Tag Archives | Pop Goes the Library

Pop Culture Programming Year Round

At least half of Pop Goes the Library: Using Pop Culture to Connect With Your Whole Community is related to programming: Chapters 7 and 8, “Programming that Pops” and “Pop Programming Year-Round: Pop Goes the Year.” This emphasis on programming reflects two of our own biases: first, our backgrounds in public libraries, which involved a lot of programming; and second, a belief that the library is the center of the community, and being a part of the community means active involvement, which means programming.

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Don’t Be Afraid to Explore New Technology

Let’s be honest: it’s kind of amazing to think Pop Goes the Library: Using Pop Culture to Connect with Your Whole Community was published in 2008. 2008! And now it’s 2013.

While we were writing the book, we were very aware that one of the risks of writing about pop culture is pop culture, itself. It’s always changing! That’s one reason that we didn’t concentrate much on then-current pop culture, keeping our focus on how libraries can use pop culture in all sorts of ways, from collection building to marketing to outreach to programming.

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Marketing in Libraries: Yes, It’s Up to You!

When you hear the word “marketing” do you throw up your hands and walk away, because marketing is for advertising companies and not for librarians? I beg to differ!

What is marketing? To sum up: “Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers” (Wikipedia). Every portrayal in popular culture markets our profession, not always to the betterment of it. Every interaction you have with a patron markets our profession. Every time you fundraise, ask for a budget increase, plan a program, post to your library’s Facebook page–you are absolutely, positively engaging in marketing.

One of the most powerful ways we can change the way we are perceived – in popular culture and in real life – is to market ourselves and our skill sets better. But how? There’s a number of ways, but they boil down to: Toot your own horn! Be sure to advertise what you did, how you did it, who you benefited and how. Get program news out everywhere you possibly can. Outline in your fundraising flyer how many books/computers/databases last year’s fundraising efforts provided. Punch up your online presence!

Need some help? Check out these resources:

▪ The Accidental Library Marketer, by Kathy Dempsey and her overall web site Libraries Are Essential. Kathy has put together a thorough reference site for marketing in libraries.
Pop Goes the Library, by Sophie Brookover and Elizabeth Burns. A great book that outlines ways to corral pop culture references into your programming opportunities.
Marketing Library Services, a newsletter specifically to address marketing issues in libraries, including what worked and what didn’t.
popculture-l, the ACRL Popular Culture in Libraries discussion group, “devoted to the general discussion of popular culture materials and all types of libraries.”  It’s open to librarians everywhere, and is a great way to find out what other folks have done, or are considering.

There’s absolutely no reason not to use pop culture references in your own marketing efforts. You can make a connection to a large percentage of the population with a Hollywood reference, and once that connection is made, your value communications will go even better. Give it a try!

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