Following an invitation by members of the BBC Club London, my Marylebone Library colleague and I joined them at lunchtime on a stall set up outside the main entrance, to catch passing trade to and from the building.
In addition to the Club promoting their own services, we were engaged in a two pronged attack: firstly to publicise the existence of Marylebone Library and its resources including events, and secondly to alert people to the existence of online 24/7 services available to library members, including e-books and periodicals, online reference resources such as the various newspaper databases, and for a music loving enquirer the Naxos Music Library.
Our two hour slot resulted in 27 new library members, with several others planning to join online or by visiting a library. A number of people were surprised that they could access library resources remotely and the fact that they were allowed to join despite not being local residents. These misconceptions can only be dispelled from outreach events such as this. We even had an enquiry from two tourists seeking the location of a nearby Indian restaurant. Mulugeta directed the grateful pair.
The event was enlivened by the arrival of a falconer who brought his hawk to discourage pigeons from roosting on ledges of Broadcasting House. The bird flew around the entrance area a few meters above our heads. At the end of the session we were asked if Marylebone Library would like to return another time. As this promotion was a success even after we had only talked to a tiny proportion of the thousands of BBC employees who passed by, we’ll jump at the chance to reach more potential members!