|Not a Dum-Dum!|
Part of BHL is currently housed in the Smithsonian’s National Museum in Natural History, so on Monday March 4, I purposefully strode through it’s grand doors to begin my weeklong project on creating social media campaigns that would cast a wider net and draw more people to the amazing content that the Biodiversity Heritage Library has online.
My project involved a dual approach – I would work on both a sustainable workflow that made sense for the BHL staff to actively utilize and continue after my departure, as well as a list of topics that had the potential to pique the interest of lots of people and also had relevant content in BHL. I began with an environmental scan to understand how other peer institutions were engaging audiences on social media, as well as locating storytelling best practices and effective marketing tools for BHL’s ready reference later. Then came the bulk of the project: establishing the workflow and generating campaign ideas.
After looking at several options, my project mentors and I decided on two types of shared documents: a high-level list of campaign ideas that included additional information such as date dependencies (for example, if the campaign was tied to a commemorative month, such as the recent Women’s History Month campaign). Each of the campaigns listed in that document would also link to a much more detailed campaign file that would hold resources – factoids, links to BHL images, peer organizations, hashtags, relevant Facebook pages, etc. – to assist in creating content for the campaign itself. The remainder of my time was spent fleshing out one of the campaigns, but I won’t spoil the surprise – you’ll just have to wait to read it!
Bianca also treated me to a phenomenal last day fit for every (future) librarian: a visit to the Library of Congress for a lecture by the director of the Bibliotheca Alexandria, Ismail Serageldin – a truly gifted speaker and inspiration to all librarians (and in my opinion, all educators in general). We followed this with a visit to the US Copyright Office to doublecheck the copyright status of a work that was likely going to be digitized and added to the BHL online collection. This was truly a revelation for me since the copyright claims before 1978 have not been digitized yet, so we sought our claimants amidst rooms of card catalogs.
|"Snowquester" but where's the snow?|
The most rewarding aspect of my time at BHL is undoubtedly seeing how people far and wide use these collections in ways the original creators could never have anticipated: in art, historical analysis, biodiversity research, and climate change tracking. If my efforts over Alternative Spring Break can lead even one additional person to BHL’s content where they may not have known about it before, that’ll make for a pretty thrilled (future) librarian.
-Irina Zeylikovich @sfobound