Silent Library: Using MTV as library outreach programing
Presented by Heidi Blackburn, K-State University at Salina Libraries
The library used the Silent Library TV show concept to market the library during the orientation week to just meet the librarians and know where the library was. Purpose wasn’t to go over services or provide instruction classes. This can be used in public libraries, too.
- Venue: think about your space. Selling the idea: Look for ways to tie into game nights, summer reading, freshman orientation, standalone teen night. Tie into interdepartmental relationships, collaboration, etc. Use the words donations and volunteers.
- Volunteers: volunteers helped get the donations for the event. A letter was available to give to community businesses; the businesses really liked this. Hand-deliver the letter, don’t mail it. They like it when you come in person. The library targeted getting donations from businesses that their target audience would frequent (freshman: Sonic, BBQ, Target, banks). Silent Library was also explained to the volunteers, for those who didn’t know what the Silent Library TV show was and what activities were coming during the event. People will be more comfortable helping out if they know what they’re getting themselves into. Library targeted volunteers from key campus staff for the event: academic advising, career services. For the public library: get teachers from schools, community members who interact with the target audience. Heidi had a checklist to get everything done.
- Verbalize: Waiver and assumption of risk form for people participating. Peer pressure got a lot of people to sign and participate. To campus: flyers around campus that showed who sponsored the event, the name of the program, and tiny print that said you’ll need to sign a waiver (the waiver text is what people read the most); moving weekend, handed out the flyers; flyers in the cafeteria and in the library. Advertise all the places for students to notice the event.
It was all about bragging rights. Make sure you have the floors covered in plastic. People were bringing things to do from the back throughout the entire event.
30 people participate and 50 people were in the audience. Teams came in already formed. Librarians didn’t test the events, but everyone had input on what would work and what was over-the-top.
You might want a cellphone or camera clause as part of this event, to not allow it to be filmed or have stipulations for what can and cannot be filmed.
Prizes and drawings held at the end. Judging who kept the most quiet — microphones didn’t work quiet so well. Put the plastic in all directions, including shelving.
Talk to faculty and volunteers and make sure they show up if they said they’d volunteer.
12 total challenges during the event. No one knew what challenge they were doing until it happened. Need lots of people to help to rotate the activities.
Captive audience. As activities were introduced, different campus people introduced themselves and led the challenges, just like a commercial. Several of the students who came to event know Heidi’s name and come in and say hi. It’s all about getting them in the door and knowing the librarians that are in the building.
Cost: out-of-pocket expenses, under $50. All the other materials, people donated (Pickle juice, peanut butter, etc.). Donations for prizes. Time and effort were the biggest costs.
Assessing the benefit: 29 students showed up to participate and 50 students showed up in the audience, on a campus of 600. Success just for people coming through the door. Feedback came anecdotally that night and the day after. People were saying things in the hallway or in the parking lot about the event.
Those viewing didn’t have to sign a waiver. Two orientation events were going on the same night — didn’t seem to conflict. People still showed up!
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