Tag Archives: outreach

The 10-Minute International Librarian #61: Think of the last time you attracted a non-user

 As part of libraries’ mission to serve every member of their communities, a key question is how to bring in new users.

Among those who do not currently regularly visit library buildings or websites, there may be some – or many even – who are missing out on opportunities that could help them.

To address this, we need to be able to identify what is holding them back from using libraries, and how to overcome any barriers that might exist.

What works in helping them to understand how coming to the library – or its website – can benefit them? What assumptions or concerns need to be tackled?

This is also helpful in advocacy, when you may well also be trying to convince people who do not use our institutions – or have not done so for many years – of why they are so important.

So for our 61st 10-Minute International Librarian exercise, think of the last time you attracted a non-user.

How did they find out about the library?

What had prevented them from using the library before, and what made them change their mind?

Think about what lessons you can draw for wider efforts to engage non-users, including among decision-makers.

Share your stories in the comments box below.

Good luck!


This idea relates to the IFLA Strategy! Key Initiative 3.3: Empower the field at the national and regional levels.

As we publish more ideas, you will be able to view these using the #10MinuteInternationalLibrarian tag on this blog, and of course on IFLA’s Ideas Store! Do also share your ideas in the comments box below.

The 10-Minute Digital Librarian #4: Develop a Plan for Social Media

In the first round of 10-Minute Digital Librarian posts, we’ve been focusing on how you can use digital tools in order to raise awareness about your library and its services.

We’ve looked at how to improve your discoverability through Wikipedia and mapping tools, as well as working on how easily you can be found via search engines. In the latter, we mentioned the value of thinking, also, about search engines within social media platforms.

Of course, social media presence is about more than just being found. When used well, it can be a great way of engaging users, and bringing them either into your building, or at least onto your site.

Our 4th 10-Minute Digital Librarian exercise therefore focuses on taking the time to develop a plan for social media.

Planning is important, given that your time is valuable, and of course it is possible to spend far too much time on social media!

Key questions you may want to think about include:

  • Think about who you want to reach? Are you focused on communicating with your existing users – who are they? Or do you want to reach out to additional groups? If you are starting, it makes sense to begin with existing users.
  • Linked to this, think about what you want to achieve through your social media presence.
  • Which channel or channels make most sense for you? This is likely to be steered by the type of audience you want to reach? If it’s professionals, LinkedIn may be best. Facebook users tend to be older, while younger ones use Instagram. Think also about networks such as Telegram, Signal or WhatsApp where these are used to share news and information.
  • Play around with the analytical tools available on the platform. These can offer you interesting lessons about which posts achieve most impact. Factors such as the theme of the post, the style, use of images, and even time of day can play a role.
  • Plan for regular content, but keep it sustainable for yourself in terms of time and effort. With experience, you will learn more about what works or not. Try to maintain a consistent brand as far as possible, and use images to make things attractive.
  • Be ready to interact with those who follow you – it can be a great way of building up links. You can also proactively follow others, including with others who can spread the word about your work.
  • Don’t forget to lead people to your site! While social media sites themselves seek to capture attention, your goal should be to get people engaging with library resources and services!

There are fortunately many good resources, not least papers presented at sessions organised by our Management and Marketing Section at previous World Library and Information Congresses.

There are also lots of resources online that you can take a look at of course – we’ve drawn on a selection of these in putting together this post, for example Super Library Marketing, bookriot.com, the Open Education Database,  or this example from a non-library source. Look around and see if there are a set of tips that work for you.

Good luck!


If you are interested in library marketing more broadly, you should take a look at the work of IFLA’s Management and Marketing Section, which provides a platform to share expertise and experience.

Discover our series of 10-Minute Digital Librarian posts as it grows.