Library Marketing & New Professionals

On Tuesday eveing I attended my first SLA event; Library Marketing & New Professionals, with speakers Ned Potter and Bethan Ruddock. It event was hosted by SLA Europe, and was also my first time in Leeds!

Ned Potter: 6 things you, yes YOU, can do to market your service

The slides from Ned’s presentation can be found here. I don’t want to just reproduce the presentation as notes, so I’ll just mention a few things that stood out to me.

  • We are all marketers. But what can we do as new professionals? In terms of face-to-face and online interaction, it’s important to give a positive impression and good service. Word of mouth is very powerful!
  • New perspectives. Senior people will LIKE it if you come to them with ideas!
  • Social media is a huge way for new professionals to get involved, as we can bring expertise. But you need to consider what social media does for the institution which isn’t happening now. How can you help solve an existing problem?
  • 1-in-4 rule: With Twitter, for example, of four tweets only one should be about your organisation. The others should be retweets, @replies, or just tweeting something your audience might find interesting. Which leads on to…
  • The ‘at a party example’: If you were at a party, you wouldn’t stand in the corner, making announcements. The same goes for social media; you need to interact with your audience.
  • Benefits, not features. Focus on what the library can do for your audience. A course titled Advanced Search would be better marketed as ‘Getting the most out of Google’, for example.

Bethan Ruddock: Marketing yourself

Bethan’s website for the LIS New Professionals Toolkit can be found here. Instead of presentation slides, coloured cards were distributed around the room, with various terms on them. We waved them in the air, and Bethan spoke a little about each one.

The cards were divided into three criteria; Motivation, Medium, and Message. Again, I’ll just pick out a few things that I found particularly interesting or useful.

  • Be authentic: Your message has to engage people, it has to get across different media and audiences. It has to be who you are. Otherwise, you’ll get caught out eventually!
  • At work: This is the best place to market yourself. The best way to advocate for yourself is to do your job well.
  • Flows from your activities: It’s much easier to share ideas and projects when it’s something you know about and are enthusiastic about.
  • Success criteria: Make goals for yourself; ‘I want X number of views for this blog post’, for example. Then celebrate meeting these goals!
  • Marketing yourself is not something to be scared of! It should be part of what you do, not something extra. Once you start thinking of opportunities to build a profile and project yourself a certain way, you’ll start seeing them.

Once the presentations were finished, COMPETITIVE UNSEEN-SLIDES BATTLE-SUMMARISING took place. Two brave souls, Katie and Laura, volunteered to live out my worst nightmare; giving a summary of the two presentations with slides they had never seen before. They both did fantastically! Well done!

I really enjoyed this event, and it’s always nice to meet people from Twitter in real life! I’m looking forward to my next SLA event, the Summer Social, in a fortnight’s time, and then it’s onto the SLA Annual Conference in Chicago!


  1. Your note about that more senior people welcome new professionals’ viewpoints was also a point made in the SLA session I went to on Thinking Strategically. They specifically mentioned talking to recent graduates to get their viewpoint on your services and see what could be wrong/right. New professionals are not pre-disposed to one way of thinking.

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