Library system finds social media manager
Brown creates library logo, brand
The modern library is not just about checking out books and keeping one's voice down anymore, it's a vibrant hub of the community where people come together to connect, transform and be inspired, said Greg Brown, the Barry Lawrence Regional Library System's new social media and marketing manager.
In an effort to better market and make known its ever-evolving services, the system hired Brown in December to promote its presence on social media platforms — and since starting his position, the Monett native has hit the ground running, already designing a logo and creating a brand for the system's 10 branches.
"He is already doing good things for us,' said Gina Milburn, library system director. "He brings a lot of experience to the position with a background in print, graphics, web design, and social media. We're very fortunate to have someone with his level of experience, so we're very excited."
Even before he was hired, Brown, who brings nearly 20 years of marketing experience to the system, including print, graphics and art, web design, and running a corporate marketing department, impressed the Board with his initiative and creativity.
"I did some research, and started working on a logo before I interviewed, because I thought it would be a good concept of how to show a mark or image that accurately depicts what a library is and will be in the future," Brown said. "A logo is the face of your organization and your longevity."
The logo he created consists of a stack of books which forms a 'B' and an 'L' representing Barry and Lawrence counties, and images on each side gradually disappearing into the horizon depicting digital images.
"The little squares [on each side] symbolize computer pixels because we're not just about books, but about new media and expanding electronic media we offer to our patrons," he said.
"The new logo includes our key words, 'Connect; Transform; and Inspire,'" Milburn said. "We also have a new mission statement: 'Connecting People to the Transforming Power of Knowledge.'"
The system did have a logo before, which included their name enclosed in a circle — but never had a brand.
"This is a first for us," Milburn said.
In January, Brown outlined the new brand for the system, why it is needed and how to promote it.
"A brand is a lot more than a logo," he said. "Their brand is a lot about service to the community — and that's really my whole role is to further that — to connect, transform and inspire. I saw there was room for improvement on that and started to work on how I would redo their brand even before I got the job."
Other goals Brown is already tackling include rehabbing the system's website, Facebook page, and creating an informative newsletter entitled, 'Check This Out,' which will make its debut in March.
"It will be a collection of content, with a few key stories we'll promote throughout the library system," Brown said. "In addition to local newspapers, social media is a good way of getting the word out. I have managed social media campaigns in the past, and it's something I'm comfortable doing. In the first month, we doubled our amount of followers on Facebook, so I feel confident we are going to have a robust social media presence."
Brown hopes to roll out the new website soon.
"It will be mobile-friendly, properly-branded and better match our goals of service to the community," he said. "I'm hoping to have it finished next month."
Brown was hired to work part-time due to the system's financial limitations, but providing marketing for so many branches doesn't always fit into part-time hours.
"We're below the state recommendations for our level of funding," Brown said. "I am only part-time, but volunteer some of my time. It's a challenge to keep up with all 10 branches because we have a lot going on. We just added Ancestry.com, free of charge, and next month, we are rolling out Hoopla, a content delivery service [much like Netflix but offers much more] that allows you to stream e-movies, e-books, e-TV shows, e-audio, e-comic books, e-music, YouTube videos, and download books to read on your mobile device."
The extra volunteer time spent is worth it, Brown said.
"The system's mission is really worthwhile," he said. "I worked for the regional YMCA in the past, and bring a lot of experience working for non-profits and cause-based marketing, and believe that what we offer the community as far as knowledge and connecting with each other and having a transformative experience throughout our life is important; and the library is here to inspire people and that's worth volunteering for, too.
"In our library, we are a vibrant hub of the community based on knowledge and media, learning and entertainment. The days of piles of dusty books on the shelf and people hushing you up to be quiet are not part of the modern library. We are a place where communities come together and come to be entertained."
According to Brown, the library system has more than 2,000 programs each year, and, last year, had nearly 60,000 patrons attend.
"That's the future of the library, and it will continue to grow," he said.
Funding aside, the system is still growing, evolving and focused on providing quality services to communities.
"My position is an example of that," he said. "And, we're inviting more people in and bettering communities so that people can take advantage of the great services we provide."
For more information about library services, Brown can be reached by phone at 417-235-6646, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.