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Promoting Libraries

The screenshot above, showing that there was "No event for the [sic] Wednesday, March 5 2008" is from the National Library's Events page. It doesn't seem to be fully functional yet, but it's actually encouraging that the website is even up and that the catalog is working, considering that I've noted in the past that it wasn't always up (see this and this). So why the screenshot? Well, according to "107th Anniversary of the National Library of the Philippines" (Manila Bulletin, 5 March 2008), March 5 was the National Library's anniversary. The editorial's writer could have been mistaken—after all, I did receive an announcement last year that the National Library was celebrating its 120th anniversary on 14 August 2007—but this only goes to show that the National Library needs to do a better job of communicating with the public, not to mention journalists.

Another article, "eLibrary offers 800,000 literary works" by Rizalene Acac (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 10 March 2008), indicates that the Philippine eLib has "800,000 items on Philippine literature [that] have not been explored fully by students and researchers, according to a top National Library official." Well, I think it's unreasonable to expect that people will go to the eLib so that they can read novels. And then there's the prepaid card factor. As another blogger wrote last year,

One would have to buy a prepaid card in the National Library and then use it to download one’s selected content. Which sort of defeats the purpose of an e-text website, since the reason why I visited it was precisely because I did not have the time to drop by the actual library.
In contrast, there's the FEATI University Library. It doesn't have a separate website with a searchable catalog (maybe because it's not necessary?), but it just finished its "FEATI U Library Week 2008," which featured movies, music and poetry at a "Riverview Cafe." It seems to have been well-received by the community and encouraged participation not only during, but even before the event. Pictures of the different events, available on the FEATI website, accompany the post-event article, which reports that suggestions have been made to turn the cafe into a permanent feature.

Different libraries have different problems, of course, but what I wrote in the misleadingly-titled "Sex in the Library" is applicable for most libraries, especially "Promotions" and "Positioning." You may also want to check out "Proactive Librarians," which has suggestions that can be used to promote libraries.

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