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Great Stuff – EPL Makes It Personal!

Edmonton Public Library
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Innovation Summary

We have great stuff, and we want to share! In 2013, we launched our Great Stuff Crew, a fun and creative way to help share our great stuff and our staff expertise with our customers under the message “we read, we listen, we watch, we game and we share.”

Problem Statement

EPL has great stuff – we’ve got over 6.5 million items available to borrow. But how do customers sift through this content to find what’s trendy, discover unexpected gems, and learn about our amazing stuff? Through the Great Stuff Crew initiative, we share our passion about our stuff, and help customers find timely, unique and surprising content. Capitalizing on the personality and knowledge of nine staff members, we’re helping customers find great books, music, movies and games they may not know about. No shy library staff here! And we’re doing it in new ways – through media interviews, local events (e.g. Nerd Nite), partnerships (e.g. Breakfast TV, Downtown Business Association), video clips, individual Great Stuff Crew member tweets, and booklists with just a bit of an edge. Sharing great stuff is everybody’s job and passion at EPL, and the Great Stuff initiative gives all staff members the opportunity to display their own personal staff picks to promote our incredible content.

Innovation

Meet Diego, Jeremy, Nancy, Julie, Amanda, Jonathan, Jey, Lindy, Sean and Mandy! These nine EPL staff members answered our casting call and successfully auditioned to be members of the Great Stuff Crew, with the mandate to be our featured content promoters – for fiction, non-fiction, film, music, storytime reads, games, and more. They’re a fun and creative group who share relevant, cool and unique content around trending, timely topics. They make relevant, interesting, and personal recommendations about stuff they find, quirky, enlightening, and enjoyable. These nine personalities are featured on our website, in branch displays, and through mainstream and social media. They’ve made TV appearances, been interviewed by local radio, and have growing followers on Twitter. Already, the Great Stuff Crew have been the perpetrators of entertaining and unexpected lists of materials – including lists created for Edmonton’s new mayor (“Ten Books Don Iveson Should Read in Office”) and for the Downtown Business Association (“It’s Not Just Green Eggs and Ham – A Tasting Menu from EPL”). Quarterly and weekly Great Stuff lists are posted on the EPL website and shared through social media. While the Great Stuff Crew members are the “face” of EPL in promoting our great stuff, we’ve also developed a local approach to staff picks that allows the unique personalities and recommendations of all staff to be highlighted and shared. Every staff member (from front-line to administrative staff) plays a role in our content promotion initiative. Through personalized Staff Picks stickers, marketing materials, and in-branch dedicated displays, we’re getting the word out about our great stuff.

Progress

The key objectives of the Great Stuff Crew are:

  1. to promote EPL’s collection;
  2. to generate excitement and awareness through various marketing channels; and
  3. to encourage customers to see EPL as a trusted source for expert advice around interesting, timely and relevant content, and to increase the use of EPL’s content.

Anticipated outcomes include increased circulation/holds of featured items, public awareness (assessed through quantitative measures, such as social media tracking, and quantitative measures, such as feedback from the public, and invitations from organizations to create lists), and media coverage generating public awareness of EPL’s great stuff. In keeping with our fun and fresh brand, we also want to put a personalized and unique face on library staff.