Well this is an interesting debate. Someone is always predicting the end of something. Of course, we wish it was that easy. Things rarely end easily and simply. we usually go through a period where the old and the new exist for an indeterminate length of time. Indeed, we still have dial phones in North America! So e-mail will continue to exist for a long time. Then again, in libraries, we certainly can’t depend on every patron/user/cardholder/etc. to have an e-mail address or to check it often enough that it is a good means to communicate with them. Therein lies the challenge.
So libraries have some commnuication chalenges. It’s not just about overdues (lordy, if we could only get over that challenge!). We need to get better at communicating our programming and inititaives. We ned to promote our virtual services better. We need to influence funders and donors and voters as well.
So now, we need to truly understand that mailing addresses and e-mail addresses are not sufficient. We need to have a matrix of communication methodologies including Twitter followers and hashtags, Facebook fans and friends, cel phone numbers for texting, IM and SMS services, and more.
It seems that this is a real challenge for us to upgrade our communication strategies and implement a more refined approach whereby we inform and influence effectively.
I’ll be speaking a the ALA PR Forum on Sunday from 8-10 am and exploring a number of these issues. Join us.