Library Marketing for Public Libraries from the Ohio Library Foundation
Marketing training on the web for public library staff

Module OverviewOVERVIEW


What Is Marketing?

>Why in Libraries?

What are the steps?

Marketing Audit

Market Research

Plan & Strategies




Module Planning planning

Module Product product

Module Promotion promotion

Module Internet internet

Module Ohio ohio



Site Index



Supervisor Tips


Contact OLC

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?

  • Gee, I didn't know you had movies!
  • You mean I can ask for a book from another library?
  • The library databases have full-text articles? Wow!
  • I can really search the catalog from home?
  • Oh, I really don't want to bother you -- I'll just look around for a while.

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.

  • What are the numbers, how many people are using libraries?

  • What are the trends, are percentages going up or down?

  • What statistics are maintained by your library?

What are the steps?


What's new in library marketing?

Why market? Many users are unaware of services.

Explore other sites on the Web for additional information.

Learn more?

Marketing and funding

How many users?

Basic examples