Library Marketing: Five Tools That Work
Librarians face a unique challenge when it comes to marketing. More and more, libraries are turning into unique and inspiring public spaces, full of a wide variety of community resources. But too many people still perceive libraries as only a place to take out books – and old, musty books at that. Practitioners of library marketing have their work cut out for them.
Library marketing has to be a cunning mixture of traditional marketing techniques and savvy approaches to an ever-more-media-literate audience. But there are plenty of unique and innovative ways to make sure your library has more of a presence in your community:
- Library Marketing Technique #1: Blog it up. The Seattle Public Library has a blog called Shelf Talk, where librarians on staff write about new books, new resources at the libraries, and other new developments. Blogging a perfect way for a library to enter into a near-constant communication with its community. Seattle’s public libraries even have a teen-specific blog.
- Library Marketing Technique #2: Expand from books. Who ever said books are the end-all-be-all of storing knowledge and narrative? Some libraries offer movies and CDs – and what’s not to love about that? But it can go even farther – why not offer an hour with an expert on a specific topic, as some Scandinavian libraries have done?
- Library Marketing Technique #3: Lists. Sort of like this one. Why not make a Halloween list of the 50 greatest vampire stories ever told? Or a list of the 50 more unforgettable characters in modern fiction? Or 25 books you’d probably like better than “The Da Vinci Code?” Post these on your website – and don’t forget to tell everyone where they can find the books on the list.
- Library Marketing Technique #4: Take advantage of the vox populi. Remember when the “Lord of the Rings” movies came out? A popular and profitable series of films based on a popular and profitable series of books? Wouldn’t that have been a great opportunity to throw a “Hobbit Party” at the library? Wouldn’t it have been a great opportunity to take advantage of the pop obsession with one of the 20th Century’s most beloved writers?
- Library Marketing Technique #5: Network socially. Having a presence in a place your users like to be is never a bad idea. It’s hardly any work to make a Facebook page, a Squidoo Lens, or even a Flickr photostream. And if all of those terms sound like gibberish to you, you may want to think about spending some quality time on the Internet.