4 ways to keep promoting your digital library during the COVID-19 pandemic
By: Annie Suhy, Outreach Specialist
If there was a word to describe 2020, pivot would be high on the list. We’ve all become experts at pivoting from the year’s best-laid plans. From how we work to how our children learn to how we interact with each other, nearly all aspects of life have undergone some changes.
Libraries are no different. But despite the new challenges, librarians have continued to pivot and deliver creative solutions. For your patrons who may be unaware of how to access your digital collection or just need a reminder that it’s available, we compiled some easy ways to get the word out, even though they may not have been in your original plan.
1. Hand out a reminder
Whether patrons are picking up their reserved titles through your drive-up window or venturing inside to browse, place a bookmark inside borrowed materials along with the due date slip. Patrons will be happy to have a nice placeholder (bonus: they won’t be tempted to bend those corners!) and it will serve as a reminder that digital titles are available, even if they’re not always able to make it in to the library.
Even kids can get in on the action. Let parents know that there are picture books, beginning readers, and read-alongs galore available in your digital collection, and most are available instantly to borrow with no holds—thank goodness, because we know waiting isn’t a toddler’s strong suit!
Taking a targeted approach to your marketing efforts is always the most effective. Learn more about reaching and engaging with different targeted audiences like kids and parents in this on-demand webinar.
2. Make your ebooks visible
Although you likely have reduced traffic inside your library these days, you can still make the presence of your digital collection known.
The business card has long been a popular promotional piece. Fitting easily inside a wallet or pocket, it’s the perfect to-go reminder to download the app. Paired with a business card holder, and you’ve got yourself a handy portable sign that is perfect for library shelves.
3. Cut through the clutter
Space is a premium inside the library when there are, of course, mountains of books to fit inside! Not to mention computers, chairs, children’s areas… you get the idea. West Plains Public Library (MO) solved for this by using window clings on their doors and windows to advertise their digital collection. According to West Plains Public Library Technical Services Coordinator Marietta Caldwell, “We have been answering a lot of questions about Libby and OverDrive lately as there are still some people who aren’t comfortable physically coming into the library with the pandemic going on.”
The window signs helped to inform users without taking up too much space. A QR code leaves users with a quick path to download Libby, without having to touch a thing. She continues, “The window clings on the outside doors to the library can catch the attention of anyone standing outside the building. We are trying to cut down on large posted signs as they don’t get noticed if you have too many things posted.” Great idea, Marietta!
4. Add an outside element
On the other hand, a large sign outside your library could be the attention-grabber you need while patrons wait for their items in the drive-up line. Although meant for mostly indoor use (beware on windy days!), this 6 ft. tall banner worked for Kamiah Community Library (ID).
Washington Anytime Library (WA) thought outside the box as well and created an 8 ft printed banner that was hung on the fence outside of the library to encourage patrons to check out their ebooks.
Contact us if you’d like to have these or other marketing materials shipped to your library, or if you’d rather DIY, you can print many of these items yourself by downloading from the Resource Center.