And the Silver Award goes to…

On Friday 9th November, I attended the CILIP PPRG Award event along with my colleague Jenny Townend. It was fantastic to meet with like-minded people who feel so passionately about libraries and marketing. On behalf of the Library and Learning Services conference team I accepted the Silver Award for Excellence in Marketing. Here is what the judges had to say about our entry:

“The judges particularly liked the wide range of communications tools used, and especially the high quality of the blog and the innovative use of a widget. They were also impressed by the clearly-defined target groups and the use of professional designs for the branding, which was very attractive. Evaluation was carried out both by traditional means and by the use of video and audio interviews, resulted in very rich data which was accessible in a variety of formats. As ever, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and, with the original target of 30 delegates way exceeded (there were 86 on the day) this was clearly a deservedly successful initiative.”

For more details about the event and to see our presentation on Slideshare, take a look at the CILIP Publicity and Public Relations Group  website


Silver in the CILIP PPRG Marketing Excellence Awards 2012!

More great news!

We have just heard that we have won Silver in the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals PPRG Marketing Excellence Awards.

On behalf of the conference committee, I am off to collect the award and deliver a presentation on our publicity campaign, on the 9th November at Peters Bookselling Services, Birmingham.

These awards are in recognition of publicity campaigns which involve several elements, such as print, promotional events or displays, e-marketing and use of media. The judges looked at evidence of the campaign’s impact and effectiveness and the judging criteria were as follows:

  • Effective use of a combination of marketing communications activities
  • Originality of concept and suitability to target market
  • Quality of graphics, design and copywriting
  • Innovative use of new media
  • Success of events in terms of feedback, attendance (if applicable), and press coverage (if applicable)
  • Timing, message and consistency of marketing communications
  • Effective use of resources
  • Effective use of project budget

Putting together our application was trickier that organising the conference and the team did spend some time wrestling with the concept of publicising the publicity for the conference rather than the conference itself, but now it all seems worth it.



Keeping the momentum up…

Miggie Pickton, Nick Dimmock and myself attended the final DREaM Conference on Monday 9th July. The DREaM Project (Developing Research Excellence and Methods) came about from a grant by the AHRC, with the  purpose of  developing a formal UK-wide network of Library and Information Science (LIS) researchers. For me, it was really interesting to see what what was being done to promote research in LIS organisations and how seriously this is being taken.

Miggie and I were mad enough to do another Minute Madness; Miggie’s on our approach to research in Library and Learning Services at the University of Northampton and mine on the LLS Conference itself. I managed to run out of time as usual and missed out on mentioning the impact of the conference, but it was good fun as you can probably see from the following video

Good things have come out of the LLS Conference, both internally and externally. Our Vice-Chancellor, Nick Petford has become involved in our drive to improve the student experience of using reading lists, by adopting a top-down approach to the use of Talis Aspire and there has been lots of interest from the wider sphere of LIS organisations interested in doing something similar. Jo Alcock was kind enough to give us a mention on the final DREaM event blog which has helped spread the word even further and we really hope that we have inspired others to follow in our footsteps.

Making minute madness

One of my tasks for the conference is to organise the ‘Minute madness’ sessions. Minute madness is a medley of one minute talks by staff in Library and Learning Services. I see it as a cross between ‘Just a Minute’ (albeit there may be repetition, hesitation or deviation) and ‘Mock the Week’ in which comedians’ compete to take the floor and wax lyrical on a given subject.

These mini-talks are an opportunity for LLS to provide snapshots of other research going on, demonstrate impact and share ideas for potential projects. So far we have a number of interesting topics including: the rationale behind implementing a roving service, History reading lists and the NSS and the decision-making process on updating the VLE – Blackboard.

The skill behind Minute madness is to be able to pare down what may be a complex concept into a speedy and succinct bite-size chunk which hooks the listener in. Easier said than done, but done it will be because when the clock hits 60 seconds – you’re out!

Spreading the ‘C’ word




When we decided to hold a conference to showcase LLS research, it was initially going to be aimed purely at academic staff within the University. After some early planning discussions, the organisers came to the conclusion that it would be great to open it up to the LIS community too. With the diverse nature of our own research interests and external organisations we have links to, we were able to create a list of contacts and JISC mail lists that would ensure we advertised the conference as far and wide as possible.

However, as a JISC mail subscriber, I receive many emails promoting conferences and it can sometimes be a bit wearing when another one pops into your inbox. There’s always that worry that the ‘C’ word will induce a sense of apathy on the part of the receiver (press delete!) but what has been really remarkable is the amount of interest that we have attracted. It seems we have struck a chord in the zeitgeist of the Library world.

Over the last week or two we have concentrated on promoting the conference internally, which is now coming to fruition as exam fever starts to abate and our academic staff are able to draw breath and look at their emails.

An event such as this is so important for HE libraries; too often we carry out formal and informal research to inform our practice and improve our services, but we are not so good at sharing the results with our stakeholders.

We are really pleased that the conference will bring together such a diverse group of delegates and look forward to the discussion it will generate.

Design fit for a conference

I volunteered to be part of the Library and Learning Services Conference team not just because I think it’s a great idea (which I absolutely do), but also because I am passionate about the use of great design in LLS’s publicity and marketing. If we were going to hold a conference, I wanted to ensure that our promotional material reflected the professionalism of the conference content.

I think there is always a temptation to think we can do these things ourselves because we may know how to use design software packages. Nothing compares though, to the skill of a good designer who understands how to fuse the important elements of typography, size, use of space and memorable imagery together to create a clear and consistent concept. HeppDesigns was commissioned for the project as we had collaborated before and knew we would get a fantastic result.

Creating the design brief was fairly straightforward but still required a good deal of thought. The designer needs to have an understanding of the nature, structure and objectives of the organisation they are creating for, as well as explicit knowledge of the design ‘problem’ to be solved and the target audience. I personally think that a good brief will also contain keywords and phrases (like any good librarian) which inform the designer but give them the freedom to experiment (don’t design for the designer – they hate it!). The phrase “research active” was used in the brief and I was really pleased to see that it became a slogan in its own right.

The essence of the conference is beautifully conveyed in the final artwork; the boldness and simplicity of a multitude of intertwined neurons give an infinite sense of connecting, sharing and networking which is, after all, our raison d’être.