do some creative “marketing” and make yourself visible.

About czluckie

Research Attorney at Jackson Walker LLP
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