Content & Communications Officer Karen Pepin joined SLIC in August 2016. In this week's blog she talks about connecting in a modern world and how important digital communication can be for libraries, learning centres and information hubs.
These days communication is big news. We live in an age where we can choose multiple ways to connect at any time of day or night. Whether it’s through WhatsApp or Twitter, Slack or traditional email it feels like there’s a communication medium out there to suit everyone’s taste.
And yet, sometimes it feels like it’s even harder to connect. So much choice, time constraints and modern life can all add up – ironically making communication more elusive. Which is why it’s so important not to forget communication is a two-way thing and that listening is key when it comes to getting your message across.
Since joining SLIC in August last year I’ve concentrated on just that - listening to our members and putting together a communications plan which encourages discussion. One of the main outcomes of this is our new website which was launched in April 2017.
The SLIC website is still full of information on funding, advice & guidance, SLIC projects and research & skills, but we’ve edited, updated and restructured to improve user experience. We’ve also introduced entirely new sections such as information on the SLIC Board and the blog section you’re currently reading! It’s all part of a larger communications plan to ensure we’re in tune with our members and the library and information community as a whole.
Over the last few months we’ve also expanded the ways in which we’re communicating. Everyone has their favourite way to share news and start conversions so to make sure we’re connecting with members, partners and stakeholders you’ll now find SLIC on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.
In January we started a special social media campaign called #PhotoFriday which aims to highlight our member libraries and all they offer. Every Friday we post pictures of a specific library or information service, giving details of their wide-ranging services and upcoming events. We try to include a staff selfie too – acknowledging all the hard work frontline staff put in every day. So far the campaign has proved to be very popular and, in some cases, encouraged our members to think about how they communicate with their own library members.
There’s a lot to be gained by taking a look at how and where you communicate and evaluating if there’s room for improvement. Many libraries, learning centres and information hubs are great at organising events and special activities but struggle to let people know about them. It’s here that the web and social media can really come into their own – helping you to spread the word and discover new communities keen to hear about what you offer.
Through initiative’s like SLIC’s Digital Champions, many public libraries are now discovering not only the advantages of digital technology within libraries, but digital communication. In today’s world it’s important to reach out and connect with different audiences, letting them know you’re here and have lots to offer. Libraries have always been at the centre of communities – there’s no reason why they can’t lie at the heart of online communication too.