April 19, 2018

Dani Porter | Movers & Shakers 2003

Selling a Great Product


“It is great when you have a great product to sell,” says Dani Porter, who five years ago chose to put her marketing skills – once used to promote some of the country’s major casinos – behind libraries. In charge of recruiting gifts over $10,000 for the University of Nevada – Las Vegas libraries since last fall, she clearly loves her new product. “The $58 million, state-of-the-art facility is Nevada’s most expensive public building, but it is also the largest,” Porter says. “They made it 2000 square feet larger than the Thomas & Mack Center for special events, because they wanted the largest building to be academic in nature.”

Porter shows the same enthusiasm when discussing her previous job, as community relations coordinator for Orange County Public Library in Santa Ana, CA. “We had so many innovative programs in the number two media market in the country, it was an easy sell,” she says. While there she spread the word about installation of 400 PCs in the branches and promoted Read Orange County. “People would say to me, ‘I didn’t know I could get that at the library,'” Porter says. Those new converts pushed circulation over the six million mark the year before she left for Nevada.

Whether looking for large gifts, promoting innovative programs, or luring people to casinos, Porter says, “It’s all about relationships.” The difference is that “working with libraries seems important, and there is never a dull moment.” The choice to apply her already honed PR talents to libraries may seem obvious in retrospect, but at the time she chose to go to library school, she didn’t even know such jobs existed. “I was paired with Beth Paskoff at Louisiana State University, a very insightful advisor, and she said to me, ‘You have so much to offer from your previous experience.'” Then she admits to a bit of luck in the job market. “These are not like the standard positions,” she says.

Though she believes in the power of marketing almost as much as the importance of libraries, she knows not all libraries have the resources for a full-time promoter. “If there is a way, combine people with different strengths, put together ten to 20 hours per week, run a library column in the local paper,” she advises. “You would be surprised at what people pay attention to.”




Current Position: Director of Development Unviersity of Nevada, Las Vegas

Degree: MLIS, Louisiana State University, 1998