Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians sponsored by
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#229, October 15, 2004

SUBJECT INDEX to Past Issues

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Neat New Stuff I Found This Week

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My resume
Or why you might want to hire me for speaking engagements or workshops. To see outlines for previous presentations I've done, click on Handouts

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My Writings
A bibliography of my published articles and columns, with links to those available online.

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Order My Books

Net Effects: How Librarians Can Manage the Unintended Consequences of the Internet, and The Quintessential Searcher: the Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Quint.

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What IS Ex Libris?

The purpose and intended scope of this e-zine

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E-Mail Subscription?

For a combined subscription to Neat New Stuff and ExLibris, please click HERE, complete the form, and click on "subscribe." To unsubscribe, use the same form but click on "unsubscribe." To change addresses for an existing subscription, unsubscribe from that form and return to the page to enter the new address.

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Highlights from Previous Issues:

My Rules of Information

  1. Go where it is
  2. Corollary: Who Cares?
  3. The answer depends on the question
  4. Research is a multi-stage process
  5. Ask a Librarian
  6. Information is meaningless until queried by human intelligence
  7. Information can be true and still wrong
  8. Pay attention to the jokes

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Guru Interviews

  1. Tara Calishain
  2. Jenny Levine, part I
  3. Jenny Levine, Part II
  4. Reva Basch
  5. Sue Feldman
  6. Jessamyn West
  7. Debbie Abilock
  8. Kathy Schrock
  9. Greg Notess
  10. William Hann
  11. Chris Sherman
  12. Gary Price
  13. Barbara Quint
  14. Rory Litwin
  15. John Guscott
  16. Brian Smith
  17. Darlene Fichter
  18. Brenda Bailey-Hainer
  19. Walt Crawford
  20. Molly Williams
  21. Genie Tyburski
  22. Patrice McDermott
  23. Carrie Bickner
  24. Karen G. Schneider
  25. Roddy MacLeod, Part I
  26. Roddy MacLeod, Part II
  27. John Hubbard
  28. Micki McIntyre

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Cool Quotes

The collected quotes from all previous issues are at

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When and How To Search the Net

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Wanna See Your Name in Lights?

Or at least on this page, anyway? I'd like to print here your contributions as well as mine. As you've noticed, articles are brief, somewhere between 750 and 1000 words -- something to jog people's minds and get their own good ideas flowing. I'd also be happy to run other people's contributions to the regular features like Favorite Sites on _____. I'll pay you the same rate I pay me: nothing.

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Drop me a Line

Want to comment, ask questions, submit articles, or invite me to speak or do some training? Write me at: marylaine at

Visit My Other Sites

My page on all things book-related.

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How To Find Out of Print Books
Suggested strategies, resources, and finding tools.

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Best Information on the Net
bestinfo/default.htmThe directory I built for O'Keefe Library, St. Ambrose University, still my favorite pit stop on the information highway.

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My Word's Worth
an occasional column on books, words, libraries, American culture, and whatever happens to interest me.

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Book Proposal

Land of Why Not: an Appreciation of America. Proposal for an anthology of some of my best writing. An outline and sample columns are available here.

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My personal page

ANNOUNCEMENT: "The editors of Library Journal need your help in identifying the emerging leaders in the library world. Our fourth annual Movers & Shakers supplement will profile 50-plus up and coming people from across the United States and Canada who are innovative, creative, and making a difference. From librarians to vendors to others who work in the library field, Movers & Shakers 2005 will celebrate the new professionals who are moving our libraries ahead. Go to
Form2005.pdf and nominate someone today."

PLEASE SEND YOUR OWN NOMINATIONS, AND POST THE ABOVE INFORMATION TO ALL YOUR LISTSERVS. As you know, I write profiles for the Movers and Shakers issue. I've heard grumbling that whole categories of librarians have been kind of ignored in this annual special issue, but WE CAN ONLY WRITE ABOUT PEOPLE WHO GET NOMINATED. We continue to welcome nominations for public, school and academic librarians, but we'd also like to get nominations for the kinds of librarians you think haven't gotten enough attention in past issues, like independent information professionals, catalogers, minority librarians, activists, subject specialists, and librarians from government agencies, one-person-libraries, corporations, library systems, newspapers, or vendors.



by Tia Dobi, a copywriter and library fanatic currently living in Los Angeles. Reach her now at [email protected]

" A man's life in these parts often depends on a mere scrap of information." - Clint Eastwood, in the 1964 spaghetti western 'For a Few Dollars More.'

I'm a copywriter. And this is my confession: Communication must make money.

Don't believe me? Then stop reading. The rest is for your competition. (You know,, Starbucks, Disneyland, television, video games and all forms of fast culture). Look, you're an information junkie. And so am I. Fortunately for the both of us, so's the press. I hope you'll stick with me for today's article and the rest of the series to see why this is so important.

Everywhere a choice choice

Today's buyers are increasingly overwhelmed with data, information and choices. In the US, for example, the average household receives 100 TV channels and some digital cables distribute several times that offering; supermarkets carry 15,000 to 25,000 SKUs [SKU=the alphanumeric identifier of a particular product]; the number of titles handled by the average magazine wholesaler has doubled in 10 years to about 5,000; over 40 billion web pages are linked to the Internet. How can the mind reasonably process that outpouring of data? The answer is that it can't! That is precisely why marketing your information product with singularity is essential.

Imagine people consciously making your library their first choice. And now they can. Because you're going to become an informant. I know, I know. You're already the best knowledge and fact providers in the world. What I mean is: when you become a press and mass-media informant, your buyers (America's citizen-consumers) will flock to your doors. And your databases.


Top of the card stack

You become a promoter - an informant en masse - through marketing your library, thus creating a dialog between two trading groups who need to communicate effectively in a highly noisy environment. In other words, you talk to people well and with pleasure. Some marketing information is creative enough to touch the heart, making stores like Ikea, Barnes & Noble, and Toys 'R' Us into weekend destinations. What's your goal? To get indexed at the top of the mind-when the individual is in the market to buy. What's the best way to do that? Understand the communications business like a pro. Does your library becoming a weekend destination sound good to you? How about having brand evangelists flock to your brick and mortar everyday? The place to start, then, is with a marketeur's primer for the over-educated.

Glossy words that build business:

SOUND BITE: your summed up answer to the posed question, "What's your story?" Core truths are key business drivers. The script is simply: short + authentic. A company's story that develops a better understanding of who they are, why they exist, whom they serve and what it is that binds them together in lasting and profitable relationships.

BRAND: the emotions you and your product emote and evoke, based upon your and your product's behaviours. Behind every brand is: a compelling idea, a resolute core purpose and supporting values [behaviours] - a central organizational principle from which all marketing and on-the-job activities originate. Your brand is your greatest form of passive income. It is your preceding reputation as well as your lingering perception.

TRUST: what every business needs to be enjoyable. Has 5 elements: dependability, honesty, competence, customer orientation and likeability. One of the best ways to convey each of those elements is with "proof sources," or customer testimonials.

CUSTOMER: one who comes under your care, protection and guidance. One who uses your product or service. One who may use your product or service in the future. One who used to use your product or service and stopped because of a flaw in your product or service and you need to win back. Because you know your product or service is truly all that good. Today's marketeur knows everyone is her customer: consumers, bosses, co-workers, salesclerks, neighbors, etc.

MARKETPLACE: your one and only targeted customer. Who you 'do onto' in a strategic way with pleasurable communication for mutual benefit.

MARKETING: considering the best ways to bring in new business. Finding the right people for your product. Mechanical sequence of communications sent to a certain target, offering your service. Which takes on a kazillion forms, including: public relations, sales promotion, advertising, direct response, give-aways, event staging, business cards, jumping up and down while waving your arms, etc.

The best of all ways to index above your competition is, of course, to market a better product.

COPYWRITING: the right use of words to create mental images. Writing that's used in all forms of marketing. It must educate. And give reasons and benefits making the reader react. This is not magical or mystical. It's no different being absorbed in a good movie. Or being riveted by a good book.

Words that maturate in your customer's mind so she goes from thinking, "I need a ___" to saying "Gimme that product!" The provocateur.

SLOGAN (also logline, motto): marketing can be successful on words alone. Loglines are a trusted ally. By distilling your product's benefits down to 1-5 sentences, they pack a sales wallop. Moving brands from one that your customers prefer to one your customers insist upon.

Know the writing formula: Get it right. Write it tight. Slogans are taut, speedy, emphatic, core, clear, low key, intelligent pitching.

TESTIMONIAL: the power of the 3rd word, of having a neutral party shouting your name from the rooftop. Press, friend and foe alike will always listen to a person-to-person referral. Great testimonials, properly positioned (i.e.: on the outside of your building like my neighbourhood library) are: priceless promotion.

Word-of-mouth is the purest and most powerful form of marketing. Don't leave home without it.

PRESS RELEASE: refreshing stories you write about your library that get sprinkled throughout the media. For free. And keep its viewers audience sane. One requirement is that they sell. What that means is that they're such a pleasure for the editor to read she can't help but print it. Press releases answer the question, "What's the new news?"

PUBLIC RELATIONS (Publicity): an art of stirring up interest to promote your product or service. Good publicity leaves others singing your praises. Mentions in the press via news releases, articles and interviews, it's the free 'your name in gilt lettering' that builds the credibility that builds a business.

Publicity builds your identity, increases your visibility, creates name recognition, gets your message across and compels people to invest their trust, time and money in you. The press.

ADVERTISING: the words + pictures used to reaffirm a brand's core values (behaviors). Paid-for print space and broadcast air and Internet time comes only after a product has reached credibility in the marketplace via media and press publicity. Advertising must resonate with consumers. You need customers to think, "Yes! That's what the brand stands for."

"The majority of campaigns fail to give consumers enough information." - Advertising Kingpin David Ogilvy, in the industry bible 'Ogilvy On Advertising.'

THE SALE: a transaction that results from a company's understanding the customer; having the necessary expertise and experience to make a significant and lasting difference to the customer. Creates a meaningful opportunity for the librarian to be a genuine consultant, developing valid relationships with prospects based on knowledge.

Being indispensable to customers.

EXALTATION: the feeling you and your customers get as you celebrate and appreciate yourselves and each other as a result of talking about your business, training your employees, and teaching your clients how to use your products and services. The common good. The real meaning of wealth.

The profiteer.

Relax. It's only information

And the more you tell, the more you sell. The process is a natural one. This is why communication must make money. Even non-profits absolutely need to generate income. But here's the best part. All the overflow must go back into the running of the business - not the CEO's pocket.

Why wouldn't your library love a thick bottom line in addition to its great text life?

A-ha. I thought so. And now, gentle reader, I'm going to give you a research assignment. Take some time out this month to visit your favorite library (the boss won't mind). Look for 3-6 stories of companies (similar to where you work) that have put into their marketplace any actions exemplified in the glossy words. List all the ways it could be a good thing. This will help you to master the lingo of the pro-communications industry. And reap its sweet rewards.

Let me know how it grows.

This is the introduction to a year-long series. Each month, Tia Dobi will explain what you need to know to put these practices to good library use! Stay Ex-Libris tuned for putting the provocation in your promotion!

Subsequent articles in this series:

  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4
  • Part 5
  • Part 6

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    We're in the business of giving away knowledge. For free. Come in, please come in, and take some knowledge for free, no limit, keep going, gorge on it if you want, no, it's not a trick, a come on, a free sample and then we'll bill you later, or we'll paper your head with banners and pop-ups. Librarians don't have a lot of status, and we don't make a lot of money, more than poets, but not so much, say, as your more successful panhandlers, so our ideals are important to us and the love of books and the love of knowledge and the love of truth and free information and letting people discover things for themselves...

    Larry Beinhart. The Librarian. Nation Books, 2004.

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    You are welcome to copy and forward any of my own articles for noncommercial purposes (but not those by my guest writers) as long as you credit ExLibris and cite the URL for the article. Please do NOT copy and post my articles to your own web sites, however. Instead, please copy a brief excerpt and link to the URL for the remainder of the article.

    Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians and Other Information Junkies.
    Copyright, Marylaine Block, 1999-2004.
    [Publishers may license the content for a reasonable fee.]