Monday, July 21, 2008

Parker and Florida Construction Site Tours

On Friday, July 11, I had the fortunate experience to be able to attend a construction tour at ALD’s future library site at the corner of Parker Road and E. Florida Ave. Members of the community as well as representatives from the Spring Institute braved the near-100-degree temperatures to take a look at how the library was taking shape. Although it is still in its early stages of construction, one can only anticipate the resources it will bring to its community. This new branch will be built on 3.5 acres in unincorporated Arapahoe County. The 28,000-square-foot library will serve residents in Glendale, Four Square Mile and Holly Hills, as well as the larger community, and is scheduled to open in early 2009. I highly recommend taking a tour of the site. The next tour will be offered on Friday, August 1, at 3:30 pm and again at 4 pm. If that date does not work for you, tours will be held monthly and can be registered for online at

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

“What’s Your Flavor” Contest Tips

In order to help you get started, below are a tips for sharing about programs and events with library patrons.

We’d love to hear from you! Please post comments with your own tips for sharing about programs and events!

“What’s Your Flavor” Contest Tips:
· Remember, you are the most powerful publicity tool – share your enthusiasm for the program you select.
· If desired, feel free to select a different program each day to share about.
· Have fun with it! Wear a “buggy hat” or a bug pin and share about some of the different bug-themed programs happening at your library.
· Wear a Sock Puppet while sharing about the “Rockstar Sock Puppets” program
· Paint your face and share about Face Painting events.
· Tell a story – engage patrons while telling about the Bug Safari event (“I held Rosie the tarantula…!”) or how much the kids enjoyed the juggling and comedy show in a casual and friendly way.
· As an example, ask patrons, “Have you seen the movie Batteries Not Included?” We’re showing it this Friday outdoors – what a great family night out!
· While facilitating programs and events, tell the participants about upcoming programs and events.
· Use The Dewey program calendar and library-specific handouts as a conversation starter.
· If you’re helping someone at the computer, tell them about computer-specific classes that are coming up. Let teens who are using the computers know about the iMac classes or “Rock Your Profile” events.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Our Neighbors, Our Patrons

Happy 4th of July weekend! While you are out and about this weekend, joining friends and family at community events, I challenge you to appreciate all of the good things our individual communities have to offer – including our libraries. I appreciate that we work for a respected organization supported by our very own neighbors.

I also challenge those who are working in the libraries this weekend to take a moment to consider those patrons coming through library doors to spend part of their valuable holiday weekend with us. It says a lot about who we are and what we do for our friends and neighbors in the community. Enjoy!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Summer Reading Photo Contest Winners

Congratulations to Monica Owens, Michelle Shields and Marta Soderberg -- winners of the 2008 Summer Reading Photo Contest. Many thanks to all who participated! Look for these winning photos in the August edition of The Dewey.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

When a Reporter Calls...

The phone rings at the library, you pick it up and offer a friendly salutation and an offer of assistance. The person on the other line is not a patron, but Joe Reporter from the local newspaper. What do you do next? Freeze? Set down the phone and run? No, our tendencies towards customer service may compel us to help out this lost soul who needs “just a little information…”

STOP! The only help you need to offer the reporter is to refer them to the Communications Department. Your standard answer – no matter how persistent that person is – is to direct him to either Nicolle Davies or Jessica Sherrick, or another available Communications staff person. We would be happy to take the reporter’s call and find the information they need. Whether this reporter’s inquiry is seemingly innocuous or he is on the offense from the beginning – you can hand him off to Communications to determine the best response or course of action.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Reading Pics

Many thanks to everyone who submitted Summer Reading Photos. We received some fabulous photos and appreciate the hard work that went into pulling off the events, and taking pictures of them on top of that! All of the photos we received reflected the fun that our patrons experienced at the various Summer Reading programs throughout the Library District and we look forward to publishing some of the photos in the next edition of The Dewey. Stay tuned!

Quirky Works!

Those of you who work with the public in the libraries are fortunate because you are in prime position to observe story ideas. Do you have a regular patron who is particularly interesting, or even a fellow staff person who has a great story to tell? You just never know what you’ll uncover by talking to people. If you come across anything that may be of interest to those outside of the library, let me know – we could grant that person their 15 minutes of fame!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The New Dewey Colors -- Green!

Recently, the printer who publishes The Dewey for ALD each month informed us that the stock we use to print the paper was now available on FSC Certified paper.

Of course, we jumped at the chance to print The Dewey on FSC Certified paper – it just fits with our goal to consistently look at new ways to “go green.” We were also pleased to note that this paper didn’t add anything to our printing costs. What is FSC Certified you ask? According to their web site, “Products carrying the FSC label are independently certified to assure consumers that they come from forests that are managed to meet the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations.” In other words, they help ensure that the paper we use is from forests that are well-managed and replenished.

To find out more, visit

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: Patron Comment Form

In the Public Relations/Communications Field, we are constantly communicating with our audience – newsletters, flyers, brochures, website updates and more. It is equally important that we receive feedback from both our external audience (our fabulous patrons!) and our internal audience (our equally fabulous ALD staff). Our ALD Communications Blog is an outstanding example of how our staff can communicate to us . . . feel free to leave comments any time – we read them and we value them, so post away!

As many of you know, two excellent ways for our patrons to provide feedback is through either ALD’s public email account at, or the “You Talk, We Listen” patron feedback form. Recognizing these two mediums are a valuable way to learn about the thoughts of our patrons, the Communications team recently re-designed the “You Talk, We Listen” form, now simply titled “Patron Comment Form.” Aside from an updated look, the new and improved form features an area for patrons to leave suggestions and compliments to let us know how we’re doing. ALD’s mission is to provide Outstanding and Personalized Service, and the Patron Feedback form is just one way to determine if we are meeting this mission.

What do you think of the new form?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

YourHub is a Partner for Promotion

The YourHub insert to the Thursday editions of The Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post has been a valuable partner in promotion for ALD for nearly three years. Although I will admit that when they first started encouraging us to post our own news online, I was quite reluctant to take the reins. That initial fear of new technology can be paralyzing, but it is empowering once we take the time to grasp what is before us.

I encourage you to check out the online edition of YourHub at While your event promotion may not make the papers due to ever-shrinking space available, we do post online with the hopes that it will appear in print. Just last week a valuable article written by ALD Early Literacy Specialist Lori Romero that first appeared in the June edition of The Dewey appeared in YourHub.

Check out her article at:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Oscars are Over, but It’s Still Library Award Season

The Communications Department works hard to identify staff, volunteers, events, projects, partnerships and even technology that may qualify for industry awards. Perhaps you were able to take a look at the March issue of the Library Journal and their Movers and Shakers publicity piece honoring our very own Padma Polepeddi. You can check it out online, as well at Congratulations, Padma!

The Communications Department is charged with taking recommendations from staff or identifying opportunities on our own to apply for such honors. We encourage staff, who are usually quite familiar with industry awards, to share any ideas they might have to honor a person or project associated with ALD. From there, we research the award and determine whether it would be viable to pursue – whether it be timing, award qualifications or other factors. If the award is a go, Communications would be happy to draft up letters of nomination and support, and also gather supplemental information.

Deferred Gratification
Communications staff are currently finalizing details on Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL) professional awards. Although nominations are due mid-June, by early fall we will have an idea who or what will be honored on ALD’s behalf at the CAL conference in November.

Friday, May 30, 2008

What’s In a Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Sorry, but we might have to disagree with Juliet’s famous line on this one!

When the July edition of The Dewey hits your library in June, you will notice the accompanying library specific piece got a brand new name: Programs and Events.
Not to separate the flyer from The Dewey, because they literally go hand in hand, but hey, it can stand on its own two feet! On a serious note, we believe the new masthead will make the piece a bit more user-friendly, so that patrons will know exactly where to find happenings, programs and special events at their library. In addition, we’ve incorporated the month and year in the masthead. On the heels of The Dewey’s honorable mention in the 2008 Hermes Creative Awards competition (read more about it in this week’s Monday Morning on StaffNET!), we continue to look for ways to make a great publication and even better newsletter! In the communications/public relations field, we are constantly thinking outside the box and looking ahead to better meet the needs of our target audience – in this case, our cherished library patrons!

What do you think of our new masthead? Please feel free to offer up suggestions!

What is Newsworthy? Photos Can Help!

Determining whether an organizational announcement, event or a program is newsworthy is a struggle that Communications professionals face quite often. Although there is no exact science, I usually look at several factors when I gauge whether I will distribute a news release on an Arapahoe Library District news item or program. These factors include proximity, human interest, significance, timeliness and prominence.

How can we ensure coverage? Unfortunately, we can’t – there are no guarantees in the world of media. However, some helpful attention grabbers include quality photos. Anything to better illustrate an event or an idea to give it that “human interest” color always helps. So, I encourage ALD staff to grab that digital camera and click away this summer. Perhaps you will take that one shot that can win the Summer Reading Staff Photo Contest. Read more on staffnet’s home page.

Wanted: Summer Reading Photos!

Tomorrow is the kickoff for many of the Summer Reading events at ALD. The communications department needs your help taking photos for the August issue of The Dewey. Anyone with a camera can participate! Here are a few tips for taking photos of people from an amateur:

1) Closeup is Key. For several reasons -- closeup photos crop out much of the background clutter and captures facial expressions. Also, a photo release is needed for pictures published in The Dewey, which is difficult to obtain for everyone in a large crowd.

2) Lighting. Outdoor lighting takes the guesswork out of lighting your subjects, but watch out for harsh shadows. Indoors, use a flash and stand within five feet of your subject matter. Most digital cameras now have features to remove red-eye.

3) Obtain a photo release. For any photos, especially of minors, that will be used in a commercial publication, a photo release is required. An ALD photo release can be downloaded from StaffNET.

Please see the recent StaffNET article on entering the Summer Reading Photo Contest, and snap away!!!

Photographers -- your comments and extra photo tips are welcome.

Friday, May 23, 2008

DVD Security Project Feedback

Approximately a month ago we rolled out the new DVD Locking Cases throughout the Library District. We sent signage, bookmarks, case labels, and put together a web video and screen savers...and so I'm curious -- how did it go? I'd love to hear feedback about this campaign from a communications aspect. Did you, as library staff, feel adequately prepared for the rollout? Do you think the campaign helped prepare patrons for the change, or has it been a fairly slow rollout, in which case, do you think it may be too soon to tell? Thanks for your feedback and ideas!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Power to Persuade Patrons

Did you know that you have the power to persuade patrons? As a staff person at the Arapahoe Library District, you are a patron resource. Every time you come in contact with a patron – whether it’s assisting with extensive research, or just a friendly hello – you could very well formulate that person’s opinion on the Library District. A website dubbed “The Business of Library Public Relations” encourages library trustees to do the following, but as Library District staff, we should all consider these invaluable endeavors:
· Be vocal, visible, and well informed; use your library and spread the word about its services and successes
· Look for opportunities to build a positive image for the library
· Tell people about the library's programs, progress, and plans
· Be an advocate for all libraries; talking about the merits of quality library service and the importance of reading
· Get to know local officials and persuading them to support the library
· Listen to the community; be the library's eyes and ears
Does it sound like a lot of effort? It doesn’t have to be if you just carry out our mission each day, which is to provide Outstanding and Personalized Service. It’s key to remember that positive public relations – and that includes direct patron contact – ensures patrons know the valuable contribution the Library District makes to our community.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Out With the Old, In With the New!

With the advent of our brand new ALD Communications blog, it seemed only fitting to give the Communications Department “home” on StaffNET a makeover! If you haven’t stopped by yet, please do, as we are “rolling out the welcome mat” and open to any suggestions and feedback.

Besides the friendly, happy faces of the Communications Department, you will notice the new purple color scheme (our group is a BIG fan of purple . . . the June edition of The Dewey, anyone?). And . . . in case you’re wondering, the pan in the picture absolutely matches the color scheme and design of The Dewey (who knew The Dewey had a twin!?). Stop by Ross to grab one for yourself!

Other helpful features on our StaffNET page include a direct link to this blog so you can quickly access the latest and greatest blog posts from the Communications team. Speaking of blogs, you will find the District’s newly drafted Blogging Guidelines under the “Decision Announcements” tab. In addition, notice the tab labeled “current edition of The Dewey.” That’s right! Now, you can view The Dewey in PDF format right on your computer screen – convenience at its best!

We view the page as a continually evolving, dynamic piece and to quote directly from the opening paragraph, “we hope you will find this page a useful tool in your effort to communicate, both with District staff and the outside world.” If there’s any content or helpful information and tips you would like to see on our page, please let us know! We are here to support your communications needs and make ALD the best Library District around.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Customer Service...From Lattes to Doughnuts to Books

From Starbucks Coffee to Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, and even Subway Sandwiches and Cold Stone Creamery, a good part of my career has been focused on Local Store Marketing and Customer Relations. So, how does that experience translate to Arapahoe Library District? Even though we may not be focused on driving store traffic, and moving cups of coffee, we are still in the business of delighting our customers, and offering excellent customer service, are we not?

Starbucks Coffee focused on being the “third place” – that place between home and work where people would go to unwind, check email, meet friends and even be seen. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts wanted to “Create Magic Moments” for their customers, by going the extra mile – helping someone out to their car with their doughnuts and coffee or handing a new customer a free “sample” of a hot fresh doughnut, right off the line.

It might not surprise you that those goals and simple gestures didn’t simply come automatically for the baristas and staff at each of those companies. It is a well-orchestrated dance that is taught and reiterated on a daily basis (sometimes successfully and sometimes, not-so-much...if you have ever frequented those places, you have probably experienced a little bit of both.) And sometimes these ideals are the first to slip in rough times. As you likely heard in the news, Starbucks Coffee Company recently closed all of its stores for a re-training of the staff. Not only was it a brilliant publicity move, it communicated to the staff and the world a renewed focus on the customer.

Since joining the Arapahoe Library District, I have been more than impressed by the focus on the customer. On every level, I have seen a wonderful endeavor to recognize the patron as the backbone of our existence, and our “raison d’ĂȘtre” – as they should be.

Your communications team wants to help support that effort. In the near future we will be putting together a small incentive program to encourage good customer service while having fun at the same time.

We’d also welcome your ideas for helping to build relationships with the patrons, and ways the communications department can help facilitate good customer service.

Operation Program Participation Boost

It has been brought to my attention that our program participation numbers are in need of a boost.

The main message we need to communicate to patrons is: FOR PROGRAM AND EVENT INFORMATION, PICK UP THE DEWEY. I don’t believe it is clear to patrons that The Dewey houses all program-related information. Therefore, we need to be intentional in clarifying, for patrons, where they can find the latest and greatest program/event information.

Take a few minutes to read about some of the fun marketing tools that each library will soon receive. Table tents, posters, signage in bathroom stalls, new (and improved) library-specific handouts, screen savers…to the rescue!

Posters: We will provide each library with large, 4-color posters to be displayed in a prominent location.

Screensavers: The screensavers will match the posters. In addition, we are creating children, teen and adult specific screensavers that read: FOR INFORMATION ABOUT TEEN PROGRAMS AND EVENTS, PICK UP THE LATEST COPY OF THE DEWEY. Some libraries may already have the “general program” screensaver. If you don’t have the screensaver yet, you will soon.

Table Tents: We have tallied the number of tables at each library and have purchased acrylic table tents for each table, at each library. We have created table tents that match the look of the posters and screensavers. These table tents will be another great way to promote the featured programs and Library District initiatives as well!

Library-Specific Handouts: Beginning with the July edition (which will be available in early June), you will notice that the masthead of the library-specific pieces will now read: PROGRAMS AND EVENTS. Until now, the masthead has read: THE DEWEY, which is a bit confusing to patrons. The two pieces were too similar design-wise and really, looked like the same piece. We hope that the “new and improved” library-specific handout masthead will help clarify things.

Signs in Bathroom Stalls: We will provide each library with acrylic flyer-holders to post on the doors of the bathroom stalls. I believe a library came up with this brilliant idea and is already making it happen. Ginger will be in touch with each of you soon to tally the number of “flyer holders” needed.

Website: We will post a brief feature article on the website that highlights how patrons can find out about programs and events at the libraries.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Get the Word Out: Publicity 101

I know readers of the ALD Communications blog may be curious about the vast world of public relations and our role in the process. And, as the Publicity Specialist for the Library District, I would be happy to share my thoughts on Publicity 101.

What brings our patrons to our libraries?
According to, publicity is defined as extensive mention in the news media or by word of mouth or other means of communication. In a nutshell: free advertising for the Library District! We are so fortunate in the world of libraries to have an iron-clad reputation in the community. We share our valuable resources – books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, computers, databases, facilities, events and more – AND we spread literacy in under-served areas – not a bad combination.

Although we have stellar support from our community, we can’t sit back and wait for our patrons to come through our automatic doors. We must reach out and bring them in and that is where I come in. Each week, I review the upcoming ALD events and programs, and then pick and choose some potentially news worthy items, draft a news release and distribute the release to the appropriate contact at a media outlet.

What makes an event newsworthy? I am looking for edgy and different – not your “typical-library” event, but an atypical event. I want readers to note, “Wow! I didn’t know they did THAT at the library.” It is important to note that not every event has a news release distributed on its behalf, and more importantly, those that do have releases sent out only have a small chance of making it to ink. So, don’t feel slighted if you don’t see a full page spread with photos in Sunday’s Denver Post.

Building a Fan Base
If our publicity is printed or aired in the media, it lends credibility to our efforts and furthers our patron base of support. That is our end goal, because not only will it have an immediate effect on library and event attendance, but could also indirectly help us in an election when we may have to seek our community’s support down the road.

If you ever have any questions, or have strong feelings about whether your program garners extra publicity efforts, please call (ext. 19103) or e-mail me (
- Michelle Cingrani

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I can see clearly now.....

Thanks to all of you who provided feedback and input regarding the colors of StaffNet! Based on your suggestions, I worked with DS to tweak a few things. Now, there is better contrast between the text and the background. Also, when you click on the hyperlink, it doesn't fade away into the background. Take a look at StaffNet now and let me know if it is more visually-appealing!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Extreme Makeover-ALD Communications Blog AND StaffNet

Okay, so EXTREME may be a stretch.

Thanks for all six of you who commented on my first blog posting! How exciting. I got great feedback about the Blogging Guidelines AND about the color of the ALD Communications Blog. Many of you stated that the colors made the blog too difficult to read. If people aren't able to read the COMMUNICATIONS blog, that is a problem. Therefore, I have updated the colors but have stuck with the dominant blue theme. No strategic reason for that...I just like blue.

Also, you may have read in StaffNet that beginning Monday, May 5th, StaffNet will have a fresh, new look! In the spirit of spring, I have decided to upgrade the software. One of the many benefits of this upgrade is the option to change the entire color scheme of StaffNet.

If you have a favorite color that you would like me to consider for StaffNet, let me know by posting your suggestion to this blog. Someone suggested changing the StaffNet colors every few months to reflect the seasons-that is a fun idea!

Although the colors will be different, the functionality will remain the same. Also, this upgrade should not have any impact on the majority of staff, including individuals who maintain and update department pages.

Monday, April 14, 2008

WANTED: Your Blogging Expertise!

If you are blogging, are interested in blogging or even if you are not quite sure what “blogging” means, then I need your help.

I have composed the first draft of the ALD Blogging Guidelines. Being a brand new blogger myself (actually, I admit it, this is my VERY FIRST blog post), I am desperate for your input and feedback. Before you actually delve into reading the draft guidelines, please keep in mind that the goal of the guidelines is not to hamper your blogging experiences or scare you away from blogging altogether. Instead the goal is to provide you with some direction when blogging.

So if anything, please take two seconds to review the Blog Guidelines and post something, just to humor me. Since this is indeed my first “blogging experience” I am a little nervous.

By the way be sure to check out the new ALD Communications Blog on a regular basis for up-to-date info on what is going on in the Communications Department!

Arapahoe Library District Blogging Guidelines-Draft

What is a blog?
A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links (

A blog is a type of website that is usually arranged in chronological order from the most recent “post” (or entry) at the top of the main page to the older entries towards the bottom (

Who can start an ALD blog?
Anyone who has received permission from his/her director or manager can start an ALD blog.

Before starting a blog:
Get permission from your director or manager
Contact Digital Services

Keep in mind…
· Blogging is not a way to circumvent the communications/decision process.
· All blogs are external. This means, everything you post is visible to the world outside of ALD.

Blogging Guidelines:

  • All blogs and blog posts should reinforce Arapahoe Library District’s vision, values mission and objectives.
  • Update your blog often. No one is interested in an out-of-date blog. What keeps readers coming back to a blog is new content, updates and information.
  • Feel free to disagree with a blog post, but be respectful, friendly and kind. In other words, DO NOT post any defamatory, libelous, vulgar, obscene, abusive, profane, threatening, hateful, racially, ethnically, or otherwise offensive information.
  • Whether a post is positive or negative, provide context. For example, don’t just post, “THIS IS A BAD IDEA,” without providing reasons for your thoughts, and maybe even possible solutions.
  • Attribute your blog to YOU! No anonymous (or pseudonym) postings please.
  • Understand that your blog and/or blog posts belong to YOU. They represent your ideas, thoughts and opinions and should never replace information disseminated from the Communications Department.
  • Make sure your posts are accurate.
  • Be aware of copyrighted and trademarked materials. This means, do not post any information or other material (including photos) protected by copyright without the permission of the copyright owner. Do not use any words, logos or other marks that would infringe upon the trademark, service mark, certification mark, or other intellectual property rights of the owners of such marks without the permission of such owners.
  • Blogs will be monitored by managers and directors, depending on area of responsibility.
  • Digital Services must have administrative rights to your blog.
  • If you blog outside of ALD, but identify yourself as an ALD employee and/or to discuss matters related to the organization, please keep in mind that, although you and we view your website or weblog as a way for personal expression, some readers may view you as a representative of ALD. Because of this, we ask that you incorporate the following disclaimer to your profile and/or posts, “The views expressed on this blog/in these posts are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arapahoe Library District.” website/weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.”

Can work-related ALD Blogs be updated on work time? This is up to your director or manager.

When Blogging Guidelines are ignored, what happens?
ALD can remove information from any ALD blog without notice or contact with the author. Furthermore, ALD can deny authors posting rights. If you notice that a blog does not follow the guidelines, please contact your director or manager.