THE PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAM (OR LACK THEREOF) OF A SOLO
One of the most important concepts behind a successful public relations
program is to make it consistent, positive and in the background. Good public
relations keep your current customers informed and promote the skills and
successes of your library staff. I will be the first to admit that, although I
have read many articles on public relations and gone to many educational
seminars covering it, I do not have a formal public relations program in my
library. Like many of you I have a small staff (just me) and more than enough to
do on any given day. If I can barely find time to process invoices, how am I
going to find time for a public relations program?
As I thought about it, it occurred to me that I do have a public relations
program. Although I have never written it down, I do have a plan and I take
specific actions to demonstrate my contributions to the firm. My public
relations efforts are not formal and they occur irregularly but I believe that
each event helps clarify my role as a law librarian within our firm.
Most of my public relations work is done "on the fly." If I can�t
get it done quickly, it won�t get done at all. As I classify new purchases, I
note down the title and call number in a draft e-mail. At the end of the month I
send out the e-mail to all personnel. This quickie project disseminates relevant
information, identifies areas of the practice we are expanding and gives the
attorneys a chance to let me know what titles need to be routed to them.
A library newsletter is often touted as the perfect way to inform your
patrons of library news and features. I don�t have time for a newsletter but I
do write a regular column in the firm newsletter. I use this opportunity to
review web pages, cover developments in the legal publishing industry, announce
changes in our online service providers and other newsworthy items. Once our law
firm intranet is up and running I will be able to provide links to my columns
from the library home page.
During National Library Week, I always run a quiz that illustrates the
variety of work I do. The multiple choice questions cover the amount of mail
received in the library, the variety of titles routed, sample reference
questions, and online service usage statistics. The attorneys are invariably
impressed with the wide range of services I provide.
These P.R. quickies may not change the world but they do help the library to
be seen as a vital part of the firm. If you have P.R. quickies you would like to
share, I would love to hear about them. The Public Relations Committee is always
looking for good ideas to share with the PLL membership.
Chair, PLL Public Relations Committee