Saturday, 16 June 2012

CLIC Marketing event

CLIC (Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation) held a free training event for staff on the 29th May at the University of Glamorgan's ATRiuM building. This was my first event as a member of the Staff Development Group, and I had the added responsibility of looking after the @CLICLibraries Twitter account during the event and tweeting using the #clicmarketing hashtag.

We had three presentations, but kept to a very loose timetable. Previous CLIC training sessions tried to pack a lot in to the half-day, but this one had a much more relaxed feel to it and I think most people preferred that format.

The first presentation was from Alice Percival and Helen Staffer 'Marketing Champions' at Cardiff University, who are responsible for;
  • co-ordination of library marketing projects
  • sharing of good practice and ideas
  • providing advice & guidance
  • liaising with the communications team & communication working group
  • managing the marketing fund

Alice and Helen described some of the recent marketing activities they had been involved in, such as the Love your Libraries Day. Aspects included sticking up Post-it notes, offering sweets to patrons and running competitions.
@ButeLibrary ran a Twitter draw, students retweeted a message and names are drawn randomly from a hat. Prizes were mugs with a picture of Bute Library on them.

Photo courtesy of @ButeLibrary
The Love your Libraries Day generated so much positive feedback that it was a real morale booster for staff, and they found that they didn't lose their professionalism by engaging in 'fun' activities.

They explained that students using the different libraries (Cardiff University has 14 of them) often behave in different ways, so they try to combine central themes with the freedom to tailor events to individual sites, rather than a 'one size fits all' approach.

Alice and Helen rounded off their presentation by pointing out how valuable the marketing strategies were as 'ensuring wide knowledge of their services is a crucial precursor to measuring impact'.

The second presentation was from Nicola Richards at Cardiff Central Public Library who shared a (very impressive) list of marketing events they hold, including;
  • Student Fashion shows
  • Psychic nights
  • Speed dating
  • Laughing matters - empowers young people, builds skills
  • Vibe - market to ethnic communities
  • Poetry & pints
Nicola then addressed the question 'How do they do it (on no money at all)!
A lot of their events are made possible through working with partners. They are always upfront with their partners that although there is no funding available, they can offer;
  • promotion of their business
  • to raise their profile in the community
  • access to potential customers
Working with outside partners can also help to alleviate the workload, and in some cases they may take on the bulk of the organisational work. Members of the marketing team tend to fit it in around their regular work, so having that kind of help can be vital to the success of an event.

They also rely heavily on electronic promotion, not just their websiteblog, Facebook and Twitter accounts, but also listings on 'What's on' websites and places like Gumtree.

'The best marketing tool we have are our staff'
Information packs are provided for all staff so that they are all fully briefed on what's happening and can pass that information on to the public. Although many of the events tend to happen at the Central site the branch libraries can also get involved by promoting the events, organising book displays that tie-in etc.

The final presentation was from Jane Purdie about the resources available to us on the site. Even though I had heard of the site before, I had no idea there was so much on there.

Library staff in Wales can log into the toolkit section of the site which includes;
  • Reports - such as the Library Innovation Project of 2006/07 that looked at applying retail techniques in libraries
  • Details of winning entries for the Marketing Innovations Awards which can be used as inspiration
  • Presentations that can be used in training sessions
  • Photo bank - over 500 photos cleared for consent for library promotional activities until 2016
  • Story bank - testimonials from library users that can be used in promotional material
  • Advertising templates in a range of formats (poster, banner, leaflet) for lots of different events, all free to download
It was a really impressive list!

The day finished with a tour of the ATRiuM library, famous for its very long loans desk! Presentations from the day can be seen on the CLIC website here.


  1. Great post: Sounds like you all had an interesting and useful time. I particularly like the idea of

  2. Thanks for having the time for this review! Detailed, simple and very useful.