On a + note


Library ambassadors.; #37: 2011

Posted in on a + note by Admin on October 31, 2011

As I was dusting off my witch costume, I was still thinking about Toronto Public Library and how libraries can build customer loyalty to helppromote and defend the library in the good times and in the bad.

Who would make great library ambassadors, or if you prefer, Library Lions like Margaret Atwood?

Who would actively promote us to their family, friends, and community?

My newest idea is growing our own Library Ambassadors. They could be our most frequent customers, local authors, or community leaders who know and love us. Library Ambassadors could be individuals who are interested in promoting the library and becoming our best friends. They could be a small group that likes to be connected with the community and share information or opinion makers who have the inside scoop!

We do need to have something to offer our new found friends in return. We certainly don’t have the cash, but we could:

  • Offer “freebies” to our Library Ambassadors. E.g. early access to the book sale or personalized emails about our newest books or programs.  
  • Ask the Ambassadors to test new services (like circulating eReaders).
  • Use  the Ambassadors as an electronic focus group. For example: the library is considering opening an hour earlier. What do the Library Ambassadors think?
  • Personally invite the Ambassadors to a library board meeting, the annual meeting, or a special library event.
  • Create digital and paper personalized library referral cards for Library Ambassadors to give to friends to refer them to a reference librarian or the Library Director.

We need to give our best friends the inside scoop, the information that will be of value to them as they spread the word. .

That’s what I’ve been thinking about as I make my Halloween costume for tonight.

Happy Halloween!

Kitty Pope
kpope@library.guelph.on.ca                                                                  #38 October 2011

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2 Responses to 'Library ambassadors.; #37: 2011'

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  1. Brenda Kelly said,

    They are all great ideas, Kitty- and low-cost to implement. Why not start with the Friends of the Library- all of whom are dedicated library fans and hard workers. That would provide a solid base from which to expand.

  2. Christina Tourangeau said,

    I loved your idea about library ambassadors. My idea is to look at your younger population, as well as adults. I’ve been a huge fan of the library, especially so since having children 12 years ago. It was a lifeline to my sanity. As such, my kids absolutely adore anything to do with the library and addend as many events as possible, along with just going to “be” at the library on a Saturday afternoon. We often bring along unsuspecting friends and the most common comment we hear is “wow, this place is great, do you have to pay to come here and do all this stuff?” and “I’ve always wondered what this building is when we drive by.” It always amazes me the amount of kids who’ve never had the opportunity to experience the wonders of a public library and all it has to offer. My kids are already acting as ambassadors and keep inviting new friends to go with them. The idea of getting them hooked when they’re young and they’ll keep coming back is really powerful one. We’ll keep bringing new friends with us each time we come and revealing all the amazing things the Guelph Library has to offer.

    P.S. Love all the changes you’ve implemented since your arrival. They’re really great and make an immense difference in the overall library experience. Keep up the forward thinking and hard work. We appreciate it.


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