Library system to hire part-time social media manager

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Library director: ‘Social media is a huge marketing opportunity’

In an effort to keep up with the times and make themselves more visible in their respective communities, which in turn demand a presence on social media, the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library system plans to step up marketing by hiring a part-time marketing and social media manager.

Director Gina Milburn recommended revising the budget to include funds for marketing, the lifeblood of any business.

“We’ve had some good applications and will start interviewing,” Milburn said. “The position would be added at the beginning of 2018. Traditionally, libraries are their own worst enemies. We’ve always depended on word of mouth and posting flyers for events and programs, but you have to take that a step further and get it out the door to make sure everyone knows. And since we’re notoriously short of funds all the time, it’s hard to do that. But if you don’t try, you won’t know how things work. So, sometimes, you have to take a leap of faith that you’re doing what’s best for the system, and social media is a huge marketing opportunity.

“We’re hoping that it will be cost-effective, because we’ll get more people into the library, maybe move closer to a successful tax levy, and hopefully get more donors.”

The library system has a Facebook account, but it’s not getting utilized as much as they would like.

“Facebook [and other social media platforms] are a huge opportunity we don’t take advantage of because we don’t necessarily know how to,” Milburn said. “It’s a way to keep up with what’s going on. If you don’t try new things, you’re going to be dead in the water.”

While the library system is doing better financially compared to where it was a year ago after a failed tax levy, it must still exercise caution and be conservative in its actions.

“This year was a reassessment year, and with those comes an increase, so we’re going to collect more money,” Milburn said. “We don’t know how much more, because the state treasurer rolled our tax back [instead of collecting .15 cents per $100 valuation like we have for years, we’re collecting .1462 cents], to prevent having a windfall in a reassessment year. I’ve calculated what I think we’re going to get, but people don’t usually pay their taxes on time, so we’ll see at the end of the year. We’ve also had some staff changes and scenarios with our insurance rates, and have saved enough money through the year to pay for the position.”

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