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New Canaan Library Focuses on Webpage Advertising

Recent studies have shown that teenagers 13-17 years old spend on average more than two hours on the Internet per day. With the amount of daily web surfing amongst teens across America increasing significantly, it is no surprise that more and more libraries are expanding their online educational databases to catch young adults where they are and provide them with resources to further their academic goals.

As librarians are adding more programs to their library's suite of online tools, they are quickly realizing the importance of website design and advertising to boost online database enrollments. It is no longer enough to just add a new program to a long list of links on the "Research" page. Multiple links placed prominently across a library's webpage and designed with targeted selling points can mean the difference between 1-5 users per month and 40-50 users per month.

Citing this new trend in library promotions, Phebe Kirkham, the Head of Reference at New Canaan Library, has focused her library's promotional efforts on strategic placement of the link on their website to their library's subscription to PrepMe. "We have placed the link on our Teens page, our Homework page, and even our blog page. Adding the link to prominent positions on our webpage has driven results," said Phebe.

Not only has New Canaan's staff thought about the location of their links, but they have also considered how to make their links more contextually-relevant and targeted. Instead of simply adding PrepMe to their library's list of research databases, Phebe and her team created a Homework Center category under the Research section to highlight the PrepMe link and specifically target teen patrons. The staff also created a teen-centric library blog which offers bulletin posts about PrepMe and other helpful online resources for their young adult patrons.

Moreover, Phebe and her staff frequently update links and descriptions to their library's programs to ensure patrons stay abreast of changes and new offerings. Phebe mentioned: "Last year, after receiving a bunch of requests from parents for ACT prep, we added the ACT program to our PrepMe subscription to offer our patrons prep for both the SAT and ACT exam. Shortly afterwards, our web team was quick to revise our webpage and emphasize the upgrade." All of these efforts appear to be working well as the library continues to rank in the top five for highest total number of users across PrepMe's partnering libraries in Connecticut. Best of all, patrons are realizing the benefits of the program, as Phebe pointed out, "The response from patrons has been very good. They're very excited."

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