232014Sep

A Hidden Gem

My staff was recently involved in interviewing candidates for a position working in our library system. One of the people they interviewed referred to the library as a “hidden gem”, even though that person was a native of Alamance County. That led me to wonder how anyone in our community could be unaware of Alamance County Public Libraries and the many wonderful services we offer the community.

I have always been a strong believer in libraries, both as a patron when I was a young child and a teenager, and then as a librarian when I got older. It was amazing for me to find out there are people out there who do not know that we exist. One thing librarians are not taught in graduate school is marketing — how to sell our services. We often find ourselves preaching to the choir, advertising our services to those that already come to the library and use them. How do we get the word out to those that don’t come to the library?

This summer we tried several new ways to get the library out in the community. We teamed up with the Central Wrestling Federation in Gibsonville and had a reading rumble (it still hurts to sit down!). WPCM has graciously started airing public service announcements everyday telling its listeners what is going on at each of the branches. (They air in the 10:00 a.m. hour and the 5:00 p.m. hour.)  Local papers such as The Burlington Times News, the Mebane Enterprise and the Alamance News feature our programs in their publications as well.

We are using social media to spread the word about our libraries. ACPL is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Follow us online and encourage your friends to do the same. You can also sign up to receive our weekly email newsletter, which features library events and news. Go to www.alamancelibraries.org or text “ACLIBRARIES” to 22828 to join our mailing list.

We will continue to find ways to get the word out to all those folks that are not aware of us and the many things we do. Ultimately, though, word of mouth is the best marketing tool around. I hope that you will help us spread the word about your libraries. Invite someone you know that does not use the library to come in and give us a try!

M.J. Wilkerson
Library Director
September 23, 2014