A big part of holiday planning is knowing where to be, and when. You’ve got dinner plans at your friend Tina’s house on the 24th at 6pm and latkes at your cousin Tim’s abode on the last day of Hannukkah. Coordinating all of those invitations and appearances requires a lot of planning and forethought. Will the train be packed at 5pm causing you to be late? Should you take 95N instead of 93N so you can swing by your favorite wine shop for a hostess gift? Can you fit your workplace New Year’s Eve party AND your family’s party on the same night?
Planning, Planning, Planning. Stress, Stress, Stress.
And just imagine, your library guests are under the same amount of pressure as you – plus they’re trying to find time to swing by the library as well! Maybe they’re trying to pick up some light reads to enjoy during the break, or studying for exams, or even attending your super awesome’sauce events! Whatever their reason for swinging by, you want to make sure you’re alleviating and not adding to their stress.
So the question is, is your library Holi’Ready?
Tip #3: Getting Your Library Holi’Ready
Getting your library Holi’ready doesn’t mean elaborate decorations, traveling snack-carts, or tons of holiday events. Good on you if you are (seriously, awesome job!), but even the smallest things can have a big impact and help to reduce the stress your library guests are already under.
Are Your Holiday Hours…. Everywhere?
Your library hours are probably available on a hundred different webpages. And if you’re updating them to reflect your special holiday schedule, there’s a good chance you’ll miss a few places. And inevitably, a library patron will find that one webpage where the hours haven’t been updated and they’ll show up at your doors at 9pm – well past closed. They’re going to be peeved, upset, and frustrated.
And rightfully so! Most likely, their entire day is planned down to the minute – so if they found a webpage that says you’re going to be open, and then you’re not, that throws their entire day (and probably subsequent days) into the lurch.
A great way to ensure that you’re updating all your webpages to reflect your current library hours is to use the LibCal Hours Module. The Hours module let’s you define your standard hours, special holiday hours, and even one-off exceptions like “Aaaccck, we have to close early because a Snowa’caine is coming!”. Simply define all your hours, for all future dates and then grab an hours widget and embed that widget into those aforementioned webpages. As your hours update, day-by-day, the hours module will automagically update.
Say goodbye to outdated webpages showing inaccurate hours and say hello to happy patrons!
Text ‘Holidays’ to Get Library-Related Information
Back in 2011, about 73% of American adults and nearly almost all young adults (95%) send and receive text-messages according to a Pew Research Report. Fast-forward 6 years, and those numbers can only have increased. In fact, Forbes reported in 2015 that Millennials text more and talk less because they see phone calls “as overly intrusive, even presumptuous”.
Bottomline, if they want to communicate with your library – they’d prefer to do it as efficiently as possible and preferably over text-message.
If your library is using LibAnswers, be sure to take advantage of SMS Automatic Keywords. This way, your patrons can text a keyword, like ‘Holiday’, to your library’s SMS number and receive an auto-response with all the relevant information. Navigate to Admin > Queues > Select Your Queue > SMS Tab > SMS Automatic Keywords to set those up.
It’s fast and easy for them, and no staff monitoring of your library’s SMS service to boot. This 2010 interview with Johnson & Wales University Providence shows how their using SMS keywords in the library – it’s an oldie, but goodie!
Be sure to advertise your keywords inside the library and on your webpages too.
Pro-Tip: Update the automatic response periodically to entice your users to text again, and again – always getting new information with each one.
Do Librarians Know All Relevant Holiday Information?
If you’re anything like most Americans, you suffer from inbox fatigue. You’re inundated with emails – whether it’s newsletters, marketing emails, SPAM, or internal communication that could have been done f2f, your inbox is exploding. In fact, 205 billion emails are sent every day. Yup, that’s billion…. with a B.
Can you remember the last time you achieved inbox zero? For some folks, that day is yet to come.
So, if you’re trying to communicate important holiday information – try and give your colleagues a break and take it outside of email. Getting your library Holi’ready means getting your staff ready too.
1. Use Your Admin Alert Boxes!
Inside your LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibCal, and LibStaffer tools – you have access to an Admin Alert box. Head over to Admin > Admin Alert Box or System-Settings (depending on the tool).
This way, your colleagues can see custom alerts letting them know about important holiday information like hours, food drives, events, etc.
2. Discussion Boards in LibGuides (CMS Only)
For LibGuides CMS users, you have access to an internal discussion board. This is great for housing and storing internal discussions related to this holiday season – such as staffing schedules, holiday staff parties, and what types of events to throw at the library.
LibGuides CMS discussion boards are searchable and can be keyword tagged for sorting/filtering. So if you’re trying to remember, “What were our holiday hours last year?” you can simply login, filter on your keyword ‘Holiday’ and see the entire discussion thread and final resolution.
Remember, email was never intended to be a permanent archive – so if you’ve got saved emails in your inbox from 2008, it might be time to consider an alternative approach. 😛
If you have any additional suggestions for getting your library holi’ready, comment below!
Happy Holidays to you and yours!