You can learn to fly at the library
Since the OCLS became a Mindspot Client we have learned that you can learn to fly, record an album, be entertained or take advantage of a plethora of ways to improve your life at the library. You may think saying that you can change your life at the library is a bit of marketing puffery, but it’s not. It’s a real opportunity.
OCLS helps people find jobs every day
They have smart people who work there and they can help you. You can learn to write a resume, learn a language, and improve your computer skills. You can learn to read or fix a car. The breadth and depth of their service offers is nothing short of astounding.
For example, downtown at the Melrose Center on the second floor of the main library there are flight simulators, a recording studio, a video production studio and people who can help you make it happen. It’s a co-working space for Millennials. I see them. They are finding the library. The world has evolved to a collaboration economy and these digital natives are looking for opportunities to meet other people like them. What better way to meet someone you have something in common with than attending an event, class, lecture or concert at the library?
OCLS offers life skills classes that help people learn basic financial management. You can learn to sew and knit at the library in their “maker spaces.” They even have yoga classes and storytimes for children.
The online access you can get by having a library card is equivalent to what large corporations and colleges have only better in many cases. You can get access to many of the top databases to take classes online such as Lynda.com. To learn more about these resources click here and prepare to be #mindblown.
Here’s the catch. It’s FREE. And, that’s part of the problem. Some people think it’s too good to be true. And, if we didn’t have you at ‘changing your life’ – they still have books and eBooks and yes they’re free too.
With all of these free products, services and nice, friendly people to help you, then why would The Orange County Library System (OCLS) even consider hiring a strategic consulting firm like Mindspot? Well, it turns out that things have changed over the years, and people don’t often realize that the libraries have kept up with the pace of that change! People still think of books and don’t realize that libraries have evolved and are now a technology hub and often the heart and soul and collaborative space for communities.
As a result, they think of Amazon to buy a book before borrowing the free version. The OCLS has 16 locations and serves the 1.2 million residents of Orange County, Florida. Although the OCLS has an extensive collection and offers the most current technology, library card sign-ups and visitation were declining. Classes get great reviews; however, they are not always full.
The OCLS was looking to develop a new Strategic Marketing Plan for this next year that would increase library card registrations and build a viable base of users for the future.
Using a Customer-Centric approach Mindspot conducted observational research. Multiple locations were selected, and library visitors were observed and In-depth Interviews were completed. Online Focus Groups with those library visitors and non-library visitors were conducted. These provided a better understanding of how the library is viewed.
We developed a formal survey instrument. This survey analyzed consumer behaviors, and measured awareness and interest levels. We deployed the survey in both English and Spanish. The process was inclusive and iterative. The Team at Mindspot worked with the OCLS Management Team to share the research with library personnel.
The team at Mindspot conducted a series of workshops with Employees of the OCLS. And gathered input to develop a strategic plan for the next 1, 3 and 5 years. Other Library Directors were interviewed to learn what is working well in their markets.
The OCLS now has an in-depth understanding of consumer behaviors. And segmentation and statistical analysis validated hypotheses and evaluated strategies. Mindspot provided strategic recommendations for re-positioning and messaging. And we collaborated with the OCLS to develop objective data-driven marketing strategies.
We developed a comprehensive strategic plan and actions put in place. These are helping the OCLS become top-of-mind in for visitors and potential visitors.
Positive results are already being measured with class sizes increasing and usage of resources also improving. More relevant communication is in process and the Orange County Library System has redesigned its website and web portal based on Consumer Insights provided by Mindspot. It’s an evolution and not a revolution and let’s start with you.
Walk into a library. The OCLS isn’t the only library with a lot to offer. Go get or renew a library card. If you haven’t been to a library since you were a kid, I encourage you to get in touch with your inner child. If you don’t have a library card and are a resident of Orange County, Florida, you can sign up to get one here OR visit the location closest to you.
Written by Lynnette Leathers, CEO of Mindspot, Inc.