National Medical Librarians Month (NMLM)
Promotional Tip Sheet
- Use the season to promote your event. Host a Halloween or autumn-themed
event. Create a computer banner in autumn or Halloween colors, using
this year's NMLM theme, "Need healthcare information? We've got everything
under the sun." Visit your local party store for decorations and
seasonal treats. Play off of this year's theme by incorporating a western
feel to your celebration. Attach information about your library or a
particular service you provide to the goodies.
If you work in a hospital library, insert a "free
information" coupon into patient admission packets with the help
of your hospital's admissions office like the staff of the Community
Health Education Center, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System.
The staff color-coded the coupons for inpatients and outpatients.
Change individual and general library voice mail greetings
to begin with “October is National Medical Librarians Month” or "Happy
National Medical Librarians Month."
- Invite your institution's staff to your library for an open house.
The open house can be held all day long or during specific times. Offer
refreshments, tours of the library, computer demonstrations, welcome
or parting gifts, scavenger hunts, or a raffle.
Distribute a flyer with Internet search tips. You
could also include a list of Websites that may be of interest to patients
or the general public (e.g., PubMed). As always, direct users to your
library for more information.
- Follow the lead of the staff at the National Electronic Library for
Health, Birmingham, UK, who used their institution's internal mail system
to send all departments an attractive brochure about the library.
- Updated your library's Website or created a new one? Publicize your
efforts with a flyer or brochure or open house event at your library.
Send an email to the faculty or staff at your institution directing
them to your site.
- Host a surefire crowd-getter: a book fair. Invite patrons to a book
fair in honor of NMLM. Give away duplicate and older editions of books
the library no longer needs.
- Have Halloween treats waiting for your patrons during your library's
"fine free week" in honor of NMLM. This will invite patrons
into the library and allow you to recover long-overdue books.
- Create an attractively designed "Did you know…" flyer about your library.
Distribute the flyer throughout your institution or attach them to goodie
bags filled with treats like the staff at the Virginia Funkhouser Health
Sciences Library, previous winners of the Creative Promotions Award
In your library's newsletter, focus a special issue
on your library and staff and the work that you do. Place copies in
your library, clinic, waiting rooms, pharmacy, or a public area glass
display case. Direct the public to the library for more information.
If your library does not have its own newsletter or
pamphlet, create your own one-page, double-sided newsletter or pamphlet
to distribute throughout your institution. Don’t forget to include
your contact information.
- Display a jar of candy on your front desk or in a prominent spot in
your institution with a sign that reads "Information Saves Lives."
Ask patrons to guess the number of pieces of candy in the jar and award
a prize for the closest guess. Place a bookmark or brochure about your
library next to the display. The Southeastern New York Library Resources
Council, Highland, NY made the suggestion in a NMLM calendar for hospital
librarians in the area.
- Continually remind your audiences of your library by creating something
they will use repeatedly like a bookmark or a brochure listing your
library's services, location, and hours. List helpful Websites or tips
on searching for information on your brochure or bookmark. Also, use
the items to promote NMLM or any of your library's upcoming special
- Conduct a tour and then host a continental breakfast or lunch-time
reception in your library. Invite administrators and others to stop
by for coffee. Talk to them about the services you provide and also
about their information needs.
Invite your university or hospital’s public relations
department to your upcoming NMLM events. Let them know that there
will be many photo opportunities for their publications.
- Check with your local paper to see if they have calendar notices for
upcoming events in the community. Find out what the deadline is then
issue a news release or letter in time–usually three to six weeks in
- Write a short article about the library and its staff. Mention your
services and the help you provide to the community. Send the release
and any photos of your library staff at work to your institution's public
relations office or to your local newspaper's features editor.
- Create a display entitled, "Who's Behind the Desk," with photos and
interesting facts about the staff. This will allow patrons to get to
know the library staff and feel more at ease when visiting the library.
- Place a "Suggestions and Comments" bulletin board with Post-it®
notes or paper and pins in high traffic areas in your institution or
library. Invite library patrons to offer their advice or suggestions
for improving the library.
- Continue to bring attention to your library after October by celebrating
other national observances. Hopwood Library/UPMC Shadyside celebrated
National Nutrition Month in March by handing out heart-healthy recipe
cards with their library information on the front.