The Steps (or Pathway) to Pride: the ultimate goal of library outreach

December 16, 2010, 12:02 pm

This is another concept from my whiteboard sessions:


When I talk about outreach and marketing and related promotional matters— people often think that I am working just to drive up business… increase volume. That's not always the case… or rather, that's not the sole purpose. Our reference librarians would probably be upset if I brought in 10,000 more questions a year. Our reserves staff probably couldn't handle a doubling of materials from faculty.


My goal is not to just increase usage, but rather, to see it as a step toward a larger purpose. It's not to help patrons become better users of the library. Nor is it to design a satisfying library experience. Ultimately… my goal… right now… is to build pride in the library. Building a brand.

Library Spirit?
It's bowl season and there is all this mounting school pride channeled via football teams (UCF upsets UGA, you read it here first!) — but beyond sports, there is often pride associated with attending at a particular institution. I have been working on transferring this to the library. Even if the average student barely uses the library, I want her to feel proud of the concept of her campus library. I want her to be bombarded formally and informally during her four+ years with library stimuli. Subconsciously I want her memory bank to be filled with positive encounters, stories, and other associations of the library.

This goal really helps to refocus the discussion… it shifts away from instruction being the core undergraduate objective. Striving for pride, granted very abstract, really opens up the palate of possibilities. But this idea forces us to consider the ongoing patron-library relationship, rather than their just their proficiency in navigating the  catalog or finding a suitable scholarly article. In short: instruction is a means to an end; a step along the path.

I translated my whiteboard notes above into something a little more tangible:


This might not follow a purely linear path, but it's intended to start/feed the conversation. This is something that I am 
working on internally to express my goals and strategy for the next few years. I'm putting it out here just to share. As this develops further I'll post more but I'm just trying to download my thoughts before they get wiped away over the holidays. If anyone has a pride-generation plan in place… I've love to read it. 


Note: Thanks everyone for your interest in the pyramid  posts 1 2. It's fun to be conceptual. If writing (and publishing) journal articles didn't take so long I'd develop those ideas more fully, but the point of those posts was for me to communicate with our staff about the direction we need to head or at least to think about heading– I apologize for them not being very refined. I view those as first draft idea-kernels, rather than polished working models.

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