Category: Public Librarians Symposium

162 - Advertising The Library (ATL): Increasing Awareness and Usage of the Library Space and Resources through a Focused Marketing Effort

Tuesday, May 22
2:00 PM – 2:55 PM

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this library marketing effort was to increase the visibility and awareness of the Library, and to increase usage of the library space and resources by staff, patients, and family members.
METHODS: Several methods were used to increase patient/family member awareness of the library space and resources. The librarian worked with the medical media service to create a trifold brochure for distribution in patient waiting areas. Collaboration with Public Affairs occurred for regular social media posts about the library. In addition, health topic handouts were made available in several hospital areas, and included basic library information.
To increase staff awareness, a consistent and repeating section was added to the weekly facility newsletter. Each announcement has the same header and “look,” and features a different library resource. Newsletter articles for the library are included twice monthly. Outreach to service chiefs, resident coordinators, and other management to offer short presentations at staff meetings or other gatherings, is an ongoing effort.
RESULTS: Baseline data were collected for a three-month period beginning August 1st, 2017. Data included number of visitors to the physical library space, circulation statistics, number of staff Athens accounts, and number of sessions on one library-purchased resource (BrowZine). The same statistics were gathered for the three-month period running November 2017 - January 2018.
The total number of visitors to the library increased from 952 in August-October, to 1201 in November-January, an increase of 26%. Circulation showed a slight decrease, from 137 total items circulated August - October to 126 items circulated November - January. Staff Athens accounts increased 13%, from 321 to 363. Finally, the number of total sessions accessing electronic journal content via BrowZine increased 91% from 308 in August-October to 590 in November-January.
CONCLUSION: Marketing efforts are having the desired effect, resulting in increased usage of library resources and increased visits to the library space. However, work is still needed to reach additional patients and family members. Marketing efforts need to be sustainable and ongoing. Marketing efforts will continue, with the intention of assuring that patients, family members, and staff think of the Medical Library when considering their information needs.

Sola Whitehead

Medical Librarian
VA Portland Health Care System
Portland, Oregon

Sola Whitehead, MLIS, is the Medical Librarian at the VA Portland Health Care System in Portland, OR. In her former life, Sola was an IRB analyst and human subjects protections policy writer for 16 years in the Research Administration Office at the VA hospital in Portland. After receiving her MLIS from the University of Washington, she moved down three floors to take the position of VA Medical Librarian. Since 2014, she and a library technician have focused on providing as many library services as possible, from literature searches and PubMed searching classes for staff, to offering internet access and a thorough patient health book collection for patients and family members. Sola’s goal is to make the library indispensable to the patients and staff at her facility. In her “free” time, Sola knits, noodles around on the ukulele, and is a parent to 11 year old twin boys.