In August, we announced the winners of this year’s Digital Library Champions contest. Each winner has agreed to share their success story through a series of Librarian’s Share blog posts. This week, we feature the winner of the “Online” category, Jackson County Library Services (member of the Oregon Digital Library Consortium):
For some time, the Patron Technical Support staff at Jackson County Library Services has been focusing on video as a means to educate and inform our patrons. We use printed handouts for how-to functions, and flyers as advertisements for our Digital Download workshops, but we receive many more comments concerning the help and information videos posted on our JCLS Need2Know You Tube channel and advertising from our digital displays. When it was announced that OverDrive-sponsored websites would be redesigned, we decided this was the perfect opportunity to utilize this medium to both advertise and create excitement for the change.
We began by deciding on the direction the video would take and chose to go more in the “infotainment” direction than just providing a straight rundown of facts, figuring that more people would watch something that was fun and (slightly) hip with key information included, instead of possibly being bored by and not absorbing an information-only approach. The silent-film to modern-era theme was created by our videographer to highlight the updates that were going to take place and generate excitement, since people can be very resistant to change and especially so when that change involves a technology that they have become comfortable with. The statistics we collected and the general reaction of our local Library2Go (our OverDrive site) patrons suggest that we were correct.
The video went live on February 28, posted on our www.jcls.org home page and You Tube channel, as well as promoted on our Facebook and Twitter pages, and received almost 400 views in the first week. (Click here to watch the video on YouTube!) Checkouts from our virtual branch increased by almost 800 in March, increased again slightly in April, and have more or less maintained that level since that time. We had very little negative reaction to the changeover, with many people seeking further help but with an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the redesign.
Based on this success, we have continued to create promotional and informational videos, which have had a positive effect on various aspects of library service, from the benefits of traveling with eBooks as opposed to print, to librarians actually having a sense of humor (who knew?), to how the library benefits the community. For us, it has been a marketing tool that is extremely effective in that it only requires an initial outlay of funding for equipment and software, which is not prohibitively expensive, plus the time involved in learning its use. In many cases, the end result can reach far more people than would otherwise be the case. With the ever-increasing number of mobile devices across all age groups, we can reach out and inform the entire community we serve.
Eric Molinsky handles Patron Technical Support at Jackson County Library Services, member of the Oregon Digital Library Consortium and winner of the Online category in this year’s Digital Library Champions contest.