InfoEyes Advisory Committee Meeting
Minnesota Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped OPAL Online Room
2:00 pm ET / 1:00 pm CT / 12:00 p.m. MT / 11:00 a.m. PT
Jeremy Congdon, Catherine Durivage, Devon Gary, Karen Odean, Linda Rossman, Julie Strange, Joe Thompson
QuestionPoint & Webpage Statistics
April was a slow month with only 13 questions and 16 answers from us. As of the end of April we have a total of 51 questions for the year so far. InfoEyes usage can be found at http://www.infoeyes.org/members/usagestats/UsageReport2008.htm.
Public Relations Committee Meeting - Update and Discussion
On Apr 24 the InfoEyes Advisory Committee met to begin planning a future Direction for the InfoEyes service. We agreed to focus on Marketing. Thanks to Diana and Julie, this group they had their first meeting this past Monday. Linda reviewed the main points discussed at that meeting:
- It makes sense to target the libraries for the blind and physically handicapped (libraries in the NLS network) since these are our core population served.
- We will do another mailing to target these libraries (last done in 2005). We want all libraries to help publicize, even if they can't participate. Participation had been the focus of the last letter. We will include ready made materials to help them promote InfoEyes, Including press releases and banner ads. Small tangible incentives for libraries to include promotion of InfoEyes will be offered. Some of these incentives could cost a little money. We will need to discuss how to cover these costs. Possibly a prize will be offered to the state where the most publicity occurs.
- It was suggested that Vicki Strohm could help design banner ads. Julie Strange has also offered to help on these.
- We might perhaps get buy-in from new reference librarian at NLS.
- The mailing will take two forms of communication: Regular mail and email.
- We will also need to have "state" as option on our new question submission form. Joe has been working on this.
- Linda Rossman provided a summary of this meeting, included at the bottom of these minutes as an "Addendum."
Catherine estimates that there would be about 150 letters going out to libraries, which would need to be paid for. Suggestions on how to pay for the cost of mailing these letters and the reward would be useful and welcome.
Diana came across a company that does custom fortune cookies. According to the www.crestline.com catalog, if 60 libraries participate in this form of promotion the setup fee could run about $455 for fortune cookies. Prize could be a Perkins Panda from the talking book and Braille Library. The Nancy Pearl action figure was another suggestion put forth. These are ideas for ways to award libraries if they put a link to InfoEyes on their web site. $450 - $500 is the current estimate on what this total initiative might cost. Janway was also mentioned as a possible supplier.
Devon asked about targeting schools for the blind too. Linda said that this might be a future plan.
Catherine noted that a perception may exist at LBPH libraries that states can't promote InfoEyes unless they participate. We would actually welcome additional promotion. We want to make sure that they know that they can. The service is available to anybody in any U.S. state.
Linda said that people on the advisory committee seem to be in agreement on how to proceed. Catherine and Linda will work on the press release. Vicki will be asked to develop a banner, with Julie's help if needed. Diana will coordinate the printing, with Julie's help regarding getting color printouts. A hurdle still remains in terms of funding for these incentives. We need suggestions for how to raise funds.
Linda also mentioned that Joe has been working on creating the new question intake form using the new QuestionPoint Forms Manager. Linda showed the new form on screen. Suggestions shared at today's meeting included:
- Making it clear that "How did you become aware" is an [Option] field.
- Changing replies in "How did you become aware" to include NLS libraries. Make friend/librarian one question.
Linda thanked Joe for his work on the form.
Reminder to Members
Do not to hesitate to claim questions, especially on Mondays while Washington is transitioning its staff for InfoEyes coverage.
Linda noted that Joe has had contact with NARIC (National Rehabilitation and Information Center), as a new partner library in their Maryland AskUsNow! cooperative. NARIC has an entry for InfoEyes in their database. Linda and Catherine will provide revised information for this entry: http://www.naric.com/public/record.cfm?id=12&search=4&rec=2879
Catherine also noted that Minnesota now has a link to InfoEyes on their virtual reference service home page: http://www.askmn.org/.
The meeting adjourned at 2:45 p.m. ET.
Thursday, July 17
2:00 pm Eastern / 1:00 pm Central / 12:00 p.m. Mountain / 11:00 a.m. Pacific
Minutes submitted by Joe Thompson
May 22, 2008
Well, just to give you all some background, on April 24th we held our meeting on future directions for InfoEyes, and the upshot was that we all agreed to focus on marketing at this point and help more people become aware of our services.
Also, thankfully Diana Sussman and Julie Strange volunteered to form a PR subcommittee with Catherine and myself, and we had our first meeting to discuss a PR/marketing plan on this past Monday.
I just wanted to summarize the main points we discussed at the meeting: (Julie and Catherine please chime in if there's something I'm missing.)
- We decided at this point to target BLPH libraries since these are our core population which we are most certain will need our information services right now.
- We want to do another mailing targeting these libraries.
One had been done quite awhile ago (think in 2005) but we want to emphasize this time, that we want all these libraries to help publicize our services even if they can't join right now. (Which we'll also encourage them to do?) We will send the libraries readymade materials to help them with the publicity - press release plus customizable banner ads for their websites to link to us.
- We also discussed Diana's creative ideas about specific incentives as well. The idea is we would offer small tangible incentives to the libraries that took the steps of putting our service in their newsletter and adding the link to their websites when they send us proof that they've completed these steps. This could cost a little $ so we need to think about how that would work? Could members contribute to the cost, etc? Then there might be a large door prize for the library that perhaps got us the most customers from their state through their efforts. (Of course, some of our current web forms would need some tweaking so that we can tell which state the patron asking question is from).
I think it was suggested that Vicki Strohm, our webmaster, might be able to help with the images, and Julie has very generously also offered to use her expertise to help if needed.
Another suggestion at the meeting was that perhaps in the future we may get some "buy in" from the new reference librarian which NLS hires in the future.
Also, for the mailing it was decided that 2 forms of communication might be better than one - perhaps regular mail and email both to ensure that we get their attention!