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Marketing the Library
Public Relations/Marketing


Public Relations/Marketing | Publicity | Volunteers | Library Displays | Outreach | Programming | Booktalks | Expecting the Unexpected | Bibliography

Today public and school libraries are confronted with presenting public relations and marketing efforts to promote a different types of services than in the past. These efforts can include publishing a library service brochure, a booklist, a program announcement, a web page, a special event/project or participating in the @ your library ALA Campaign.

It is helpful that one understands just what types of services public and school libraries will need to promote. Some of these websites can give a person new to the field ideas on just what the libraries of the future are being required to market to their patrons. Other websites will provide information on just what school media centers offer to help the administrative staff in marketing its school. The books listed under additional resources will provide a variety of guidance in the area of public relations/marketing campaigns.

Lets begin with the definitions of public relations and marketing.

Public relations is the utilization of publicity and other non-paid forms of communication designed to present the organization and its products positively. It can decide when to issue press releases and hold events, but it cannot control the press that independently decides when to run the communication.

Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create instances that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.

Public relations supports the marketing function in four ways:

  1. Organizational Communication. Messages promote a better understanding of the organization among employees, board members and other relevant public figures.
  2. Press Relations. Newsworthy information, such as new programs, is provided on a timely manner.
  3. Lobbying. Communication with legislators and officials to promote or defeat legislation is a major activity.
  4. Product Publicity. Newsworthy innovations or new attributes of products can be promoted at little cost through the media.


Big 6: An Information Problem-Solving Process

This website was recommended by a school media specialist. It is the most known and used approach to teaching information and technology skills in the work. It is utilized in thousands of K-12 schools, higher education institutions and corporate and adult training programs. This process strengthens a schools public relations/marketing efforts by integrating information search and use skills along with computers in a systematic process to find, use, apply and evaluated information to the needs and tasks. What a great asset to have in a public relations/marketing campaign.

The Future of the Public Library

Public libraries have to reinvent public relations/marketing efforts by fighting back, reinventing themselves to reach out to their communities in new fashions. This radio broadcast will discuss this challenge. To reach this story in the archives, type in "Future of the Public Library" and enjoy!

Library Usage Up in Wake of Recession

In a press release issued on April 15, 2002, it was announced that two new national studies show that Americans are using their libraries more than in the past. Ninety-one percent of the adult population believes public libraries will play an important place in the future. Visit this site to reach the press release and link to the study. This study shows public libraries must have in place criteria which includes a successful public relations/marketing campaign.

Lobby for Libraries: Putting Marketing Principles to Work

This website will help to develop an advocacy plan on an issue of concern to individuals or a group of individuals in a library. This website was added to bring a perspective from an international organization.

Marketing Your Library - On and Off the Web

This great website contains articles and resources, material on understanding future trends in marketing, how to market the library on the Internet and Marketing Resources for Libraries.

Partner in Learning: The School Library Media Center

Today and more than ever school libraries are at the center of the learning experience with approximately 47 million elementary, middle and high school students using a library media center each week. School library media specialists working closely with teachers to contribute to the public relations/marketing of schools.

School Libraries

School media centers allow access to information and the skills to use in achieving the educational goals allowing youngsters to be competitive and informed citizens of the world. Visit this site to learn about facts pertaining to school libraries and how here again they are a contribution to the public relations/marketing campaign. To read this article, go to the categories on the right margin and selection "School LibrariesThe School Library: An Essential Learning Tool."

Targeted! Marketing to Increase Circulation

Learn how to begin this kind of marketing program in your library. Customizing a program for a select group of patrons is time consuming, but it is well worth the effort.


Contemporary Advertising, by William F. Arens (Boston: Irwin/McGraw-Hill, c2002). Learn about such items as advertising perspectives as well as crafting marketing and advertising strategies.

Guerilla P.R. Wired: Waging a Successful Publicity Campaign Online, Offline, and Everywhere in Between, by Michael Levine (Chicago: McGraw-Hill, c2002). This book will reveal one of the top public relations counselors in the country and how he wages a great publicity campaign without spending a great deal of money.

Image Makers: Advertising, Public Relations, and the Ethos of Advocacy, by Robert Jackall (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000). If you want to discover the intellectual and insightful analysis about the origins of advertising and public relations and how these advocacy disciples impact all aspects of our political and social lives, then this a book you should read.

The Responsive Public Library: How to Develop and Market a Winning Collection, by Sharon L. Baker, (Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 2002). Focusing on the center of the libraryits collectionthese authors will show how proven marketing techniques can be applied to the collection development in todays high-tech world.

Running a Successful Library Card Campaign: A How-to-do-it Manual for Librarians, by Patrick Jones (New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2002). If you want to triple the number of people in your community with a library card and have them use the library regularly, learn about real-life successful campaigns in this book.


Become familiar with the Top 10 Goals of a Marketing Program

Life Cycle to lock in customer (target 5 years)

Make it affordable, within budget

Accomplish sales objectives

Create excitement with customers

Make it understandable for the customers

Make it supportable with an ad campaign

Be flexible to maintain forecast

Build in contingencies

Keeps your name in front of the customers

Distinguishes your organization