Get to Know….Brian McCann and His Promotional Posters and Strategies for Black & Veatch

One of the most popular presentations at the SLA 2017 Annual Conference was co-presented by Brian McCann and Eryn Campbell: They Don’t Know We’re Here: Promoting Your Library and Performing In-House Outreach. Brian McCann generously shared some of the promotional materials he uses at Black & Veatch with the Embedded Librarians Caucus, and chatted with us about his promotional strategies.

Promotional Materials

Brian put up the Mango Pirate Language course posters to promote an outreach event at Black & Veatch. Mango made the poster for them digitally (and would have included their company’s branding if Brian had asked) and it was printed in-house. Brian uses the Spotlight flyer template (designed by in-house designers) to promote a monthly event highlighting specific library resources. He passes it out the flyer and shares a pdf version on the company intranet and other internal locations.

Interview with Brian McCann:

Embedded Librarians Caucus: What is your job title?

Brian McCann: Just Librarian. There are only four of us so we don’t use specialized titles.

ELC: Where do you work and how long have you worked there?

BM: I’m entering my 4th year at Black & Veatch, an engineering firm that works with infrastructure projects like power, water treatment, and telecom. We have about 12,000 employees and 100 offices around the world.

ELC: What are your main job duties?

BM: I’m sort of the tech and communications guy at our library. I redesigned and maintain our intranet site on SharePoint, standardize written messages and branding, monitor user experience, generate usage reports, create promotional material and ‘pathfinder’ type things, share on the internal social media platform, and try to generally keep a finger on the pulse of the engineering and library industries.

ELC: What made you decide to use the promotional posters?

BM: Lots of studies show how receptive people are to visual information. We used worded posts on our company’s intranet and our internal social media platform, too, but I wanted to make sure we had something visual that our people could anchor to. In the case of the Spotlight flyers, it helps to have something to physically put into people’s hands, or that they can print out and share with a colleague if they need to. I modified the Spotlight flyer into a table tent version, too, that we place on cafeteria tables and in the break rooms.

ELC: Where did you put up and post these posters? Did you have to get anyone’s permission?

BM: Our promotion of Mango became the template for a new program for us, which we call Spotlight. Every month we have a different one of our vendors or databases send a rep or two over here with goodies to put on a basic exhibition-type table in our cafeteria and also do a webinar with us that people can tune in for or watch a recording of later. That first time with Mango, I had the poster at the library entrance for 2 weeks in advance to notify foot traffic. We moved it to the exhibition table on the day of the event. The only permission we needed to get was for an easel to hold the poster during our event, but we included that with our request for a table to use. As always, the maintenance crew is your friend!

It seemed a shame to waste the poster after the event was finished, so it now hangs behind my desk and adds a degree of flare to the library.

ELC: What impact have these posters had?

BM: They drew a lot of attention for our event and, as we continue to use and save new ones, they provide visual touchstones for our users to see what sort of resources we have available.

ELC: What advice would you give to new librarians?

BM: Be bold and make as many contacts as you can right from the start. I recommend “Coffee Lunch Coffee” by Alana Muller as an intro to making a network. As for promotions, think outside the box. I work for an engineering firm so the library hosts an open house with coffee and donuts during National Engineers Week (which is totally a thing). Use “Chase’s Calendar of Events” (from your public library) to find holidays and weird events that might resonate with your users. It will show that you follow trends and get you into their mindset as something other than just a book room.

End of interview

Thank you Brian!

 

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