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Building Your Own Library Toolbar

EffectiveBrand is a free toolbar creator. And they’re easy to create!
Check out this library toolbar at Lansing Public Library, Ottawa Public Library or Oakville Public Library. Notice the direct marketing of library services in the features listing at Lansing PL. There are dozens of library toolbars already in the gallery at EffectiveBrand (Try searching ‘library’ in the gallery link and you’ll ind a variety.)I’ve been interested in the concept of a custom toolbar for libraries ever since I saw the great one a few years ago at the Harris County Public Library. This is a great way to gain ‘shelfspace’ on yur users’ monitors. You’ll always be there as a presence and service reminding them about the books, but also your events, databases, virtual reference, story hours and more.
You may ask why any library user would choose to download another toolbar to their desktop? I think there are loads of motivating factors to encourage dowloads, it’s all in the marketing. Here are three ideas:
1. Market the toolbar to parents. It’s simple really. They pay the taxes and they care that their kids do well in school. Libraries spend tax money effectively on things that ensure kids do their homework well. The Google toolbar likely maintains a presence in a lot of family browsers. The library toolbar needs that ‘presence’ too, to remind kids to use the cool resources at the library. It’s too easy to forget us when the generic web is ominpresent and has such a wide diversity of content – high/low quality, family safe or not, etc. Libraries are better but we need ways keep us in the users’ faces.
2. Market it to your clubs and offer to search specialized content. Has your library invested in a lot of content in other languages – Spanish, French, whatever? A specialized toolbar really demonstrates your commitment to serving those communities. Have you got a genealogy club and specialized webspages to support them? Build a toolbar for them or a link on your primary toolbar. Same goes for teens, book clubs, reading circles, and more.
3. Share the toolbar with specific partners and community leaders. Can you build a toolbar to highlight the library’s service for small and medium-sized business owners and entrepreneurs? Partner with the Chamber of Commerce on a toolbar. Get them to do the pomotion. How about public library / school library partnerships? Can you build a toolbar together to promote better research skllls?
Your potential is only limited by your imagination and energy!
Got another idea? Leave a comment.

Posted on: July 31, 2006, 12:17 am Category: Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. I have been posting about this on my blog. This is a very valuable and useful service. Why not mention that academic libraries are also doing toolbars using Effective Brand?

  2. You haven’t responded to my previous comment.

  3. Bill: You have. Thanks. Folks will find a bunch of academic, college and school sites using toolbars like these by searching library in the gallery.

  4. Well, guys, we don’t agree. Effective brand is now Conduit. You don’t get a full google search, you get their compromised search. And they slam you with ads….not just in margin or marked clearly as google does, but as first links without very clear indication. Who wants to scroll past ten ads to get to what is hopefully useful info?
    Why not just get software and create your own? It is cheap enough.

  5. I have been developing Mozilla Firefox specific toolbars as portals to more specific information. I have an Engineering Toolbar for instance that is designed to cater to the needs of my Engineering students and faculty. Stephen it is a shame I did not get a chance to speak to you at the SLA Leadership Summit this last week as I was there; oh well missed opportunities.
    You can read more about toolbar development and my experiences with it on my blog: