February 17, 2018

Transforming Our Language Through Words That Work

This week Urban Libraries Council held a webinar entitled, "The Power of Strategic Language in Education." I was aware of the webinar because it was hosted by our executive director, Pat Losinksi. But what you’ll be interested in is that the focus was on Howard County Public Library and an article they wrote for Public Libraries entitled, "Transforming Our Image through Words That Work." This is what marketing is all about and you’ll want to read this.

Highlights — marketers, this is singing from our hymnal!

"While there’s no question that our first-rate collections…..and outstanding customer service shape our customers experiences, words that work engage like nothing else. It’s what causes people — even if they never set foot in the library — to assign our true value to our jobs, work and profession." — how do you synthesize your library’s value-add? For Howard County the word is "education."

She offers ten rules to improve the effectiveness of communication. (Personally, I think that if you are going to be effective, simple and clear — ten is too many!)

1. Simplicity
2. Brevity
3. Credibility
4. Consistency
5. Offer something new
6. Sound and texture 
7. Asprirational
8. Visualize.
9. Ask a question
10. Provide context

You get the idea. You’ll want to read the whole article and share it with your staff. 

For marketing people, we have been trying to say this for some time and it’s great to see some recognition for defining value, positioning the organization and delivering a consistent message. 

Let us know what you think.


Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.



  1. Thanks for sharing this article! It’s given me a new perspective on how to share the value of the variety of resources our library offers. While my team is in the field providing services to the community, one of our goals is to expand their understanding of the resources offered by our library. We’re going to use the principles in this article to construct a concise message to share with our customers.