Today we, Future Ready 365 and On Firmer Ground, are posting the same piece to demonstrate the collaboration we both highly value. Both blogs strive to share proactive solutions and innovative ideas to illustrate how to keep information professionals vital, ready for the future and on firmer ground.
by Joan Thomas, Heart of America Chapter, Legal Division
Newsletters are an effective tool to communicate information to users while promoting the library’s value. How do you make a newsletter Future Ready? At Bryan Cave LLP, the library staff struggled to consistently produce office specific newsletters. It became increasingly more difficult to find the time and enthusiasm to create content for subsequent issues. We needed a streamlined collaboration that evenly distributed the work between several offices. We needed to connect with attorneys and staff at offices with no library staff presence. We also wanted to drive users to the library’s page on eCave2, the firm’s Intranet. Our challenge was to determine how we could join forces to collaborate on a firmwide e-newsletter to highlight new subscriptions and interesting legal news.
In early 2010, we formed a committee to organize the work flow, design the template, and determine how to connect the newsletter to the library’s page. We wanted news blurbs that were short bursts of information. We decided to publish the newsletter every 3 weeks. Each reference librarian and library manager is responsible for contributing articles on a rotating basis. The team for each issue consists of three librarians. One of the three librarians serves as the editor. We posted a schedule to eCave2. The schedule ensures that we share responsibility.
Committee members worked with Creative Services to design the template. We wanted the newsletter to look modern and to reflect the firm’s design aesthetic. We wanted the contents inside the body of the email (no more attached PDFs). Our library’s logo is included. The library staff voted to determine the favorite, which we continue to use today.
Finally, how should we connect the newsletter to the library’s page? A Future Ready newsletter should be connected to the library’s online presence. The firm’s Intranet operates on SharePoint. As the library staff experimented with SharePoint in 2009, they started adding news posts to a section of the library’s page which is very similar to an internal blog. This seemed like a natural place to post the articles. During each three week period, the designated authors create content to post to the blog which we named L&RS News. The editor then selects 4-6 articles to include in the newsletter which is distributed to the entire firm. The newsletter includes links back to L&RS News on the library’s page. We named the newsletter in the KNOW which is a natural extension of our Just Say KNOW branding.
Measuring success is an ongoing endeavor. We continue to receive positive comments which sometimes include reference requests. The newsletter increased the library’s profile in offices with no library presence. The library is doing a solid job broadcasting information to our users. Our next Future Ready task is to shift from broadcasting information to initiating conversations with users. What can we do besides face to face communication? We are exploring how to use social media tools to engage with attorneys and staff.
Joan serves as the Manager of Library and Research Services for Bryan Cave LLP’s Kansas City office. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas and a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Missouri. She can be found on twitter (@msjoanthomas).