August 27, 2013

Suggestions and Outcomes of PR Writing Assessment

I'm delighted to share student suggestions and outcomes from Dr. Lois Boynton's PR Writing class.

The suggestions include (but are not limited to):
  • Asking professors to give students extra credit if they talk to me as they are working on their assignment. I've mentioned this to two folks who are enthusiastic.
  • Send a press release to faculty about our new website (when it goes live). This idea works particularly well in a school with a public relations department, but it's a good idea for any discipline.
  • Emphasize the instant-ness of chat in classes. I think I'll ask a student volunteer to use the chat while in class - how much more instant can we get? 
  • Bring in a student from an earlier semester with me to talk about how helpful it was talking to me about the class assignment.
The output includes (but is not limited to)
  • A series of three short videos where I demonstrate what happens in a library interaction - and show that I don't bite. Check out the first one (the other two are on YouTube and embedded in some of my LibGuides):
  • A flyer to be made available to students about what the Library has to offer. I originally balked at the idea of a flyer (print? really?) but this is the second group of PR students who recommended one, so I went ahead and made one.
  • Park Library: Space, Stuff, Support
  • I printed 100 copies, which I've placed around the building and will share at the School's welcome reception.
  • I will also post them in bathrooms to see if that increases awareness.
Now if I could just super-charge my Photoshop skills so I can create slides for the School's digital signage boards ...

As I implement more of the students' ideas, I'll blog them. 

August 21, 2013

PR Recommendations for the Park Library

My library recently served as the client for Dr. Lois Boynton's PR Writing class, where her students analyzed the Park Library from a public relations perspective. It was both a humbling and terrific experience, and I got several great bits of advice and some great videos out of the experience. Plus, I got to see some of the work our PR students do - which will help me help future PR students. It was win - win - win.

image from Microsoft
I'll start with the students' Strengths / Weaknesses / Opportunities / Threats analysis, interspersed with some comments of my own. I'll share the students' suggestions and outcomes in another post.
The strengths, as defined by the students, include:
  • The library's chat feature (tho' one student had not used it, thinking it would be as slow as email; note to self: promote chat as "Instant Chat").
  • The Library's website and all its resources.
  • Return books from any library to the Park Library.
  • Food & drink allowed in the library.
  • Therapy dogs during finals.
  • The Library's location within the building where most department classes are held.
The weaknesses & threats, as listed in the students' SWOT analysis, include:
  • Not enough visuals on our website; library website is difficult to find on department website.
  • Longer hours (mentioned by multiple students).
  • We don't have a free campus printer (aka CCI printing).
  • Funding.
  • Students are afraid to ask questions or don't want to ask for help.
  • Olivia H. wrote "Easy access to library materials on Park's website could mean fewer students actually using library facilities because of home access."
    Olivia adds: "Although Stephanie makes presentations to many classes, students may forget about the resources and information that she shares as the semester goes on."
  • Too much information on our website and in our "extensive online collection." 
  • Faculty don't encourage use of library in their classes.
Opportunities & recommendations
  • More visuals! (on the website and on the School's digital signage boards).
  • More promotion generally -- through flyers and bathroom signage.
  • Extended hours.
  • Update the website.
  • Adding a free campus printer.
  • More information about Stephanie (which seems strange to me, but this was mentioned several times, over two semesters).
  • Social media contests such as hashtag promotions on Twitter or Instagram.
This statement highlights my aspirations quite nicely: "The goal is not just to get [students] in the door but to also to get them comfortable enough to ask questions while they are there." (emphasis mine)

So ... hearty thanks to Dr. Boynton and her PR Writing students. I hope to implement a few of their ideas this semester; and I will post about them as I do.