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Building Support for Your Transportation Library with Effective Promotional Strategies:
A Case Study of the Illinois DOT Library

July 14, 2011

Slide 2: Diana Sternitzke, Quality & Document Management Services Section Chief

(duties include: records management, document/forms management, print shop, mail services, library, policy administration and distribution, etc.)

Karen Perrin, Technical Reference Librarian, Policy & Research Center Library
(duties include: research services, interlibrary loan, cataloging, document deposit with State Library, archiving of IDOT publications, agency professional memberships management, networking activities, collection development, educational outreach, etc.)

Slide 3: Introduction

  • The IDOT PRC Library, originally named the IDOT Technical Reference Library, was developed in 1965 as a small collection of books, trade magazines and research reports which had accumulated over the years in various offices of the Division of Highways and were relocated into a centralized library.
  • Currently the collection contains over 12,000 books, CDs, DVDs, and other audiovisual items, in addition to 200 journal/periodical subscriptions and 10,000 NTIS microfiche reports.
  • In February 2004, the IDOT Library was closed with the retirement of the former Librarian (Gisela Motzkus) and was not reopened with a new Librarian (Karen Perrin) until October 2007.
  • July 2008monthly stats: Reference = 10, Circulation = 18, ILL loans/borrows = 23, Cataloging = 14, Memberships = 6
  • June 2011 monthly stats: Reference = 23, Circulation = 588, ILL loans/borrows = 41, Cataloging = 114, Memberships = 15
  • Statistics indicate a steady increase in library usage, and special projects outside the library have increased as well

Slide 4: Overview / History

  • monthly library e-newsletter sent to all IDOT employees
  • table of contents alerts (in place of journal routing)
  • outreach presentations / collaboration with IL State Library (promotion of electronic resources)
  • annual open house and IDOT author display
  • PRC Library site on InsideIDOT intranet (SharePoint)
  • electronic bibliographies of library resources (display in the lobby)
  • PE / SE exam resources
  • clearinghouse for agency professional memberships
  • intraoffice collaboration including partnering with Research Dept., Chief Counsel, Bridge Dept. (library), and Design/Environment (standards)
  • customer service –be fast, provide more than is asked for, never let anyone leave empty-handed (within reason)
  • socialize with internal customers, attend events and training to stay current with topics, have elevator speech ready

Slide 5: Library Promotional Activities

  • Previous communication technique = post announcements to IDOT intranet; also sent out hard copy flyers each month to all the Bureaus and each district office
  • Above techniques did not yield good feedback
  • Requested permission from IT to send out an e-newsletter via email to all IDOT employees
  • From the beginning, the e-newsletter has generated tremendous feedback and requests from users (esp. the districts)
  • Key is to have newsletter open up directly, the less clicking to reach content the better, have been using Publisher, looking into using InDesign

Slide 6: Monthly library e-newsletter

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Slide 10:

  • Previous technique = routing of periodical issues via interoffice mail (one user at a time, cross name off, forward on process)
  • Above technique meant most users not receiving timely info and hard copy out of library (current location unknown) for long periods of time
  • Contacted all employees on routing lists and set them up with table of contents alerts instead
  • Created email template "distribution lists" using Outlook
  • T.O.C. alerts set up for resources available through the IL State Library as well
  • OK to set up alerts for resources not owned or available in full text, just put info at top of email alert explaining how articles are obtainable via ILL

Slide 11: Table of contents email alerts

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  • In past year have greatly increased collaboration with IL State Library
  • ISL representatives have come to IDOT and presented workshops on services and resources available
  • In past year, over 500 IDOT employees have signed up for ISL library cards, this is not total employees signed up, this is number of new requests alone
  • Share high points about news from ISL in our IDOT library e-newsletter
  • If ISL is perceived as useful, overall positive attitude about libraries increases, more likely to use IDOT library as well

Slide 14: Outreach for the IL State Library

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  • Open house held during National Library week every year
  • Includes display of published works by IDOT employees, personal or work-related
  • Serve refreshments!!
  • Meet and greet, don't be afraid to be a little pushy (in a nice way), discuss services
  • Have business card and library brochure ready to hand out (put them into anyone's hand that will take them)
  • Personally invite management

Slide 16: Annual open house and IDOT author display

Slide 17: Image

  • Make access to your library site a front page item, will need IT support or support of management
  • On the front page of our intranet, we have a stack of books icon with the PRC Library label underneath for easy recognition
  • Some of this information is available elsewhere, but IDOT employees have expressed positive feedback about having all the useful info in one-stop
  • We use SharePoint for our intranet

Slide 18: PRC Library site on InsideIDOT

Slide 19: Image

  • Library is not just technical / engineering resources, need to advertise diversity of collection
  • These are available electronically on the Library intranet site, but also have hard copies in brochure rack in Library to hand out
  • Will be making a display in lobby with enlarged versions in a case by front entrance/exit to building
  • Can include in e-newsletter also

Slide 20: Bibliographies

Slide 21: Image

  • Exam resources are popular items, and when providing them, also provide information about additional library services and resources
  • Great for word of mouth advertising among engineers

Slide 22: PE/SE exam resources

Slide 23: Image

  • Also useful for building awareness of the library
  • Centralization allows all employees easy access to membership benefits
  • Keeps the library in employees' minds as they have to contact the library to sign up for training, acquire resources, or use other benefits
  • Management happy to hear that centralizing memberships can save money by decreasing duplicate memberships

Slide 24: IDOT professional memberships

Slide 25: Image

  • Assisted with reorganization of Bridge Office collection of resources (library?)
  • Attended open house at Bureau of Materials and Physical Research
  • Attended GIS-Day hosted by IDOT IT staff
  • Work closely with Research unit despite not being in same Division
  • Work closely with Chief Counsel
  • Everyone needs standards (share resources between departments)

Slide 26: Intraoffice collaboration

  • Be as quick as possible, this impresses people
  • Provide more than is asked for when appropriate (often is appropriate)
  • Never let anyone leave empty-handed (with any reasonable request)
  • Smile and be calm (even while having third nervous breakdown of the day, everyone else is stressed too, library should be welcoming and comfortable)

Slide 27: Customer service

  • Socializing is good for the library and the librarian
  • People love it when you know their name, personal connection
  • Attend retirement receptions and all celebratory events (they usually have cake)
  • Anytime is a good time to talk about the library, have elevator speech ready

Slide 28: Interact outside the library

  • Diana.Sternitzke@illinois.gov
  • Karen.Perrin@illinois.gov
  • Recent quotes from IDOT employees:
  • "You are the most helpful person I have ever talked with from the State of IL"
  • "Thanks for your efforts, you have been most helpful. Are you sure you work for the state?"

Conclusion and Contact Info.