Why Market Libraries?
What does the community need to know about you?
What's a library?
Does everyone who could benefit from library services know about them? You may have new services and resources to offer that will benefit new users or keep current users coming back. A few users may not understand the services libraries have always had. Have you heard this before?
Do users understand the power of the library card, the systems that connect all libraries, and the availability of online library services? Many users do not know the difference between quality online databases and undirected web searching. Some users think only of a building instead of services when they think of the library.
Who uses the library? Who doesn't?
Do you know what percentage of the population in your area does not use the library, perhaps many who truly believe that everything is on the Internet? Marketing may be directed at those who don't use the library, to show them the value of library services. Marketing could mean survival! Libraries cost money, and marketing informs the community of the value of library services and the necessity of continuing to support the library. Marketing is a means of presenting the benefits of the library to all segments of your market, users and non-users.
In a marketing plan, you consider demand, competition, and the customer decision-making process. You determine what the community needs to know in order to decide that the library is a service worthy of continued support. The public library tradition is to offer needed services in the best way possible and the tradition of great service doesn't change -- but the methods do.
Marketing lets the community know that libraries continue to be an outstanding source of information in a changing world.
Look for statistics on library usage. Use a library professional yearbook, statistical resources, the Ohio State Library's "Ohio Public Library Statistics" site, or search a magazine database.
Why market? Many users are unaware of services.
Learn more about challenges to marketing in libraries in Module 2.
Marketing and funding
Marketing let's the community know what we do, an essential part of successful fundraising and informing local, state, and national budget decision-makers. OCLC has developed an advertising campaign on behalf of libraries, aimed at library budget decision-makers. "Making the case for libraries" is a 12 to 18 month campaign that consists of a series of national print ads and similar posters that can be downloaded and customized by libraries.
How many users?
Ohio State Library has circulation statistics.
Marketing Library and Information Services, by Sheila Webber, University of Strathclyde, Department of Information Science has basic marketing information and examples.