Using your ILS and OPAC to Publicize Events
Publicity is Important
You know that one of the secrets to a successful library event is publicity—why not put your ILS to work? Using features such as notices and announcements on the OPAC page can help you reach even more patrons and make them aware of the great work you do. Let’s look at some of the ways that you can put library software tools to work for you.
Most library software enables you to send notices to patrons and allows you to tailor your notice text to the audience you are targeting. For example, a notice reminding students about a book fair would most likely be worded differently than one letting parents or guardians know about it. You can use different wording to build excitement or to provide valuable information. The ability to choose which patron types or groups to send the notices to is a common feature in library software. Find and use the tools that will best suit your needs.
Many library software packages have a calendar function, that will enable you to put your event and details about it on a calendar that your users can see on the OPAC. This is helpful as patrons can check their schedules against the calendar to see if they can attend. Calendars can give users a view of the coming weeks and months and let them know about both one-time and recurring events.
Other tools, such as linking to other websites from the OPAC, and using resource lists to inform people what books a book group will be reading or have read in the past, can also be useful. Announcements on the front page of the OPAC and items on the Library News page give events more visibility.
Be Sure to Experiment
Take the time to learn what tools are available to you in your ILS and try out different ways of informing and engaging your patrons. Make notes after the event to record what methods of publicity worked well, and what didn’t work out the way you expected. Check out what other libraries are doing to promote their programs and think about how you can apply it to your activities. Find out which tools work best for you and reach out to your patrons!
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