Getting the Word Out—Marketing Tips for Librarians

Library Resources | May 12, 2016

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Learn how librarians can market their resources to patrons.

In a technology dominated world where information is just a few key strokes or taps away, librarians are feeling the pressure to keep their libraries in front of patrons, reminding them of the many services and resources that they can’t get just by searching Google. This requires careful thought and a recognition of the need to share and promote a library’s value to the community. And, yes, this means learning how to market.

Some librarians may have a hard time thinking of themselves as marketers, but they may think twice if they consider the definition of marketing.

“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”American Marketing Association

“Delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers…and society at large.” Doesn’t that sound strikingly similar to what libraries already do? By not taking the transactional-sounding “market” part of “marketing” so literally, librarians may see marketing as another tool in helping them accomplish their mission of sharing information that patrons will find valuable. And, for those ready to give it a try, here are three quick tips for getting started.

Learn from other librarians

The web is full of great ideas for helping libraries market, but perhaps the best source is other librarians. Networking with other librarians in your area or at conferences or even researching best practices and discussion forums available through professional organizations, such as the American Library Association (ALA), is a great way to get marketing tips and ideas tested by other libraries.

Use what you know

If your library has patrons’ email addresses, think about sending out announcements about upcoming programming, events or resources via email. Some libraries create a monthly newsletter to keep patrons abreast of library news and events or send out press releases to the local press to help get the word out to the community about upcoming activities.

Go where the patrons go

The best way to get the word out about topics or resources of interest is to go where your patrons go. If they frequent your library website, keep it updated with information about upcoming events. Several libraries that have incorporated the Flipster digital magazine newsstand into their periodicals collection have requested a web carousel that highlights some of the digital magazines they have available. Some are even posting tent cards, rack cards and posters near their periodicals section so patrons are aware of which print magazines are also available digitally.

Marketing your library’s resources may be easier than you think.

See some other resources for marketing your library here.

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