Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Persuasion of Library Patrons

I like listening to Terry O'Reilly's radio show on CBC ( called "The Age of Persuasion" ( But the latest I heard (not on the radio but rather from a blog for CBC podcasts - was called "The Sport of Persuasion" ( and was about the connection between sports and advertising. Now, I'm not a huge sports fan but I am a little OCD so, since this was next on my rather hastily compiled list of things "2" listen to (, I had no choice but to give it a go. Also, as a librarian and productivity-fanatic, I always try to pull something useful related to librarianship out of whatever I'm experiencing.

Try this on for size: Since we librarians want patrons to act a little more like us, in that we'd like people to give a little more thought to how authoritative their sources are, to read more or at least learn more, and to plan their searching a little more, particularly in the realm of academia (read university students and professors), there are a couple things that this podcast indirectly suggests we could do.
  1. Just like sports stars are popular at least in part because of the amazing things they do, we librarians need to showcase some of the "amazing" things that we can do. Patrons are often surprised and thankful for some of the things that we can and will do but this information does not get out enough. We need to brag and communicate such bragging. lol
  2. People tend to act like the people they admire. Also people admire the people they act like. This may be used in the library by us emulating the people that our patrons admire. Academic librarians can and should act more like faculty in some important ways. (This also seems like a supporting reason for faculty status.)
  3. And just like advertisers attach celebrity sport stars to their product to add instant attraction, the library should select and connect ourselves with a "celebrity" of sorts, again, perhaps a popular prof for us university libraries.
I don't know if these would work or not. But they seem promising to me. What do you think? We don't want to embarrass ourselves. lol

(Of course can you even comment about the effectiveness of a marketing effort on yourself? We all think advertising doesn't work on us, and we are all wrong...)

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