Archive for the ‘Solving Life’s Little Problems’ Category

The New Jersey State Library and New Jersey Library Association celebrated the winning entries of the 2009 “Tell Us Your Story” contest today at the New Jersey State Museum auditorium.

Congratulations to the winning entries:

First Place: Cape May County
Second Place: West Deptford Public Library
Third Place: Cranbury Public Library, Ocean County Library and South Orange Public Library

Honorable Mention: Mount Laurel Public Library and West Orange Public Library

To see the videos go to our facebook page.

This campaign was an incredible success with over 800 participants learning about the power of Tribes from Seth Godin; being inspired by the Shanachies to use videos to promote, market and advocate for their libraries; learning about Word of Mouth marketing, fundraising and mobile marketing at the Marketing Boot Camp; exploring the power of strategic storytelling at workshops and webinars and creating a digital story as part of this contest.

Thank you to everyone who participated.

You have inspired us.

We hope we have inspired you as well.



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Just because the contest is over doesn’t mean the campaign to collect stories about your customers have ended. In a sense, we have only just begun! Anyone reading the news about libraries knows that communities around the nation are facing tough choices and funding for libraries is being slashed. From here on you’ll want to put your skills into action to ensure that the NJ public knows libraries transform lives and that we are a tough but essential tax choice. We are getting great press right now but we must stay vigilant. Libraries across the country are experiencing horrendous cuts and we must make sure are stories are strategic and powerful.

Several libraries have shared ways they are continuing their efforts.

Several libraries have taken the “Tell Us Your Story” to the next level.

Atlantic County Tote BagAtlantic County libraries gave away tote bags to anyone who filled out a card. They got a lot of great comments to start a storybank. See all the comments here.

Mt. Laurel Public LibraryTwo incredible librarians from Mount Laurel, Joan Serpico and Kelly Garwood, developed a form for customers to share their stories. They display a logo on the front page to make it easy for folks to share. Take a look at the form here.

Joan Divor from Burling County Library adapted the form from Snapshot Day and has been having a terrific response rate. Here’s what her form looks like: Burlington County Library’s Tell Us Your Story Form

I’ll be speaking at the HRLC Tech Talks tomorrow about the flip camera and how with a camera under $100 you can let your customers tell their stories live. This fall we’ll be partnering with the RLCs to sponsor workshops that will help you learn how to tell a strategic story AND how to use the stories and photos to create digital stories.

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We have all been talking about Word of Mouth marketing and how important iti is for our customers to spread the word for us. This is a perfect example of WOMM in action:

Anna Fenerty works in circulation at the Mount Laurel Library. When she went to get a manicure three ladies were getting their nails done next to her. Anna overheard them saying how wonderful Mt. Laurel library is; how happy they are with the service they receive; how convenient it is to place holds and pick them up quickly; and how they love to buy books for $1 from outside rack, read the books and share with their friends and then donate them back to the library. You can imagine how proud Anna must have felt to hear these ladies talking so highly about her library!

Fortunately Anna shared her experience with her director, Kathy Schalk-Greene, who in turn shared it here with me, so I could share it with you. Now that’s double dipping WOMM. 🙂

The thing about WOMM is how contagious it is when people receive great customer service. Sure they loved the books but what I heard also was that they loved the convenience and speed of service. I am sure your library provides excellent customer service so be sure to keep your ears open to these types of stories to add to your storybanks!

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Videos are a great way to communicate your library’s value to your customers, so why not create your own? Plus if you create a digital story by June 1 and you could win a visit from StoryCorps (valued at $5000), an HD video camera or a Flip camera! But you must hurry because the deadline is June 1!

The NJLA IT Section and NJSL have scheduled a webinar on how to create a digital story using PhotoStory 3 on May 18. Register here for the free webinar.

But why wait? If you can make a PowerPoint you can use PhotoStory 3! Instructions, contest details, rules and prizes can be found here.

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The New Jersey State Library has created two commercials designed to promote how libraries are helping our customers during tough economic times. We are running them on NJN, public access channels and Comcast and now are offering your library the opportunity to use them on your site too.

Just click on the video to get to YouTube and download the code.



Questions? Email me at ndowd@njstatelib.org

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We talked about the importance of storybanks during the “Art of Telling a Compelling Story” workshops, this call from NPR is a perfect example of how valuable they are to libraries. If you have a story to contribute email Katie Davis at KDavisDC@aol.com.

NPR is looking for stories to air on April 30.

NPR’s Latino USA is planning a feature to air before El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/ Book Day) April 30, that will focus on the power of books. How have books changed the lives of your users? They are interested in stories from Latino and immigrant children. Librarians and adult users are also welcome to submit stories.

Please send stories to the Latino USA Producer Katie Davis at KDavisDC@aol.com.

Since 1993, NPR’s Latino USA has been documenting one of the most incredible transformations of American life and reality—the exploding Latino population and its integration in the a changing America. Founding executive producer and pioneer Latina journalist Maria Martin had a vision of who should be the voice of this important story of American transformation when she chose award-winning multimedia journalist Maria Hinojosa to anchor the program.


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The deadline for the Digital Story contest is coming up on June 1. Step-by-step instructions and a video on how to use Photo Story 3 are posted on the “How to Use Photo Story 3” page above.

We are looking for stories that demonstrate how your library is transforming lives. The winning library will receive a Door- to Door visit from StoryCorps. This is valued at $5000 and has been donated by Novelist. Second prize is a HD Video camera and the third prize is a Flip video camera.

Don’t delay …. you know how to tell a story, now is the time to create! Questions? Email me- ndowd@njstatelib.org

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