In August 2023, library software company Springshare acquired Patron Point, which offers a full-service marketing automation platform to public libraries. Patron Point became an independent brand within the Springshare company and retained its management team. In the press release announcing the transaction, Springshare promised to “invest significant resources to enhance the Patron Point platform and expand the Patron Point staff to help the company continue excelling and impressing their customers.” Not quite 6 months later, Springshare is delivering on that goal by creating a dedicated group, the Public Library Division, led by Patron Point’s former CEO Ian Downie.
Downie, whose title is now president of the division, states in the press release, “Our dedicated public library initiatives in the coming months and years will further differentiate Springshare as the leading software and services vendor to many thousands of public libraries around the globe.” These initiatives include the launch of a public library-focused newsletter, a new public library aspect of the SpringyCamp user conference, and more training sessions and product features specific to public libraries.
The Public Library Division is being staffed by Springshare and Patron Point employees at first, but Downie says via email that the team is also recruiting new talent as it grows. The first new hire was Jake Klem, who spent more than 8 years at Bibliotheca and is now the division’s business development director. Downie asserts, “The combination of the teams from Springshare and Patron Point presents an exciting opportunity to cross fertilize ideas and gives our mutual customers a chance to input into the direction of our platform integrations.”
Public library customers are encouraged to sign up for the monthly newsletter, which has a public library option under Institution Type that subscribers can choose. Downie says via email that Springshare newsletters combine content from its own team as well as customers, and the public library-focused publication will be no different. “Subscribers should expect to see announcements about webinar offerings from our team and guest contributors, conference appearances, and product updates and new features. We also love to include tips and tricks for our products, especially ideas that come directly from our users,” he says. “As an example, we might share a ‘staff picks’ LibGuide that uses great images and formatting.” Downie also hopes to use the newsletter to share “interviews and use cases about how public librarians are using our products in innovative ways.”
SpringyCamp 2024 is adding a Public Library Edition in the fall, when all of the presentations will be for and by public library staffers. (Hot tip: Visit that link to participate in a survey about the 2024 conference and be entered to win a prize.) The SpringyCamp to be held in July is still geared to academic, special, and other libraries, but attendees at the Oct. 1, 2024, event will be the first to join the Public Library Edition. Downie says via email that he’s especially looking forward to Patron Point users’ contributions this year because “they’re doing some amazing things with email marketing and engagement that will make for some really interesting presentations.”
In addition to Springshare users’ discussions, Springshare staffers will be hosting two special presentations. “It is our tradition to include spooky library stories, presented by a very charismatic member of the Springy staff,” Downie shares via email. “We always include a few sneak peeks and behind the scenes demos of our products. Last year we did a roadmap of new features for the year and it was an attendee favorite!”
TRAINING SESSIONS AND PRODUCT FEATURES
Springshare notes on its blog that the live training sessions the company offers will be expanded with public library-specific topics. New product demos are being scheduled that feature public library use cases, so public libraries should periodically check the demo calendar for upcoming relevant events.
Via email, Downie provides a sneak peek of what the company is working on: “One of the things that we are really excited about is the opportunity to tightly integrate the Springhare tools with Patron Point—for example, leveraging the marketing automation concepts that Patron Point brings tied in with event promotion and feedback with LibCal.” This will give “customers a uniquely powerful way to engage patrons, drive attendance and provide a feedback loop via surveys—all within the same ecosystem.”