Social Networks and Marketing: the Lester Public Library Experience

I was hired for my first-time directorship at the Lester Public Library (LPL), Two Rivers, Wisconsin in March of 2007.  Becoming a part of this rural community of roughly 12,500 people driven by agriculture and manufacturing on the shores of Lake Michigan was going to be a challenge.  I wanted to have an active role in the community, sooner rather than later. To my delight, social networking helped me achieve this goal, quicker than I had ever envisioned.

As director, I immediately set up and took responsibility for LPL accounts for Flickr, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube. I also created a blog – Blogging LPL – these networks are free (the exception is Flickr, $25.00 annual fee for unlimited access). We have a small dedicated staff and I didn’t want to add to their already full plates. I also wanted to brand Lester Public Library, Two Rivers, Wisconsin as quick as possible on these social networks because there are four Lester Public Libraries in the state of Wisconsin.  Since costs for social networks are incredibly low they enabled me to expand upon a meager marketing budget (annual LPL marketing budget is $1500).

What you can do, now

A two-year immersion into social networking had its learning curve and has resulted in certain recognition for LPL on a national, global and most important, local scale.  Want to bypass a two-year obsession with social networking? Get your library on Facebook and post to your wall daily. 

Other tips to remember as you post: be respectful of your community and library; ask open-ended questions; and keep your Facebook account interesting with photos, videos, and other important digital data.

Jeff Dawson

Director, Lester Public Library

Two Rivers, WI



Thanks, Jeff, for sharing your knowledge about marketing and using social media for our DIY in a Day theme: projects you can start today. Here's a few more tidbits on this topic from TechSoup:

-Sarah Washburn