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12 fast and inexpensive ways to market your library

Andrea Cowan, Elsevier | Apr 16, 2013

Author's note: Before embarking on any marketing activities, you will first want to consider the culture of your organization and ensure you are not in violation of any organizational or departmental policies or procedures.

In the US, the American Library Association and libraries across the country are sponsoring National Library Week from April 14-20. With press coverage of this event reaching your user communities and sponsors through all levels of media, it is a great time to draw attention to your library. If you are located in another country, consider piggybacking on coverage of (or even starting!) your own local or national library event.
Following are 12 low cost yet high impact marketing tactics to raise the profile of your library. 
  1. Promote the library with a story on your organization’s home page and/or intranet with a tie in to National Library Week, a photo and a number of fun facts.
  2. Contact other communications outlets within your organization (company newsletter, student newspaper, etc.) and have them profile the library or library director in an article or interview.
  3. Forgive fines for the day.
  4. Invite your faculty, researchers or medical staff to a library open house and showcase recent examples of library-user partnerships.
  5. Gather all your librarians and library workers for a giant group photo in front of the library.
  6. Host a contest for students on the library’s social media channels and have them describe their best example of the library supporting their studies.
  7. Have each librarian post on social media a recent example of working with a library user.
  8. Hold a photography contest that features the library.  Display winning photos on the library website, Facebook and Instagram pages, or as screensavers on the library computers.
  9. Partner with the music or art departments to host concerts and feature art from library users, or invite employees to showcase their extramural skills.
  10. Leave the library and exhibit at other events such as a new employee orientation, health fair or sports day.
  11. Make buttons at and for the library! Button makers came up at ACRL as an inexpensive and fun way to get patrons talking about the library.  
  12. Adopt a mascot and use its image on flyers, blog posts, etc. Soon the mascot will become synonymous with the library. (Or showcase your institution’s mascot in a “Day at the Library.”)
Good luck! And let us know if you try any of these tactics, or have great activities of your own you would like to share.