Digital Libraries Network is for health librarians and trainers in the UK, interested in promotion and training.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003


Delegates at the London DLnet masterclasses were asked to share their marketing and training tips. Here they are...

Marketing tips
  • Tell them you can help with CHI reports and help them meet their targets
  • Use email to cascade messages - use NHS mail directory to find people
  • Use notice boards and event stands
  • Use the intranet to disseminate messages
  • Place flyers at conspicuous points
  • Keep promotion simple - not listing all services
  • Work with library champions and make sure they have the information they need
  • Use postcards (internal and external)
  • Use a service evaluation survey as a platform for promoting services and resources
  • Use or develop your own bulletin/newsletter
  • Purchase pens to give away in libraries, showing local library contact details
  • Keep re-inforcing the message
  • Maintain contact with users - email, intranet links, phone, physical presence
  • Keep promotion relevant to people
  • Have chocolates/sweets on your stand
  • Exploit word of mouth - break through to a group of professionals who will then pass information to colleagues
  • Put up posters
  • Set up local email discussion lists
  • Change home pages of PCs to NeLH
  • Use the NeLH toolbar on intranet and internet sites
  • Promotional materials need to look professionally produced
  • Catch them young i.e. students, new professionals
  • Use local inductions - campaign for a regular library slot
  • Don't assume everyone knows you're there and what you can do
  • Have a library stand at key events
  • Run a week of special events with activities, inviting senior managers
  • Blanket leafleting
  • Develop a coherent style so that library materials are recognisable and consistent
  • Every time a book is issued, give away a bookmark inside it
  • Use colour in promotional materials where possible
  • Use regional/national initiatives to grab attention e.g. NeLH Awareness Week
  • Attend meetings so messages are cascaded through organisation
  • Use current awareness to promote value of library
  • Run competitions with nice prizes e.g. champagne
  • Change screensavers in your organisation to display library messages
  • Walk around the organisation to meet new people, especially in clinical environments
  • Don't be afraid to try to be funny - often, humour helps where there are problems
  • Plug into existing events e.g. open days, conferences, training, meetings where you have a captive audience
  • Be visible - get out of the library from time to time
  • Always be helpful when you are approached
  • Take any opportunity to give your 10 second/3 minute pitch

Training tips
  • Bite your lip - give people a chance to find their own way round and get their brain going
  • Ask your audience what they want to get out of the session
  • Strongly encourage people to 'play' with a system to consolidate their skills
  • When preparing materials, think from the users' point of view and avoid jargon like the plague - even words like 'reserves', 'indexes', 'citations' are not necessarily obvious in their meaning to non-librarians
  • If time is short, introduce 1 resource that doesn't need a password which has an easy to remember website
  • Go to them - don't expect them to come to you
  • Find out their mouse and keyboard skills in advance
  • Understand the training environment and users needs e.g. not everyone has good IT links
  • Customise to level, time, place, individual, group
  • Piggy back on other events
  • Plan for all eventualities
  • Make sure people know what learning objectives are before coming on course
  • Use different methodologies - demos, hands on, handouts, presentations....
  • Start with an icebreaker
  • Know your audience
  • Sometimes you get a better response from single discipline groups than multidisciplinary groups
  • Have examples ready but ask for suggestions to keep their interest
  • Ask for specialist interests in advance so you can plan the session
  • Offer follow ups - 1 to 1 or specific support
  • Take the NeLH tour
  • If you can spare the staff, work with 2 trainers - to vary the voice and ways of explaining
  • Offer tips for how to answer pre-set questions
  • Demonstrate full text access to electronic journals
  • Give people an exercise - not a subject of their choice so they focus on the process rather than the results
  • Avoid jargon, be clear
  • Include humour!
  • Include simple key messages
  • Give your audience realistic expectations
  • Find the right balance in terms of time and don't over-run
  • Try an informal quiz at the end
  • Keep groups small and offer 1 to 1 training if possible
  • Keep the general atmosphere informal
  • Get participants to introduce themselves
  • Be frivolous to some extent, to wake people up, helps them to pay attention
  • Avoid overloading people with too much information
  • Keep sessions short and simple
  • Offer to provide training wherever, whenever and however required
  • Explain that quick and dirty searching is perfectly acceptable but this is all it is - introduce generic principles of good searching
  • Choose training examples that are directly relevant to an information need that has recently cropped up
  • Workbooks allow your audience to work at their own pace
  • Allow for plenty of hands-on if possible and lots of interaction
  • Have Powerpoint slides uploaded to internet so that users can click on the links to find resources
  • When demonstrating a search technique, e.g. boolean, tell people they can use it in other systems and interfaces too, though perhaps in a different way
  • Demonstrate a range of resources, not just the 'usual'
  • Work in time for consolidation at the end of the session to make sure they've learned
  • Ensure training room is set up as you want it before people arrive
  • Encourage users to adjust searches for different databases
  • Use handouts for reference and follow up contact details for support
  • Have a CD-ROM back up of your presentation


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