E-newsletters

A recent American Libraries article about “Green Ideas: E-Newsletters” and comments in Library Administrator’s Digest got me thinking, as a newsletter is an important and basic promotional tool in the library marketer’s arsenal. Most libraries produce some type of newsletter. And it seems the majority are able to drop mail it to the people in their community.

This drop mail practice to all community residents ensures that at least 4 or 6 (or 12 but it seems the libraries I found that drop mail do it either quarterly or bi-monthly) times a year your non-library cardholders are reminded that they have a library and that it is offering programs and services. Libraries also report registration for programs comes flooding in the week a newsletter hits the mailbox. So I wonder two things – one, even if it is a fairly passive way of reminding your non users that you exist, what will happen if they convert to a solely digital newsletter? Is the library going to come up with more aggressive ways to reach out to non-users?

And secondly, what happens to program attendance?  Are users clicking through to read the newsletter and are they still attending library programs?

My library offers a digital version of our print newsletter. And I would suspect that in the next five years we will migrate to a strictly digital newsletter. However, right now the people receiving the paper copy are the older members of our Friends of the Library group who don’t have email or even a computer at home.

Another interesting part of the AL article is that the library went from a quarterly newsletter to a monthly e-newsletter. I wonder what the impact on staff time was. I’m guessing the monthly version is not as many pages as the quarterly one. So while it might be a green option, is it truly saving the library money if staff are spending more time on the newsletter and less time on something else?

Just some things to think about as we switch formats. . . let me know if you have any answers to the questions I’ve posed.

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