Two Legislative Staff Sessions: What Do Legislators Need, and Do Patrons Know What You Can Do?

-by Tracey Van Haaften

On Tuesday afternoon. I attended back-to-back sessions for legislative staff. The first was “Legislators Roundtable: What We Need and Value From Staff,” during which Rep. Barbara W. Ballard, of Kansas, Sen. Curtis S. Bramble of Utah, Sen. Bryan B. King of Arkansas, and Rep. John M. Mizuno of Hawaii shared their thoughts, experiences, and suggestions about working with legislative staff. They all agreed they rely on their staff for facts, honesty, integrity, and professionalism, and that they couldn’t do their job without us. It was both encouraging and informative, and reminded me again how proud I am to serve the Minnesota Legislature as a Librarian.

My second session program was “Building a Brand for Legislative Staff.” Bryant Howe from the Utah Legislature, Steve Miller from the Wisconsin Legislature, and Catherine Wusterhausen from the Texas Legislature presented their ideas and experiences in branding their libraries, both in a design sense (creating a recognizable logo and style guide), and through establishing and building your library’s reputation. What do your patrons think of when they see your logo, when they hear your name? DO they think of you? Does your logo differentiate you from other offices? Does your entire staff know what your service goals are, and work to display them in every transaction? Are outreach and branding objectives built in performance evaluation? These and other questions were a great introduction to thinking about advertising and evaluating your library’s brand identity.

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