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Library Blog Toolkit: Overview and purpose

Blog hosting and management

Northwestern University Libraries’ central blog is hosted by NUsites and is accessible at https://sites.northwestern.edu/northwesternlibrary. The Marketing and Communication office is responsible for overall blog administration, but content will be provided by contributors from various groups from across the library. Any library staff member may submit contributions to the blog. All posts are subject to approval by the Marketing and Communication office and may be edited for typos prior to publishing. 

MarCom Team

Clare Roccaforte, Director of Marketing & Communication

Drew Scott. Communication Specialist

Cory Slowik, Department Assistant

General contact: marcom@northwestern.edu

Blog purpose

  • To provide readers with a variety of perspectives of the work being done at the library and the collections, services, and resources available
  • To reveal a human element; to put a face and voice behind the work
  • To highlight library services
  • To make people excited about collections
  • To provide a casual voice for things that can come across as official or stuffy
  • To share stories

Our primary audiences are: faculty and graduate students.

Our secondary audiences are: professional peers, alumni/donors, and campus peers/administrators.

I have an idea! How can I make it happen?

1. Submit story idea and date to MarCom.

Once your idea is approved…

2. Have Marcom post it. Talk to Marcom about your idea. You can provide us the content and we can take it the rest of the way. Good for infrequent users.

3. Post it yourself. We can provide training and support so you can use sites.northwestern.edu to post the blog post yourself. This option is faster and gives you more control over the way the post will look, but requires some more work by you. Good option for frequent users.

Types of posts

News: Are you extending your hours? Did you hire a new staff member? Are you renovating your space?

Compelling new acquisitions: did you just obtain a manuscript or interesting collection? Tell us the story behind it. If it’s a database, use this as an opportunity to provide a short and practical introduction and demo. Don’t forget to provide images and screenshots to help you tell your story.

Service Announcements: if your group is rolling out a new service, use the blog as an opportunity to share how the new service will improve the lives of the users.

Tips and How-tos:  simple, concise outlines of how to do something. Remember your audience. Try creating checklists and step-by-step instructions, and include photos and screenshots throughout. (EX: Quick how-to on citation management software; how to create a poster for your dorm room; how to use rare collections in research project)

Upcoming programing, workshops, or events: spread the word about your upcoming workshops and events. Include all of the important information such as date, location, time, and be sure to explain why someone would want to attend. What’s in it for them?

Reflections on past programs, workshops, or events: Share the photos you took from the event and reflect on the success. This is a great time to ask a student or faculty member who participated to share positive reflections on their experience. Personal stories are important!

Behind the Scenes Sneak Peek: we do some interesting work at the library. Use the blog as a way of providing a “day in the life” look at the work of your department or of individual staff members. Provide focus to your posts by centering on a specific project you’re working on, or a task you regularly complete. (EX: restoration of a specific object, tracking an ILL book from request to delivery, preparing for an exhibit)