April 3, 2021
7:31 pm

Lessons Learned Thanks to the NNLM MCR Professional Development Award

Heather Steel
Children’s Mercy Hospital
Kansas City, Missouri

One year ago, I joined the Children’s Mercy Library Services team. During the interview process it was mentioned several times how the team has plans to make big changes to their existing digital library space. I was (and still am) excited about the potential of this undertaking. A few months after I started my manager shared with me information about the Library Marketing Professional Development (LMPD) Award, funded by the Network for the National Library of Medicine, MidContinental Region (NNLM MCR) and the opportunity to attend the Library Marketing Conference. We were working on our plans to overhaul our digital space, but we weren’t as sure about how to promote and advertise these upgrades.

I applied for the LMPD in September 2020 and included our plans to renew our outreach across the hospital as we launched a new library website. We needed guidance on how to actively promote ourselves and our initiatives. In October I was grateful to find out I was approved for the grant and would be able to attend the Library Marketing Conference. The wonderful conference was not only informative but also provided an opportunity to interact with librarians from various locations in a time when networking opportunities are limited. I enjoyed not only the sessions, but also the conversations taking place in the chat.

There were several moments throughout the conference that stuck with me. The presentation by Tamara King was a major one. Not only is the work she is doing in her library inspiring, but her messages about how to plan and market new products helped me while we transitioned to our new website. I have a highlighted section in my notes when she said, “Don’t Waffle!”. This sounds like a simple concept on the surface, but in the moment it is anything but simple. As we were on the precipice of making the official switch to our new site our team had some slight hesitation. I advocated for pulling the band aid off and moving forward. There will always be issues that come up, but we can’t face them until we jump. Our new website has been a great success even with the few hiccups along the way.

I also greatly enjoyed the mentorship with Jim Staley. Our conversations were incredibly helpful as a bouncing off point for promotion ideas. Switching to a new library platform is a huge change and we wanted to ensure we were presenting information how our users needed. When our team was deliberating how to create and share new library tutorials, Jim and I discussed making information available when and how users need it. His examples from his library were helpful as we considered ours.

My conversations with Jim also included discussions around the Mid-Continent Public Library System, which I happen to be a patron of. From his presentation during the conference and our chats I loved the inside look of how my local library system was not only handling their pandemic response, but also their plan to move forward.

Overall, the conference and mentorship have been very rewarding. I would highly recommend anyone starting to explore marking in libraries to explore the LMPD as a starting point.

The post Lessons Learned Thanks to the NNLM MCR Professional Development Award first appeared on MidContinental Region News.


This article originally appeared here: https://news.nnlm.gov/mcr/lessons-learned-thanks-to-the-nnlm-mcr-professional-development-award/. The source website for this article is NATIONAL NETWORK OF LIBRARIES OF MEDICINE (NNLM).
The original publication date for this article is April 4, 2021 12:31 am

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