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Indiana Library Federation Reference Unconference 2009

August 12, 2009

Last week I presented at the first ILF Reference Unconference, held at Ball State University.  I showed our new Tips4ToughTimes page, which is a list of links to community agencies for people seeking information on unemployment, housing, food assistance and more.  Following is just a short outline of what I talked about:

1. Introduce Tips4ToughTimes

2. We built this page because patrons are constantly asking us for information about unemployment, job listings, applying for food stamps, etc.  Many libraries have a “community resources” page but few create a page directly marketing it as a “tough times” page.

3. Give a short tour of the page.  As you look at this, think about the social services and agencies that you would put on a page in your community.

4. Take a look at how some other libraries have done this.  Examples:

Non-libraries’ sites:

5. Planning your page:

  • Has anyone else in your community already done this? No need to reinvent the wheel
  • Have a timeline
  • Organization of the page
  • Design of page
  • Where will you put it? We have a slide for it which will always be up.  On your site? Google sites or some other?
  • Think about publicity: signage, slide on page, business cards, Twitter, other social networking sites
  • What do you call it?  Needs to have be catchy but not overdramatic or depressing.
  • Get lots of help from your web dev.  I initially did mine as a blog and it was text-heavy and boring.

6. Other issues?

There were some really good suggestions from participants:

  • translate to create Spanish and Burmese versions
  • take paper publicity out into the community: laundromats, grocery stores, etc.

I would like to thank Vincci Kwong and Alison Stankrauff for offering me the opportunity to participate and held plan this conference.

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