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Library Marketing: Five Great Internet Tools

While some bibliophiles decry the rise of the Internet as a hindrance to the advancement of good books, most of us realize that the Web is a fantastic tool — not just for spreading the word about our libraries and the great services they provide, but for researching how to do things better. Many of the country’s best libraries now have their own blogs, and librarians and library organizations also keep blogs. As a result, the Web is full of library marketing resources for the smart librarian.

What’s more, most of these resources are about much more than library marketing . Filled with information about operating reference desks, communicating with borrowers and more, many of these sites can eat up a substantial portion of your day — so budget your time accordingly.

Here are just a few of those resources:

BlogBib . Blogging is one of the best tools in a library marketing toolbox — it’s simple to set up, fairly easy for a dedicated team of librarians to maintain, and most importantly, easy for library patrons to access. Any library that doesn’t have a blog set up is missing a huge marketing opportunity. But fear not: BlogBib is an annotated bibliography on blogs and blogging, set up for those looking for tutorials on starting and maintaining a presence on the Web. The best aspect of BlogBib: it points users to actual paper books… books the library might have. . Maintained by Jessamyn West, a librarian with an impressive Web presence, is a treasure trove of tools for the forward-thinking librarian, from library marketing suggestions and links to stories about the library trade. West links wide array of online resources every day.

Swiss Army Librarian . This great resource is subtitled “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk,” which should give you an idea of its demeanor. Reference librarian Brian Herzog points to an incredible scope of tools and tips for librarians, including his “Reference Question of the Week,” wherein he relates the best (or most notable) borrower inquiry he’s come across all week.

A Librarian at the Kitchen Table. More than just a collection of links, this blog provides valuable commentary on its resources, which range from journal articles to professional development opportunities. While there’s not much here in the way of library marketing, it’s a good resource for any marketing professional hoping to learn the lingo of the reference jockeys.

Library Thing . Library Thing is a superb library marketing tool, particularly for small libraries. It allows users to build an extensive online inventory of books, complete with descriptions, ratings, and cover illustrations. A great tool for small or new libraries without the resources to post their own catalogues online.

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