When asked about the Learning Commons marketing slogan, ‘Share the Commons Experience,’ librarian Coleen Martin explains: “A Commons Experience refers to something that is accessible and identifiable to everyone. It’s a fun play on words thought up by one of our creative librarians.” Martin goes on to say that the catch phrase is meant to illustrate how the Library, through its current physical renovation as well as its ongoing technological advancements, continues to integrate and make available an ever-growing list of academic support services and resources. “Establishing a Learning Commons at the Library launches a unique academic partnership with our campus community,” adds Martin, Coordinator of Outreach Services at the Oviatt Library, “and sharing the experience seemed to be a natural progression of the theme.”
Once the conversation is started, it immediately becomes clear that the Share the Commons Experience campaign is aimed at communicating much more than just the acquisition of some comfortable new furniture and a much-needed proliferation of electrical outlets. The Learning Commons space is representative of much more than merely an updated visual aesthetic. The Library will be aligning with other campus programs in an effort to facilitate further student collaboration. Resources and services within the Commons also will address the growth of internet-based research and instruction that continues to evolve through a variety of information media and outlets. The Commons will house flexible technology-enhanced study spaces, provide more laptop checkout, include digital signage, and even feature a Freudian Sip café. In addition, the Oviatt will be partnering with the Learning Resource Center with the move of that unit to the Library’s third floor.
According to Martin, “Communicating all of these exciting changes with a comprehensive marketing strategy is essential in order to reach a wide variety of Library users.” The marketing campaign targets all of the Library's major stakeholders: students, staff, faculty, and community members. A myriad of communication strategies have been employed in an effort to reach these users in a variety of media. “For instance, during the months of April and May,” Martin explains, “we utilized banners, lawn signs, posters and fliers around campus to communicate the addition of the Commons.” The ongoing campaign also has used social media: blogging, Facebook and Twitter. In addition to the print and social media aspects of the campaign, librarians continue to give presentations and to speak with campus faculty and student groups about the physical changes and the Library’s additional programing. Advertisements have been placed in the Daily Sundial, and promotional booths have been set up on campus in an attempt to reach as many campus and community members as possible.
Marketing the Library’s transformation will continue over the summer and fall; it is hoped that the ongoing campaign will bring more opportunities for student, faculty and community interaction as the start of a new academic year approaches. The Share message will appear on Freudian Sip coffee sleeves; new Twitter and Facebook campaigns will be launched; and one of the Library vendors, Sage Publications, has donated a Samsung Tab 2 mini tablet that will be given away to help generate excitement and support for the Learning Commons project. In addition to raising awareness about the many changes occurring within the Library, the Share the Commons campaign clearly expresses the spirit of the Library’s continuing mission and core values, and also helps to communicate vital information about the ever-expanding resources and services available at the Oviatt. Through all of this innovation and transformation, however, the Oviatt of course will continue to provide assistance from a dedicated and knowledgeable staff, as well as research support from a stellar team of dedicated librarians offering consultation, instruction and collaboration -- all available to be shared, along with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
For additional information about the Oviatt Library Learning Commons, please visit the website and blog at http://library.csun.edu/transformation.