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Word of Mouth Marketing: Middlesex Community College Library

Logo for Middlesex Community College Library. At the bottom is the MCC logo, blue background with white letters saying "Middlesex Community Collge" and am image of architectural colums supporting a softly pointed roof, in the Classical style. Above is a multicolored abstract image of an open book, with the pages being differerent colors : dark blue, organge, red, light blue, yellow and green. Next to the image is the text "MCC Library" with MCC in blue and Library in red.The library is an integral and essential part of student success at Middlesex.

Project description

Implement a number of new initiatives to increase library visibility on campus - pop-up librarian, drive-by info. tables, personal librarian program, infographics slides at faculty meetings, faculty advisory board.

"While the libraries are probably the most heavily used spaces on campus as the places students come to study, socialize, and get access to computers and printing, we are hoping to make a greater contribution to student success by increasing their understanding of our services and resources.  We are interested in expanding awareness of the library’s resources to faculty and students, and extending our library instruction program beyond the classes we currently teach." - MaryAnn Niles, Team MCC

Structural details


Increase the value of the library to our core constituents
Increase the awareness of library services and resources among faculty and students
Increase the use of library materials and eResources
Increase the percentage of students in English Comp. classes who receive instruction over the past year
Increase the number of students requesting research consultations with librarians


MCC faculty
MCC students


Circulation Statistics
Usage Statistics on eResources
% of English Comp. 101 sections that included library instruction
# of courses in disciplines outside of English that included library instruction
# of personal research consultations provided
# of attendees at research clinics
Faculty feedback
Student feedback

Middlesex Community College
591 Springs Road  Bldg. #1
Bedford, MA  01730-1120

33 Kearney Square
Lowell, MA  01852-1901

Logo for Middlesex Community College Library. At the bottom is the MCC logo, blue background with white letters saying
Photo of the MCC Library pop up table top display. A small round table holds a tablet computer set to the library website, a number of information handouts, four books (not easily distinguishable. There is:
Two people on the left, talk to two peole on the right. Between and behind them is the Library Pop Up. To the left is a person with short hair and a dark complexion, wearing glasses, turned away from the camera, so we only see a side view. The person is wearing a white sweater and has a backpack on. There is bright light streaming through an unseen window on the right, bleaching out some of the imagery. Left of center is a woman with long reddish blond hair hanging freely past her shoulders. She is wearing a grey top and dark pants. Right of center is a man with a white baseball cap, hoodie, and a jacket. His sleeves are pushed up and he appears to be gesturing whiole he talks. He has a short beard and looks a bit amused. His pants are dark. Furthese left is a man with a red baseball cap, white ear budes, a dark complexion, a red hoodie and a backpack. He appears to be talking.
Two female librarians stand on either side of the Pop Up Library. On the left is a white woman with her hair pulled back, wearing glasses and smiling. She has a patterned dress, a grey cardigan, black tights and brown boots. The woman on the right is white, with long reddish-blond hair, freely falling past her shoulders. She is wearing a red shirt, a black sweater, black pants, and possibly sneakers (her feet are in shadow). Between them is the Pop Up Library display. A three panel stand up presentation board reads

Communications strategies

Faculty Advisory Board – The library director, along with the library coordinator from each campus will establish a faculty advisory board with faculty from each of the major disciplines on campus who are participating in our information literacy instruction program to share ideas and suggestions about possible improvements and to discuss ways to make their participation and value of this service more “visible” to the other faculty in their area.
Drive-by Information Table – The college has seven college-wide faculty/staff governance meetings throughout the academic year where many of the faculty are in attendance. Each of the seven librarians will choose one meeting to set up and staff a table outside the meeting room to showcase a different resource or service that we provide. Goodies will be available as a lure. The topics to be addressed will include an update on our OER program, current ebook content, and the streaming video service, and others.
Personal librarian – Each of the six public services librarians will participate in a program of outreach to both full time and adjunct faculty with a series of targeted emails to be sent at key times throughout the semester to establish a personal connection to the library and to showcase ways in which librarians can support student success.
Infographics (and more) – Before the start of each of the college-wide faculty/staff meetings, there is a continuous loop of informational slides being projected as people arrive. For each of these meetings, the librarians on the marketing team will produce an info graphic about the library, or a series of slides with quiz questions and answers similar to what is done in movie theaters.
Survey faculty – We will develop one or more brief survey tools to solicit faculty feedback in the areas of resources, services, and instruction.

Pop-up librarian – Develop a mobile library cart that librarians use to visit locations across both campuses to assist students with research at the point of need, and provide information about library resources and services.
Adult Student Event – Host an event for students who are returning to college after a gap in attendance or enrolling for the first time after years away from the educational setting.
Research “Clinics” – Collaborate with faculty to organize and promote group sessions outside of regular class times offering research help at times of the semester when research assignments are coming due.
Library Info Sheet – Use infographics about our library to produce a simple one-page sheet that offers a clear, standardized message that can be used as part of the student orientation package, on bulletin boards across campus, and at other college offices as a reminder about the library.
Survey students – We will develop one or more brief survey tools to solicit student feedback in the areas of resources, services, and instruction.

And so, how'd it go?

We have had varying degrees of success with our long list of projects. There are some projects that we have not been able to tackle just yet, such as the student survey and adult student events, but hope to do in the future. Others we tried, but they have not yet produced the results we were hoping for. This includes the research clinics and faculty advisory board. We plan to continue to brainstorm ways to modify and/or re-evaluate our approach to these projects. 

The pop-up librarian project has varied in its success, but we have learned important lessons about timing and placement that will help us as the initiative continues to evolve. The personal librarian outreach is probably our most successful initiative so far. It has helped to foster relationships and engage communication between our librarians and faculty members of all disciplines. We have been able to connect with our faculty members in a way that was previously not happening. All of our projects include long term planning and perseverance, so it will take some time before we can fully show the effects of the initiatives.

And how will you keep the momentum going?

We plan to continue on with the projects that have already proven to be helpful, building on the successes we have already had. We also plan to revisit and re-evaluate the initiatives that were not so successful, so we can see if we should try approaching the idea in a different way.

And can you talk a little about setbacks, adjustments or lessons learned?

One of the big lessons we learned is that in an academic setting, things often take longer than expected. Some of our projects have required approval or input from people outside of the library staff, so those projects took longer to get off the ground than we had anticipated. We also have to be aware of, and work around, the schedules of our faculty members, which vary throughout the year.

Repetition has also proven to be an important tool for us. The personal librarian and pop-up librarian initiatives both took time, repeated efforts, and modifications before they started to be truly effective. We expect these will continue to evolve as time goes on. Perseverance and the ability to shake off the not so successful projects has helped us to propel forward as we continue to develop new ideas and methods of outreach.