Tag Archives: marketing

QRs and collection marketing…. retail style

Recently, while researching QR technology, I came across a piece that discussed its use in retail.  The author used the video below that shows how a South Korean retail store, Tesco, have adapted their services in order to reach their goal of increasing their market share without having to increase the number of stores. They created “virtual” stores in subway stations, and other high traffic areas and provided QR under the picture and price of each item.  People waiting for subway are looking on the pictures and can add items to their shopping carts by scanning QR codes with their smart phones, and then the items purchased are delivered to their homes.  Here is the video:

Now, think about the QRs and their potential for marketing library collections …..   I can see libraries creating “virtual” displays where a graphic presentation of a book is accompanied with a QR code that can provide detailed and precise  book information.   People could view such thematic displays of books and snap a picture of the QR code with their iphones.  Public libraries could even create “virtual” branches on subway platforms, bus stops, etc. where people could browse the collections while waiting for a train or bus and having them delivered either to their ebook reader or home.

The link between QRs and libraries is obvious.  The basic principle behind this technology is the same as behind library barcodes.  Think about the checkout computer at the library. It scans a barcode and the item scanned is added to a list. The command – namely, “add this item to the list is built into the design of the barcode and is decoded by the library system. Similarly, QR codes can be scanned with a device which will then carry out the action built into the code.   What’s left is for the library to do is to create a system where these codes can be decoded and the library action carried on (i.e. send this book on hold).

I work at a library where we provide InfoExpress service for our faculty.  The way it works is that the faculty members  e-mail the library staff responsible for this service the title, the author and publication details of the resource they need, and the library staff retrieve or sometimes obtain the materials from other locations and deliver them to the profs.  This is a very popular service.  Imagine it paired with QRs… Imagine always getting the correct citation, imagine how easy it would be for the faculty to order these books without having to type the bibliographic information….  Then imagine promoting the collections using QR coding, imagine that all the incoming new books could be “displayed” this way in high traffic areas while the physical copies would circulate…., or imagine creating thematic book displays in the faculty hallways and classrooms….  Imagine embedding the library in a very real way into every research or project by creating “virtual” thematic displays equipped with codes….  Imagine….


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Filed under Future, Leadership, technology

Virtual Tour of Bora Laskin Law Library on Youtube

The layout of the library I work at is quite confusing for people who use it for the first time and, as such, perhaps it discourages them from coming back again.

With the help of part-time library assistants,  I created a virtual library tour to address the problem.  I hope we may play in on the plasma screen in the library close to the main entrance. This would alleviate some of the problems that first time library users encounter trying to  locate a book by call number in the evenings or the weekends when the one staff member who is working at that time cannot leave the circulation desk to assist these users.

I am still working on it, but here is the first draft posted on youtube as it is:

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Filed under Libraries, media

Marketing the riches … proudly

Librarians and marketers have not been traditionally good bedfellows.  In the library world marketing is viewed as at best flamboyant add-on and not core to the real and important work of information management; at its worse it is associated with the tricks of a salesman selling to people things that they do not need.  Academic librarians especially do not have a good record of marketing their services.  This stems from the traditional view that in the academia libraries have captive audiences: “the students need to use the library to get their degree, right?” Wrong.   Now it is much easier to get that degree than it was when many of were students and the information, admittedly sometimes of dubious quality, is nevertheless available everywhere.

I strongly believe in the urgent need to market library collections and services within the parent organizations, including academic institutions. I believe that this is necessary in the digital world in order to ensure the survival and growth of the libraries and information services. It should be coming from a strong conviction that libraries exist to enhance the communities they serve, adding value to the lives of the people and organizations who are their users. Librarians need to realize that marketing has to do with informing and helping, rather than selling.  The difference between marketing and selling is more than semantic. Selling focuses on the needs of the seller, marketing on the needs of the buyer, customer, library user.  Much needs to be done in the academic library sector to embrace these ideas.

I recently became  involved accidentally in marketing our library resources  by creating these simple pamphlets: Find Yourself at the Library  Quick Guide to Print Collections Electronic Resources Intro in response to the need for information about the services we offer repeatedly expressed by our library patrons at the library main service desk. These pamphlets originated as lists of services our library offers that I prepared for our newly-hired part-time library assistants to help them learn quickly about our library resources.  But as I was putting these lists together, I realized how much our library actually has to offer.  I was discovering things that I didn’t know we had and services I didn’t know my colleagues were providing.  I was very proud of our library and I was proudly informing our patrons about how they can enrich themselves with these resources.  I was not selling – I was providing information.

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Filed under Leadership, Libraries