The SAA Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) is excited to be joining this year’s purveyors of hot topics and cool demonstrations at the Reference, Access, and Outreach (RAO) Section Marketplace of Ideas at the 2016 Annual Meeting. In the spirit of trying new avenues for outreach, we are not only encouraging attendees to live tweet with #ArchivesAWARE, but are also experimenting in LIVE BLOGGING–RIGHT NOW.
We are asking groups of Marketplace shoppers some outreach-related questions to get discussions going, and below are some of the responses we are getting LIVE:
1. What was the best new outreach initiative you’ve tried? If not new, what is your go-to for archival outreach?
- Chicago. Open Archives Day. Did a tour on a day when enrollment management was doing tours. Got middle school children in to see archives.
- MIT. Centennial of move from Boston to Cambridge. Made a coloring book and had crayon packets. Hands out at cookouts on campus with children, hands them out at commencement.
- Arlington, Virginia. Lobby displays in the public library. Took a colorful business postcard and turned it into a puzzle. Have now made five of them. 48-piece puzzle. Adults and children both like it, serves as a conversation starter. About $60 to make one.
- Library of Virginia. 2 year anniversary of transcribe program. Have programs once a month to have people come in to transcribe. Get a diverse audience of transcribers. Just did a Facebook post on two-year anniversary.
- Go-to and a fail – inexpensive banners. Picture and a paragraph. Can bring them to different events. Have brought them to County Fairs with someone there to talk about posters, but people didn’t really engage. Over-reliance on go-to activity.
- Go-to. Behind the scenes tour at the Corning Glass Library. Can be a lot of traffic. Looking at a virtual tour option.
- Library of Congress. Have users tweet. Give them hashtags.
- Social Media is a go to.
- Exhibits and public programs are go tos.
- Meet-ups at the Library of Congress have been successful, in-person and online.
- Flicker feed has gotten a lot of people talking about collections and providing information
2. How do you measure success for outreach activities? What are your benchmarks?
- Statistics. Best performing posts, traffic and interactions.
- In the case of the puzzle, people continue to use it.
- Very little setting of benchmarks before events.
- Measuring the impact by gathering feedback through conversations.
3. That being said, what have been some of your outreach fails?
4. Who do you consider an outreach superstar (not just archives!)
- Corning Glass Museum.
- University of Iowa Special Collections social media, especially Tumblr and YouTube.
- Austin Archives Bazaar.