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9 great library marketing books

03 September 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gus MacDonald


Marketing involves a range of ideas and activities, including, but not limited to, public relations, advocacy, and advertising. “If you build it, they will come,” seems to work well in the movies, but for public libraries? Not so much. Experience has taught us that we need to give our patrons a reason to pay us a visit.

“Marketing, public relations and advocacy” is one of the chapters in my book, Library and Information Science: A Guide to Key Literature and Sources. I wrote this book for a simple reason: I needed a current annotated bibliography of library science but couldn’t find one.

It was difficult to select the 38 items appearing in this chapter due to the large amount of excellent material available. Marketing is obviously a huge topic within the library community and judging from the more or less constant stream of titles from mainline professional publishers, our colleagues are giving this topic due regard. Like the old time prospector searching for gold, I tried to separate the glitter from the dross and then put the best stuff within these pages.

There are a number of resources that the information professional may avail him or herself of in order to accomplish the marketing mission. I’ve selected 9 great books on library marketing to share with you here from the collection of 38 items appearing in my book

Building a buzz: Libraries and Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Barber, Peggy, and Linda Wallace. Building a Buzz: Libraries and Word-of-Mouth Marketing. Chicago: American Library Association, 2010. ISBN: 9278-0-83891-011-5.

This slim volume is packed with sample communication plans, surveys, workshop agendas, and marketing scripts for word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM), used to generate positive advertising.

The case studies explain how to implement WOMM, goals, audience, message, strategies, budget, tools, impacts, and lessons learned.

The “Power Pack” chapter includes definitions, checklists, communication plan surveys, agendas, related marketing resources, and scenarios to consider. 

A synopsis of the Buzz Grant Project conducted by the DuPage Library System and Northern Surburban Library System in Illinois illustrates the use of a grant to provide training, planning support, and information resources to implement WOMM

Crash Course in Marketing for Libraries

Alman, Susan Webreck. Crash Course in Marketing for Libraries. Crash Course Series. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2007. ISBN: 978-1-59158-430-8.

Brief and to the point, this is an easy-to-read guide for developing and implementing a library marketing plan with an additional section on fundraising activities.

Over half of the books is devoted to samples of marketing plans, posters, annual reports, and newsletters. Other sections include a marketing bibliography and a synopsis of the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award winners between 2002 and 2007, along with website addresses

Creating your library brand

Doucett, Elisabeth. Creating Your Library Brand: Communicating Your Relevance and Value to Your Patrons. Chicago: American Library Association, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-83890-962-1.

With the rise of the Internet and mega-bookstores, libraries have been facing increased competition in the past couple of decades. This manual aims to show how a library can set itself apart from the for-profit purveyors of information and entertainment. 

It opens with a sample project plan that shows the overall branding process. Each stand-alone chapter includes step-by-step instructions, frequently asked questions, suggestions for success, pitfall to avoid, tips, and exercises. Main topics include developing a logo, taglines, visuals, working with consultants, and evaluating results.

Developing Strategic Marketing Plans That Really Work

Kendrick, Terry. Developing Strategic Marketing Plans That Really Work: A toolkit for public libraries. London: Facet Publishing, 2006. ISBN: 978-1-85604-548-3.

This classic text takes the reader through a series of process steps for creating a strategic marketing plan.

It covers, an introduction to strategic planning for public libraries, ambition as the basis for marketing planning, making sense of the market, creating segment-specific value propositions for users and non-users, priorities, clear objectives and winning strategies, attention-grabbing marketing communications, and implementation and quick progress.

Questions at the end of each chapter allow the reader to reflect on what they have learned templates for creating a marketing plan are included as an appendix.

Library Public Relations, Promotions and Communications

Wolfe, Lisa A. Library Public Relations, Promotions and Communications: A How-To-Do-It Manual. 2nd ed. How-To-Do-It Manuals for Libraries 126. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2005. ISBN: 978-1-55570-471-1.

This updated edition of real-world advice includes planning, evaluation, strategies, and methods for public relations and communications. 

The numerous figures and successful public relations examples found through the two sections – “Planning and Evaluation” and “Strategies and Methodologies” – are simple, concise, and easy to adapt. 
The sample public relations, school library, and academic plans included in the appendix provide the basis for any librarian looking to promote a library.

Marketing and Public Relations Practices in College Libraries

Lindsay, Anita Rothwell, comp. Marketing and Public Relations Practices in College Libraries. CLIP Notes 34. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, American Library Association. 2004. ISBN: 978-0-83898-295-2.

Comprising a literature review, survey results, and sample documents, this book consists primarily of documents to be used to handle public relations and marketing library services.

Arranged by topic, each marketing and public relations document chapter includes submissions from at least three libraries that can be modified to fit individual needs.

Marketing Your Library: Tips and Tools That Work

Smallwood, Carol, Vera Gubnitskaia, and Kerol Harrod, eds. Marketing Your Library: Tips and Tools That Work. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-78646-543-9.

Practical how-to case studies providing approaches to improve branding, organise campaigns, develop community outreach, improve marketing, engage social media, and plan events.

Contributors maintain that public, school, academic, and special libraries must focus on self-preservation and use marketing to increase library use and public perception of worth. A list of contributors and index are included.

The Library Marketing Toolkit

Potter, Ned. The Library Marketing Toolkit. London: Facet Publishing, 2012. ISBN: 978-1-85604-806-4.

The books starts by introducing seven key concepts for marketing libraries which inform the tools and methods described later in the book.

Strategic marketing, the library brand, marketing the library building, online marketing, social media, marketing with new technologies, marketing and people, internal marketing, library advocacy, and marketing special collections and archives are all discussed in separate chapters which all include practical tips and extensive case studies (27 in total).

Visible Librarian: Asserting Your Value with Marketing and Advocacy

Siess, Judith A. Visible Librarian: Asserting Your Value with Marketing and Advocacy. Chicago: American Library Association, 2003. Chicago: American Library Association, 2003. ISBN: 978-0-83890-848-8.

Customer service, marketing, publicity, public relations, and advocacy are discussed through basic elements, implementation guides, and use case studies of librarians becoming more visible to their supporters, stakeholders, and patrons. 

Tips and case studies focus on customer needs, marketing, and accessing resources needed to maintain the library. The techniques used to counter concern about librarians and libraries fading into the background are especially relevant during these economically trying times of staff reductions, limited hours, and library closings.

What library marketing books, resources or tools have you found useful?

Let us know in the comments below


Published: 3 September 2014

Contributor: Michael F. Bemis is the author of Library and Information Science: A Guide to Key Literature and Sources.


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