Marketing Public Library Services in Sierra Leone

IntroductionThe concept of instituting marketing principles to non-profit institutions such as library and information Services is no longer a controversy. Organisations operate in an environment of change. Today we live in a global market for many goods and services in which technology, purchasing power and many factors change on a regular basis. One of the key functions of marketing is to find out how these changes affect clientele’s wants and needs and to develop organisational strategies and plans that will ensure that the library meets these challenges (Dransfield and Needham, 1995). It is therefore not surprising that public librarians are joining the marketing bandwagon. This article explores the marketing activities in the operations of the Sierra Leone Public Library services.Public LibrariesA Public Library is funded wholly and partly from public funds and the use of which is not restricted to any class persons in the community but freely available to all. It is a major agency of enlightenment for adults, providing for children the recorded experiences of others which will help them grow into adults.Usherhood (1981) defined Public Library as an organization established, supported and funded by the community, either through local, regional or national government or through some form of or other community organization. It provides access to knowledge, information and works of imagination through a range of resources and services and equally available to members of the public community regardless of race, nationality, economic and employment status and educational attainment.The Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB)The Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB) was established by Ordinance in June, 1959. The setting up of the Board was envisaged in the Government’s White Paper on Educational Development in 1958 and its functions outlined therein as follows:• To provide a national/public library Service;
• To support and reinforce programmes of adult and fundamental education;
• To provide effective services for children and young adults including requisite services to schools;
• To provide much needed information and references services;
• To provide where needed adequate services for special groups, that is women and girls, language groups.The Central Library is designed to give public services to Freetown and also to function as headquarter of the National/Public Library services and to provide accommodation for a growing collection of book and non-book materials in the country. It does all technical processing of stock for the Regional and Branch Libraries and has an Adult Lending Reference and a Children’s department.Libraries are charged with responsibility to provide information service to support educational, recreation and personal endeavours of the members of their respective communities and the Sierra Leone Library Board is not an exception to that. The following services are provided at the Sierra Leone Library Board to Clientele:Children ServicesThe Sierra Leone Library Board provides information services to children by the provision of books and other materials for children which are often housed in a special section known as the Children’s Library. A special service for children known as child orientated educational programme specially designed for younger library users is included in the children’s library services. They also provide services to children through storytelling, drama/play and reading aloud.Book Borrowing and Lending ServiceThe main task of Sierra Leone Library Board is to provide the public with access to books and periodicals. The Sierra Leone Library Board typically offers access to a variety of books which are available for borrowing by anyone with the appropriate library card.Current Awareness ServiceAt the Sierra Leone Library Board, current awareness service is aimed at bringing to the notice of potential users, newly available documents and information services. This is done by collating information and producing new secondary sources, circulating current periodicals or other documents acquired and producing and distributing one or more forms of bulletins.Selective Dissemination of InformationA more personal information service is being run at the Sierra Leone Library Board in which the library constantly notifies library users about particular information/materials matching them in a profile of the information needs and research pre-occupation of their clientele. This is done by either bringing references to relevant items to the notice of their clients and by obtaining copies and then supply the documents themselves to library users.Outreach ServicesThe Sierra Leone Library Board provides outreach information services which is committed to developing library outreach programmes for non-users, the undeserved, and people with special needs in the communities in restricted areas.Computer and Internet ServicesIn an attempt to bridge the digital divide, information resources and government services are being provided online by the Sierra Leone Library Board. This is done by providing access to the Internet and public computers for users who otherwise would not be able to connect to these services.Library MarketingMarketing is often viewed as a set of strategies and techniques that belongs to administrators outside of librarianship. But, librarians are also involved in the marketing process. The essence of marketing involves finding out users needs and want, then setting out to meet these needs.Marketing according to Weingand (1995) “can be viewed as a process of exchange and a way to foster partnership between the library and its community” (p.296). In order to maintain the relationship between the public library and the community, marketing strategies have to be employed as effective tool.Marketing in the public library means more than simply promotion or selling. It is more concerned about user needs. Marketing the Public Library is a social and managerial process by which products and services as well as values are exchanged in order to fulfill individuals or group needs. Marketing refers to those instruments through which information, both raw and processed, are transmitted to its members. Promotion or campaigning is but two activities in the broader exercise of marketingPlanning Library Marketing ProgrammesThe continued existence of libraries, if not their survivals, may well depend upon the use of marketing and planning strategies, communicated through effective public relations, to significantly alter the perceived role and position of the library in society.In a real sense, Public Relation is the promotion component of a full marketing plan of library programmes. It can be seen as the communicated module which serves the promotion function; conversely, it may be easily depicted as a philosophical relationship between library and community which serves as a guiding light for promotion activities.Both communication and research skills serve well in the marketing planning process of which Public Relations is an important component. Specific skills and knowledge are also needed in marketing planning programs for libraries. It goes without saying that both ongoing marketing planning and programmes, and in particular, how the needs of different groups of users differ from each other. Library and information services are complex entities, as are the human users and potential users of these services.Planning, promotion and campaigning are but all activities in the boarder exercise of marketing. User studies therefore, have a very wide range of uses in relation to the planning of library marketing programmes of a service. They contribute in the planning, promotion and development of library services. In their contribution they help in the understanding of different user group behaviour and their needs, and can assist in effective campaigning and planning process.Three steps to planning library marketing programmes are:• Knowing what your beliefs are and therefore what you want to achieve;
• Communicating these beliefs as practical objectives to the people with whom you work, in order that these objectives can be fulfilled; and
• Creating a vehicle which allows this to happen. This can only be achieved by defining the basic components and through organization.Methods of marketing in Sierra Leone Library BoardBook Displays and ExhibitionsDisplays and exhibitions are widely used in most public libraries as a marketing strategy to sell their products or items. The SLLB displays jackets of new books which are not yet included in the lending department for easy access by users and to increase usage. It is also a means of drawing the attention of users and non-users to particular aspects of library resources and services.Printed materials and PublicationsIn order to make a very good image of the public library and for public librarians to establish better communication between the library and users, publicity programmes are put in place by the management of the Sierra Leone Library Board through news release. The management also considers annual reports and newspapers as basic publicity techniques. Publications such as bibliographies, guides and brochures are used by the library to communicate with the wider public.Public Relations OfficePublic relations according to Usherhood (1981) is concerned with gaining of public support for an activity, cause, movement or institution. It is a process that furthers mental understanding and cooperation between a government; or any organisation and its various publics. The Sierra Leone Library Board has a Public Relations Office charged with the responsibility to enhance a smooth system of communication.User Education/Readers Advisory ServiceThis could be described as training a group of users in the effective use of the library and its resources. It is used to stimulate the users to make greater use of the library and introduces library staff to clientele who might be reluctant to seek their assistance. This is the principal means through which library staff can learn about readers’ needs, opinions and habits. Good communication with readers enables staff to inform and influence readers.The MediaThese involve printed and audio-visual forms of communication and any necessary equipment to render them usable. The Press, radio and television are important means of publicising information service, since they offer potential of reaching many people from all walks of life. The media are cultivated so that messages are distributed with regularity. Publicity mechanism such as news releases, special events and brochures can also be employed.The Social Media Groups (SMG)The Sierra Leone Library Board makes use of the Social media groups such as ‘Facebook’ and ‘Watsapp’ as an effective way for publicity in order to put their messages across to users of their services.Challenges of Marketing Library and Information Services at the SLLBA lot of challenges have militated against the effective planning and implementation of library marketing programs at SLLB. The following are some of the challenges:• Inadequate Staff: Although staff numbers have been maintained, the ratio of professional staff is very low. The library is manned mostly by paraprofessionals who mostly lack the skills to plan and implement marketing programmes.• Finance: The library depends heavily on government subsidy. The government has no specific or substantial funds for the running of the library thus the library administration has to foot most of the bills that have to do with marketing. The irregular flow of funds has served as a barrier to the progress of marketing library and information services at the SLLB.• Lack of standard printed materials and publications: The SLLB lacks most standard printed materials and publications due to poor planning of marketing programmes. This negligence has made the library handicapped of public relations tools in the form of printed materials and publications such as newsletters, questionnaires, diaries and calendars.• Displays are improper and exhibitions seem almost absent: The library depends mostly on donations and most of the books are acquired without jackets. Therefore displaying book jackets in inconsistent. In fact exhibition programmes are yet to survive as they are only recently introduced. The library lacks relevant display and exhibition materials to mount these activities.• Inability to organize frequent Radio Programs: The SLLB lacks media communication facilities. The library cannot frequently organise radio programmes on its own because of lack of funds. The absence of radio programmes stands out as an acute problem to the progress of marketing programs in the library.Conclusively, marketing is the instrument that libraries use to transform their aims and objectives into operational plans of action. In most developing countries’ public libraries such as the SLLB, marketing strategies cannot operate properly due to the existence of bottlenecks in planning programmes. Good marketing programmes actualise the plans and measures necessary for the achievement of goals and objectives.

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How to Know If You Have What it Takes to Be a Home Based Business Owner Answer These 7 Questions

Do you have a home based business or want to start a home based business? Who wouldn’t want to have large amounts of cash pouring in to their bank account from their home office? Who wouldn’t want thousand of loyal customers, to sell products and services to, from the convenience of their home? Who wouldn’t want more time with their family?This is the joy of having and operating a home based business. There are literally thousands and thousands of people who make money at home and have the quality of life you are looking for. What does it take to be successful at your home based business? Are you the type of person who is ready for a home based business venture? If you are working a job right now and want to transition into having a home based business or if you want to improve your current home base business what does it take?Answer these 7 questions and grade yourself on how you are doing right now. These questions are about how you can improve your business output. Grade yourself on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being the highest) Be as honest as you can it will help you become more successful with your home based business aspirations. Get your paper and pen and let’s begin.Do you have a big vision?
I have a big vision that drives and keeps me excited about my home based business. I am very excited all the time about my vision and my business. I have written my big vision on paper where I can see it. I know why I work my home based business and I know who it will benefit when I am as successful and produce my vision. Grade yourself 1 to 10Do you have a big business community network that you work with?
I understand that my network = my net worth. I have a lot of business colleagues that I work with on a daily basis. We utilize and share information so that we can, find untapped markets, open new territories, bring in new customers over night and generate website traffic and share profits. We do not need the help of a bank loan or line of credit to run our home based business. We utilize joint venture strategies to help us all succeed as entrepreneurs. I don’t feel as if I work alone, I am part of a community of entrepreneurs who work together. Grade yourself 1 to 10Do you have strong self-command?
I do not let any news or challenges stop me from my home based business goals. No one has command over my feelings but me. I tell myself uplifting inspiring thoughts about my ability to run a business from my home everyday. I focus only on the out come I want for me and my family. I spend part of everyday visualizing my big vision and my end results. I follow through on what I say I am going to do that day. Grade yourself 1-10Do you have a place you can go to get new customers or clients?
When I need new clients I utilize my business community network and am introduced to someone who has a big data base, full of thousands of customer, who is looking for a new product to market to that data base. We create a joint venture and I provide that new product. I receive new clients as well as splitting the profits between myself and my business colleague. I joint venture twice a month so that I build my home base business quickly. Grade yourself 1 to 10Are you a possibility thinker?
I do not spend time worrying, complaining or fearing about what to do with my home base business. I take action. I am a solution seeker. When I run up against an unknown problem I will explore options and implement those tools and solutions that will catalyze my home base business dreams. I do not indulge in limited negative thinking. I do not let other use lack, limited or negative thinking around me either. I am open to all possibilities and solutions. Grade yourself 1 to 10Are you organized with your day?
I make a list of what I need to get done for the next day, the night before. I work a schedule just as I would if I were an employee, whether I work full time or part time at my home based business. I make my hourly schedule of when I will work and I stick to it. I know where all my files, papers and tools I will need are. I work effectively during the hours I set aside to work my home based business. I work at the things that will generate cash for me and my family.Do you utilize marketing strategies that are low cost and effective?
I run my home based business lean and mean. I do not use my resources to buy unnecessary marketing or advertising products when I can joint venture instead. I keep my costs down and my profits high. I know how to get supper affiliates to sell my product at no cost. I know how to optimize the referral market. I do not pay for leads or buy lists hoping to find clients. Grade yourself 1 to 10The lowest score is a 7 the highest is a 70. You can see by the score and number where you need to improve your home based business skill sets. If you are starting your home based business or scored in the 7 to 55 range you may want to improve your business by learning about what a joint venture is and how you can explode your home based business sales using that tool.Here is my last challenge to you. Give this test to your spouse and ask them to grade you without any reprisal from you. Then together you are on the same page and can explode your home base business dreams together. Sometimes just finding better solutions can help your home based business thrive.

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Here’s Why You Need to Charge Your Electric Vehicle At Home

It is no wonder BMW is at the forefront in making both stylish and functional vehicles that never compromise safety. Charging your electric vehicle with a home charging station has more benefits compared to public charging stations. With BMW’s electric model ranges, you will experience an entirely new driving experience. No feeling is better than gliding silently through urban and rural traffics. All of this is free of fumes and harmful emissions that impact the planet. Going electric with BMW is one of the best things you can do for you.

While BMW iX3 Charging Station is available in many places and shopping malls in Australia, it is a good idea to invest in home BMW charger as it offers a plethora of benefits. In fact, charging your electric car with a home charging station has benefits compared with public charging stations.

Here’s why you need to install BMW home charging station:-

Save money

Instead of buying battery power from a third-party source every time you need to charge your BMW, it is a good idea to pay a flat fee for a residential BMW charging station and have unlimited energy from the same source that keeps your house warm and other electric appliances running. Of course, you would see a spike in electricity bill. But, you’ll save money by saving yourself from frequent trips to the public station and paying for recharging your car. Home charging stations pay for themselves in the long run.

Finding your home charger is affordable too. There are many electric vehicles charging station providers in Australia from whom you can buy and rely on them for support. There are three different types of home chargers, including level 1, level 2, and level 3. Based on the type of charger you buy, the cost will be anywhere between $300 and $2000.

Convenient

On average, it takes anywhere from four to six hours to fully charge your BMW with a level 2 charger. Let’s imagine that you need to drive 50miles to attend a meeting and your EV is running low on battery. If you have to wait the whole night, take your vehicle to the nearby charging station, recharge, and then drive. Wouldn’t that consume your productive hours? The same scenario is much more manageable if you have the home charger installed. All you need to do is, plug the car in and go to sleep. By the time you wake up, you’ll have a fully charged BMW ready for the drive.

Safe

Charging at home is much safer than public charging stations for a range of reasons, including the safety of you and your vehicle. You’ll have to wait for a long time in the public charging stations to charge your EV, and there’s no safety, especially if you are in the middle of high way.

As you see, they’re less expensive, more convenient and completely safe as long as it is installed properly.

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