This semester, as part of my new additional role as the Marketing Librarian (I’m still the Systems Librarian too…two titles, same pay :-)…more on this in another post ), I have the privilege and joy of supervising two student assistants to assist with Pollak Library marketing and communications efforts. Our library is one of the largest student employers on campus and could not function without the consistent corps of responsible motivated student assistants we hire each semester. Both of these students were already employed in other areas of the library, but were recommended to me by our Student Worker Coordinator when she and I started discussing utilizing students to help with some of my marketing and communications work.
Aside from taking on some of the routine work that frees me up to focus more on building up our new marketing program, these two students provide a much-needed fresh young look at the library. These student assistants also bring educational expertise and new ideas from their majors — one is a Communications major with a concentration in Public Relations, and the other is a Graphics Arts major with an interest in visual marketing. So their work in the library now provides them with a bit of hands-on experience in their intended career fields. I will share more about their work and how I manage their work later. But for now, here’s a peek at what they have worked on this month.
Social Media Visuals
While I was away on vacation for 10 days earlier this month, I asked Library Communications student assistant Natalie to explore every accessible area of the library building (some of our floors are closed due to damage from a March 2014 earthquake) and use her iPhone to snap photos of cool new discoveries — spaces, equipment, signs, artwork, architecture, collections, etcetera. I showed her how to schedule photos on our Facebook page to run at a future date, and asked her to write engaging informative captions to accompany each photo. We picked an arbitrary future date (December 1st) for scheduling, so these would get held in a queue for a more experienced member of our social media team (another librarian) to review and then reschedule to run on more immediate dates.
Since this was Natalie’s first time posting on behalf of a Facebook page and brand, and this was the first time we have ever permitted a student to post to the library’s Facebook page, I wanted some sort of editorial review in place for this project. Scheduling photos far ahead in this manner allowed a buffer period for review before anything might actually go-live. As of last week, Facebook pages come with a draft mode that would serve this purpose too.
Following are Natalie’s first two Facebook posts for us. We have more scheduled to run throughout the semester. Next up for Natalie? Our Instagram channel!
Our library has not had a good graphics designer on staff for at least three years now. Since that time, I have had to fill this void by cobbling together graphics and photos using my purely average Photoshop and almost non-existent Illustrator skills to make do. (I am a functional designer, I will never be an artist). My Library Marketing student assistant Carose has been designing some excellent visual marketing graphics for us, but we lucked out by getting a twofer with her. It turns out that Carose has taken photography and photo editing classes too.
Our library sustained considerable damage in the March 2014 La Habra earthquake, which has forced us to close most of the south building for a number of years (!). Because of this, we have had to (a couple of times now) relocate service desks and computer labs all into the north building. Which meant that many of the photographs on our website were now out of date. Once we made the final (for now) relocations at the start of the fall semester, I looked into getting one of the campus photographers to take new photos for us, but then found out that Carose wanted to tackle this project. I asked her to work with a colleague who knows our building really well, and to start on this while I was on vacation. Carose scheduled official photo shoots, recruited other student assistants to pose, worked with library and staff willing to appear in photographs, did any needed retouching and editing, and stored all of the high resolution originals and lower resolution web-optimized copies on our shared drive for me.
Does your academic library use student workers or interns to help with your marketing work? If so, in what capacity? I am sure a lot of libraries do this, it’s just a big new step for us.