Friday, June 6, 2008

Trust, Public Libraries

I really should round up some research on this (or the great library blog reading community could contribute ideas, if you have them) but my gut tells me that the business community trusts the library. Not just to do research and return reasonable results to their questions, but also in sharing information with us.

Case in point: Just yesterday I was doing some research for a local banker who wanted to know what the competition was offering in terms of "analysis" or "analyzed" business banking accounts. She only wanted the information from four other institutions so I told her I would call around on her behalf. When I called up the competing banks and told them that I was doing research for a patron and needed to know the fee structure for their analyzed accounts, they were more than willing to help out. I think that if I had called and said something like "Hi. I'm calling from a competitor of yours and I need you to take some time out of your day to do some work for me...", the reception would have been far less congenial.

As a marketing perk, of the four banks that I called, two of the bankers said "So the library does this type of research for patrons? Huh." I replied in the affirmative and encouraged them to contact me with any research they might have on their plates. This equates to powerful, relevant, and immediate exposure that beats any 30 minute presentation on what the library could do for them...

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