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Marketing the Library


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

Volunteers help to supplement the public relations of a library by their direct and personal involvement. They are also an excellent liaison to the community. Their help in promoting and presenting programs and services also market the library to the public. If you have not already learned the resourcefulness and dedication of these people, do not hesitate to pursue developing a Friends Group in your library or developing a base of Teen Volunteers.

Friends Groups are usually adults at Public Libraries who volunteer to sponsor book sales for the public. In return, these profits are donated to either Adult Services or Youth Services to pay for a Sunday Program or a program in general. This indirectly allows the library to show the community that they present worthwhile programs that benefit the patrons.

Teen Volunteers can help in presenting Summer Reading Programs. Actual library programs that Teen Volunteers help at Matteson Public Library during the summer are Book Buddies and Family Lunch Bunch. Book Buddies is where the teens read to children in K-2 one time each week during the Summer Reading Program. Family lunch Bunch entails the teens working with the storyteller each week to supplement telling stories. This includes leading the patrons in song or participating in a puppet show. These two efforts can be a way to continue to show the public that even during the summer worthwhile programs are presented.

Teens can also help during the school year, in either a public or school media center. In this area, they can help to main the various collections in the library. This will allow the library to show the public that they have an orderly library making it easy for the patron to locate the items he or she is trying to locate.

In conclusion, volunteers can help in presenting programs, maintaining your collection and also communicating to individuals in the community the great efforts a public library or school media center is making. How could these individual not help but be a great group of people to help market a library!


Click on the title to view the website.

Become knowledgeable about an organization whose mission is to motivate and support local Friends groups across the country to preserve and strengthen libraries.

Guidelines for Using Volunteers in Libraries (Connecticut State Library)

Learn about the guidelines for using volunteers in libraries. Discover the principles for success in using volunteers and the types of responsibilities to assign to them.

Hennepin County Library - Volunteers

This website will provide some ideas of how to use volunteers to help a library promote books as well as the library to the community.

Senior Corps Tech Center - Volunteers in Libraries

Learn about effective strategies for working with and administering volunteer programs in libraries.

Volunteers in Libraries

Learn about the guidelines for using volunteers in libraries. You will learn about the principles for success in using volunteers and the types of responsibilities to assign to a volunteer.


Friends of Libraries Sourcebook, edited by Sandy Dolnick (Chicago: American Library Association, 1996). This is a "must have" for every Friends organization. Here is a book for a Public Library to purchase and say "thank you" to this organization for its efforts.

Managing Library Volunteers: A Practical Toolkit, by Preston Driggers (Chicago, IL: American Library Association, 2002). Learn about the many aspects of a volunteer program. It will be especially useful and easy to form the basis for customized volunteer programs.

Volunteering. How Service Enriches Your Life, and How its Unexpected Halo Effect Boosts Your Career, by John Raynolds (New York: St. Martins Griffin, 1999).

A book that should be in every collection to educate the public on how volunteering can lead to a more fulfilling life and a better career.

Volunteerism by Frank McGuckin (New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1998). Discover how senior citizens and student involvement can help a library outreach to its community.

What Young Women are Thinking, Saying and Doing, compiled by Sherry S. Handel, Sherry (Rochester, NY: Blue Jean Press, c 2001). Learn how volunteering by young women can help in building their self-esteem. A great tool to promote why teenagers can benefit from volunteering at a library.


Critical steps to the success of Teen Volunteers obtained from a posting to PUBYAC by Patrick Jones (a respected individual knowledgeable about teens and libraries)

Recruit from the community

Interview to get a sense of the teen

Understand the teens motivation for volunteering

Match tasks with teens interest

Selecting the best teens for tasks

Orientate to the library

Introduce to other staff members

Train on specifics of the project

Build trust and relations over time

Community with other staff in regards to work opportunities elsewhere in the library

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