THE PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAM (OR LACK THEREOF) OF A SOLO LIBRARIAN
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 canít get it done quickly, it wonít 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 donít 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