One of the Duke University Libraries’ main methods of outreach to first-year students is its Residence Hall Librarian program (RHL), where each freshman dormitory is paired with a research librarian. In addition to attending in-dorm events, librarians send out a monthly email with library events, services, and tips to help students transition to doing academic research. Since the program’s start in 2011, these messages had been sent out using Mail Merge in Microsoft Outlook. Based on feedback from student surveys and focus groups, the RHL program switched to using an email marketing platform, iContact, to communicate with students at the start of the 2018-19 academic year. This change has been a vast improvement in several ways. This new platform allows the libraries to create more visually appealing emails, moving away from blocks of text to eye-catching library-branded templates. It also streamlines the process of sending out emails from fifteen different librarians, ensuring all messages are sent out in the same optimal time frame. Using this platform allows the library to collect an array of usage statistics for assessment purposes, including what percentage of students open emails, what they click on, and what type of devices students use to view the email. This poster will include comparison images of the emails along with usage statistics and data from an end-of-year student survey. Tips and best practices for email marketing of personal librarian programs will be discussed.
Ira King– Evening Reference Librarian/Librarian for Disability Studies, Duke University Libraries