Jennifer is the President of IntelliCraft Research, LLC – a strategic marketing and communications consulting firm to libraries, information centers, information professionals and similar nonprofits.
Something I’ve dreamed about the last year or so is that your local library was as well known, well-visited, well-loved (and well-funded?!) as a Chipotle, Amazon, Sam Adams or I Can Haz Cheeseburger. In most cases libraries ARE loved, visited, shared and known – to their loyal community patrons and users. But what about the rest of the community? The local councilmen and women? City, county or state funding sources? The local paper? Nearby schools, senior centers, youth centers or all the bloggers? Your faculty and administration? Stressed out freshmen and seniors? Twitter influencers?
Why aren’t the names or brands of libraries known as commonly as local restaurants, chains, stores or sports teams? What’s missing?
Ironically, the places that house so many of the world’s best stories across so many formats aren’t always doing a great job at telling and sharing their own story. And storytelling is never a lost, forgotten or unnecessary art. We all listen and tune in to stories. Social media is built on sharing stories. Even if only 100 characters at a time.
So, for the last two years I’ve thought, dreamed and worked hard on how to take my special background in marketing, customer service, research and library science and help libraries tell their stories in more powerful, compelling, far-reaching, strategic ways.
I am the rare info pro who speaks ‘marketing-ese’ and ‘library-lingo’ and can translate for each. I don’t want my dreams of library stories spreading far and wide to remain a dream. That’s why I’ve refocused my business on strategic marketing consulting, teaching and training for libraries, info pros and similar nonprofits. I spend nearly all my time thinking, reading and learning about marketing for our digital world and lives – so you don’t have to.
Let me help be your marketing soothsayer, translator, coach and champion
Together we can create marketing plans that work – that are strategic, effective, engaging and compelling. Plans that turn into strategies and tactics that you and your staff can carry out with confidence and results.
Why Me? My Story
I have training and experience in marketing, communications, customer service, market research, academic and business research, as well as in library and information science. In my first career I was an advertising and marketing executive with clients in major consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, transportation, small businesses and web technology before I eventually turned and heeded the call of Library Land.
I started my library studies thinking I would continue in competitive intelligence (which I had done informally throughout my marketing career) but instead was drawn more to reference, information literacy, digital libraries and the overall study of information behaviors. How and why do we search the way we do, for what we look for and how can information centers and resources better meet those needs? After receiving my MSLIS from Drexel this line of questions drew me into an IMLS-funded PhD fellowship and studies. I spent 5+ years at Drexel in courses, work and research on digital libraries, digitized primary source use in education, instructional design and info behaviors of educators. I worked on projects in the archives, answered digital reference questions and was part of the team that brought the IPL (Internet Public Library) to Drexel from the University of Michigan and helped train LIS students on answering questions and building library guides. Whew.
But I wanted my research and efforts to be more concrete, helpful, practical for libraries, rather than theoretical. I didn’t feel the path I was on would make enough difference for libraries. My vision was to help lots of libraries . . .
So, I went rogue. I became a solo info pro
I’m an info-entrepreneur. An independent information professional. A teacher without a formal classroom. I have become a library consultant. And I’m happier than ever, doing work I know I’m meant to do. Now I can truly live my mission of helping libraries to become even better communicators, marketers, and the tellers of their own powerful stories.
And in practicing what I preach and teach, from 2014 through mid 2016 I served on the Board of Directors of AIIP (Association of Independent Information Professionals) as the Director of Marketing. Practicing what I’ve spend so much time researching and studying in order to lead a strategy-first marketing plan and implementation for this organization. We are implementing email marketing, content marketing, social media campaigns, video and other content to support AIIP’s membership needs and tell its stories.
I regularly speak at library and information conferences and am available to give workshops, pre-conference sessions, panel discussions or marketing pep talks. I am or have been a member of ALA, SLA, ASIST, ALISE and AIIP. I try to stay active online, in discussions, on lists, locally and at conferences so that I am aware of all the hot issues facing my library professional peers.
If you’re an independent info pro like myself and find that marketing gives you a headache, web site work causes you to pull your hair out and you aren’t sure what you’d say if you had an email newsletter – contact me for a strategy session. I’ve given headache relief to a number of other info-entrepreneur clients by taking marketing worries off their plates with Done-For-You Marketing services aimed directly at busy solopreneurs. Or maybe you just need to Borrow My Marketing Brain for a quick consult to get back on track.
Jennifer Burke is a Full Member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals, a member of the founding group and core planning committee for the Library Marketing + Communications Conference, as well as being a longtime member of the American Library Association. She has also been a member of SLA (Special Libraries Association), ASIST and ALISE.
Jennifer Burke has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and a master’s degree in library and information science from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. She also spent 5 years in information science-based doctoral coursework and research as a PhD candidate at Drexel University on an IMLS-funded fellowship.
Headshot Photo Courtesy of Brian Miller, Chorus Photography.