February 17, 2018

Marketing Academic Libraries: And Publics Can Learn, Too

In theory, marketing academic and public libraries should be basically the same. Sure the attributes differ, but the basic approach is probably the same. Even so, I know from hearing from many of you, that challenges at academic libraries can be great due to deeper entrenchment of the way things are.

I’ve been working with a great fellow in Great Britain, Ned Potter. Ned  works for the University of York Library, as an Academic Liaison Librarian; the subject areas he is responsible for are Music, and Theatre, Film & Television Studies. You might think that he and I could be as far apart as the Atlantic Ocean. But the moment we spoke on the phone, we could finish each other’s sentences. In other words, marketing libraries is the same the world over.

Ned shared with me two things that I thought you might find helpful:

1. He writes a blog that you might enjoy following.

2. He shared with me a presentation entitled, Marketing academic libraries in a web 2 world. You can view the presentation here, but some highlighted points:

  • No one cares about the “how” — instead of the process part (“we subscribe to more than 100 databases) — focus on the value (“we can find you stuff that Google can’t”)
  • It’s better to one thing properly than to end up with lots of sad, neglected profiles all over the web. (Amen!)
  • And I LOVE!! this: “Marketing is not a piece of coloured paper with anything written about the library in Comic Sans. That’s just awful.”

Hopefully you can use some of this to help you in your efforts. It is a global effort, that’s for sure!

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.