Ramblings from the Representative-at-Large

Submitted by Patty Lunsford, Representative-at-Large, Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health, Lafayette, Crawfordsville, and Rensselaer, Indiana

“The State Liaisons Committee shall serve as a conduit for communication between the chapter and state health sciences library associations, local library groups and library science educational programs. It shall serve as a mechanism for chapter officers and committees to distribute information and receive feedback at the state and local level.”

Marketing- Outreach-Ministry-Ambience: What shades are your libraries?

 If you are asked –or rather WHEN you are asked –to describe your libraries, or their ministry—(which is the operative term in our Franciscan hospitals here in Indiana)—ideally in a paragraph or less, as is sometimes the requirement—how would you respond? What would you write? How would you place a career of impressions, ideas, aspirations, and actual observations into one paragraph?

The four terms above are not a formula or a mantra, or even an established model. However, they are vivid entries which come to mind when we contemplate, or even plan, the direction of our libraries—either in the way we wish to steer them, or what our administrators and library patrons anticipate, or even expect, of us.

While each term is defined within established parameters and practices, the interpretation and planning of each entity is as varied as the folks, or we, who ponder and plan.  And while we are inclined, and even urged, to “dream big,” we are undoubtedly also warned to “keep it simple and budget wisely.

Many of us may equate “marketing” with advertising and promoting our libraries, services, and resources to our constituents or patrons—and most of us are already so overscheduled and buried in tasks and projects that we wonder why we would even need to market our services—how would we reliably and safely accommodate even more patrons, more tasks, deadlines, and expectations? And “real” marketing is expensive and time-consuming; and most of us do not have enough staff, budget, or time to launch such a plan.

However, if we ponder the next three terms: outreach, ministry, and ambience, we may be effectively marketing our libraries and services without the cost, staff, plans, and time commitments which may be required for formal marketing. We are simply doing our work—helping, guiding, teaching, welcoming, encouraging folks to learn and become lifelong learners.

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