February 17, 2018

Positioning Urban Libraries

Marketing is first and foremost about positioning your idea in the minds of consumers. To do that it is important to understand and provide context.  Urban Libraries Council just shared a report  from the Brookings Institution called, The State of Metropolitan America. By understanding this context, libraries can market themselves in a way that showcases their value.

The report examines the demographic trends that have affected the top 100 metropolitan areas so far this decade, covering the year 2000 through the year 2008. The trends, which profoundly affect libraries:

We are a growing nation. Our population exceeded 300 million back in 2006 and we are now on our way to hit 350 million around 2025.

We are diversifying. An incredible 83 percent of our growth this decade was driven by racial and ethnic minorities.

We are aging. The number of seniors and boomers exceeded 100 million this decade.

We are selectively educating. Whites and Asians are now more than twice as likely to hold a bachelor’s degree as blacks and Hispanics.

We are a nation divided by income.

These trends are synthesized into three ideas:

1. America’s top 100 metropolitan areas are on the front lines of our nation’s demographic transformation.

2. The shape and scale of demographic transformation is profoundly uneven across metropolitan America.

3.  Demographic transformation requires action at both the macro and metro scale.

Until libraries understand these trends and their impact on our communities, we won’t be able to articulate our relevancy to our customers. However we decide to market ourselves in this changing environment needs to fully account for these trends.

Read the full report and view the website.

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.