April 08, 2007

Libraries Need A Good Publicist

I've been on a tear recently about the lack of library advertising & promotion.

We should PROMOTE THE H*LL OUT OF LIBRARIES -- our services, our resources (full-text of the New York Times online? Baltimore Sun? Contra Costa Times? We've got it: free!!), our books (x thousands, millions + interlibrary loan) ...

Why don't people know we have all these great resources? Because we don't TELL THEM!! Here are some humble -- if expensive -- ideas for how we could / should promote ourselves:

- Advertise on billboards at local ball games (hockey, soccer, baseball):
    * "want to find out more about your favorite player? find out @ the library!"
    * "want to improve your bowling skills? learn how @ the library"
    * "want to read about games you missed? read back issues of *your local paper* @ the library"

- Advertise in airports (train stations, bus terminals):
    * "read thousands of travel books @ your library"
    * "borrow your next novel @ your library -- and save money!"
    * "help your kid do his homework @ your library"
    [some cities even have branch libraries in train stations!!! MORE of this, please!]

- Advertise on facebook:
    * "save time! find articles faster @ your library"
    * "borrow books, DVDs, games, CDs [whatever you offer!] @ your library"
    * "get books, articles from ANYWHERE without paying a cent @ your library"

We have to get over this horrible resistance we have to promotion, marketing, advertising. We also have to be ready to provide good service, and we have to find the money for this. Ideally it would be a national campaign -- whatever we do to promote libraries in general will benefit small public libraries, school libraries, academic libraries, and probably even corporate / special libraries.


1 comment:

Librarian said...

I am so pleased to see someone else who is a convinced that libraries are in dire need of greatly expanded promotional exposure.

I am not sure this can be accomplished without some radical internal restructuring of either financial resources or job responsibilities or both. Why not put equal value on finding and implementing creative promotion as is put in, say, developing the mystery collection?