New Marketing Trends

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries

The M Word helps librarians learn about marketing trends and ideas.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Can You Express Your Library's Value?

Everywhere I look, I see librarians complaining that people are saying things like, "Why do we still need libraries?" They lament that stakeholders and elected officials don't understand what libraries are really all about.

OK, well: How will people know unless we tell them? Every single librarian, Friend, Trustee, and supporter needs to have an answer, an elevator speech, or a comeback, for these questions. What would be even better is if you didn't wait for the question, but rather, proactively told people about the value of libraries in the 21st century. You may think the need for libraries is obvious, but believe me, it's not. 

And so I thank the Metropolitan New York Library Council for commissioning me to give a webinar that addresses this topic. I hope you'll join me next Wednesday, July 30, at 4pm Eastern. Here are the details

Articulating Your Value
"We need to cut costs, so we're slashing your budget. People don't use libraries much anymore; it's faster to get answers online."
"Why are we paying you to put books away and fix copiers? Can't students do that?"
"Why do librarians matter in the 21st century?
"I keep reading articles that say libraries are going away." 
Have you ever heard such questions from an administrator, stakeholder, faculty member, dean, or even a friend? Chances are you have, and you've probably replied in one of two ways: You start listing all the little things you do all day (which sounds dull), or you are so taken aback that you can't articulate a satisfactory answer quickly enough (of course, you think of the perfect comeback an hour later). 
Every librarian needs to be able to articulate his or her value at any given moment. Otherwise, you lose a chance to explain your work, to advocate for libraries, and to teach someone why the internet can never replace a library. If you cannot explain what your expertise is and why it's vital in two or three brief sentences--in words that your listener will understand and remember--then you need this webinar. This will be an interactive program with individual attention. Each attendee will start by writing a response that they think will work in their own situations, then we'll dissect and rebuild them to make them stronger and more memorable.
By the end of this program, participants will: 
Know how to explain their work in a few sentences, without jargon
Be able to articulate their value at a moment's notice
Explain why librarians still matter without being defensive
Be more confident talking about their work
Understand how to defend their budgets if they're threatened
Create strong elevator speeches that are ready to use
This webinar has varying fees for those who are and are not affiliated with METRO, a hard-working non-profit that works to develop and maintain essential library services throughout New York City and Westchester County. This session is open to all. I hope some of you M Word readers will join me next week!



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fun with Governmental Advocacy

Kathy Dempsey (left) with Stephanie Vance
From ALA in Las Vegas: While attending a session run by the very knowledgeable Stephanie Vance, I volunteered to be a mock presidential candidate. My pitch beat the other 2 "candidates" (according to the unscientific "applause-o-meter"), making me president of the room! We were given copies of one of Vance's books for our efforts. I definitely recommend getting Citizens In Action: A Guide to Influencing Government or any of her other books if you want to know how to win support from government representatives.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Thing 1 & Thing 2



City Council meetings can be pretty boring. But this one in Dallas,Texas wasn't.

This meeting is chock full of effective library advocacy. In fact, the council members will probably remember these particular funding pleas for a long time.

If you only watch the first 3 minutes, you'll get the greatest stuff. Two library supporters rewrote Dr. Seuss' story about Thing 1 and Thing 2, who are looking for something to do. If council raised the library budget, they stated, then the public library could be open more hours, and all the local Things would be occupied and happy.

The rewritten rhyme was quite clever. And the councilors gave them a standing ovation.

Then came testimony from a 9-year-old girl—another winner. The next woman shared statistics and linked early literacy numbers to subsequent lower crime and drop-out numbers. I especially liked this strong statement (just before 8 min.): 
"It is the most productive, it is the right thing to do, to build strong children rather than trying to fix broken adults."
Next, an elderly woman stepped up and proclaimed herself a "library junkie." Awesome. And all of that happened in 10 minutes.

Actually, the video of the whole 38-min. meeting is worth watching. Aside from 5 minutes on one unrelated topic, it's all about Library Love. At 18 min., a councilor speaks in favor of the library. Then, in turn, others address and thank the library advocates, talking about things like "educational impact." Clearly, the messages got through to them.

At about 24 minutes, an African-American councilman starts a diatribe on how much he values the library. He speaks passionately, and even urges his fellow council members, on the spot: "Let's move toward restoration [of the previous budget cuts]."

This, my friends, is a perfect example of how to represent libraries at city budget meetings. There were library supporters (or advocates) with a unique, customized, story that was entertaining and memorable. There was a cute kid, a sweet old lady, a nice old man, and more. They made an impact.

Wonder how these folks got so good at speaking out? Well, the Friends of the Dallas Public Library got a grant from United for Libraries and the Neal-Schuman Foundation:
United for Libraries has secured $75,000 from the Neal-Schuman Foundation to support library advocacy at the local level for libraries with troubled budgets. The Citizens-Save-Libraries grants will pay for travel and fees to send expert advocates to 20 locations over the course of two years to help friends of the library groups, library directors and trustees develop individual blueprints for advocacy campaigns to restore, increase or save threatened library budgets.
If your library didn't apply for this training, don't worry—you can still benefit from the free Citizens-Save-Libraries Power Guide. This toolkit is available to anyone, and it "lays out a step-by-step blueprint for libraries to follow in generating their own campaigns." Download it today!



Libraries must be at the budget table.
So don't put it off; start as soon as you're able.
Just get the Power Guide and learn what to do.
It can't be too hard; I'll tell you, that's true.
It's already been done by Thing 1 and Thing 2.
And if they can do it, then so can you. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Projects in Ireland and New Zealand

Today I ran across two examples of libraries really being part of their communities, and I wanted to share. 

The first is in County Carlow, Ireland:
"Carlow Care and Repair currently work with elderly people in the Carlow area, carrying out small repair work and DIY jobs for them and making weekly contact through the Care and Repair admin team." (How great is that? A government service that sends a team to help the elderly with small home repairs!)

But now, an addition: 
"Those who benefit from the programme have expressed an interest in receiving library resources to their homes, and thus the Care and Repair team will visit these participants and bring collections of stock books, film, music and audio which will be provided by Carlow Central Library." So now the library is part of this service! And note: It's the residents who requested it. 



The second is in Christchurch, New Zealand:  
The city has been preparing to build a new central library -- with citizen input. I mean, serious citizen input! 

"The Your Library, Your Voice  campaign runs from Friday 21 March to Friday 2 May 2014. Take the opportunity to have your say about this exciting Council-led anchor project.
There are many different ways you can have your say - take part in a discussion forum, or fill in one of the quick surveys or polls. You can now also upload images(External link) of what you'd like the library to look like - inside or outside."

Click over and look at all the thoughtful questions the planner have been asking: 
How would you use the New Central Library? How would you travel to it? What's most important to you? What would make you feel welcome? What are the must-haves? 

What better way to turn everyone into active stakeholders who really care about the success of the library? What better way to build excitement, and to assure high usage before the place is even open? I'm really impressed. 



Monday, May 12, 2014

Send PR Materials to Share at 2014's PR Xchange

Get ready to participate in the PR Xchange event at ALA Annual! Mailing labels are now available to make it easy to send in your print promotional materials. Details: 

Are you wondering how to put your back inventory of calendars, brochures, flyers, postcards, annual reports, and other print collateral to good use? Share them with colleagues!

Send in your printed promotional materials now to the 2014 PR Xchange program at the ALA Annual conference in Las Vegas, NV. Hundreds of conference attendees drop in to the PR Xchange event each year to take home copies of PR materials from libraries across North America for their idea files.

A scene from 2013's PR Xchange at ALA in Chicago
Please use the mailing labels at the link below to send quantities of at least 250 but no more than 1,000 each of your printed pieces to the convention center in advance of the PR Xchange program. They should arrive by June 25. Your materials will be put out for display and distribution at PR Xchange, which takes place on Sunday, June 29, between 11am and 1:30pm in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Exhibit Hall—Special events area.


I'll have a table at the event, where I'll be busy:
Please stop by on Sunday, June 29, 11am - 1:30 pm!

Want to know more? See The M Word's coverage of last year's event in Chicago:

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

20 Years of Work, 20 Reasons to Subscribe To Marketing Library Services Newsletter

MLS across the decades: 1988, 1994, 2009
 I feel like celebrating! It's a big anniversary for me: I've been editor of the Marketing Library Services newsletter for 20 years now!

I started this job on May 3, 1994. Back in the 90s, you didn't often hear the words "library" and "marketing" together. Most librarians didn't have to do much marketing or promotion because libraries were people's main access points for information. But the internet was a game-changer. Once the public's access to the web became widespread, and reference transactions declined, the concept of marketing libraries slowly became more accepted. (Although some still thought of "marketing" as the dirty "m word.")

At first, there were very few M.L.I.S. courses or other opportunities for librarians to learn about marketing. There still aren't as many as there needs to be. But since 1987, there's been the Marketing Library Services newsletter. In honor of my 20 years at the helm ...

Here Are 20 Reasons You Should Subscribe:

1. To avoid budget cuts, it's vital to understand how to convince stakeholders of libraries' value.
2. MLS is packed with case studies that explain successful tactics and strategies.
3. New personal subscription price: $69.95. That's 30% off the regular price!
4. The editor is an expert in library marketing, not just in editing publications.
5. Every "How-To" section walks you through the process of accomplishing something great: launching a brand, promoting an event, making a video, building an email list, etc.
6. MLS is the only serial that concentrates specifically on library marketing, promotion, PR, and advocacy.
7. MLS has content for all types of librarians: corporate, public, K-12, academic, & special.
8. There are no ads; it's all reader-supported.
9. There's subject-specific coverage from many major library conferences, adding value for those who can't attend.
10. MLS has readers and contributors from around the world, so you get a diverse view of library marketing.
11. Why spend hundred$ of thousand$ of $$ on collections, but spend nothing to learn how to promote them and guarantee their usage?
12. MLS concentrates on practical, useful articles, not theory.
13. The "Interviews With Marketing Masters" section lets you learn directly from some of the most successful people in the industry.
14. Articles are short, easy to digest, and useful to both beginners and experts.
15. Great ROI: By learning to do better marketing and promotion, you can save more than enough time and money every year to cover the cost of MLS.
16. MLS isn't indexed in Library Literature or included in any full-text databases, so you've got to subscribe to benefit from its uber-useful articles.
17. MLS can make you better at your job, so you can make your library more successful!
18. MLS enables you to benchmark your own work against what others in the field are doing.
19. MLS news alerts you about grants to apply for, contests to enter, and free webinars to attend.
20. Promoting the library is every employee's responsibility.
  
They're reading MLS in Russia! 

What Real Subscribers Think:

“I love the newsletter. At each library I move to, I always make sure we have a subscription. Thanks for all the great information it contains.”
~ Cindy Weir, BA, M.L.S.
CEO
Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library
Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada


"Librarians across the nation should all stand up and thank Kathy Dempsey for her commitment to keeping our field alive. She really understands how important it is for us to toot our own horns and market our services and programs to the fullest. The MLS newsletter combines the best tools and methods from corporate marketing and adapts them to meet our unique needs as community and literary centers."
~ Melissa Chiavaroli
Staff Librarian, Adult Services
Seekonk Public Library
Seekonk, Massachusetts
  
 
The first issue I edited, 1994

MLS Is for YOU If:

+ You've never taken a marketing course.
+ You feel like you're flying by the seat of your pants.
+ You don't have time to dig for how-to info.
+ Your library doesn't have a marketing plan.
You don't know how to respond when people say that libraries don't matter anymore because everything's online now.
+ You want to show your administrators examples of others' success stories, so they'll let you try something new.
 

So, Why Not Try Out MLS?

Check out Tables of Contents at the homepage:

Get subscription details and prices:

Take advantage of the new Personal Subscription Rate:
($69.95 for U.S. customers, must be mailed to home address)
Call Customer Service at (609) 654-6266 or email them at custserv@infotoday.com

Place organizational orders online:
(pricing varies by region outside the U.S.)

 
So, Happy Anniversary to Me! I've dedicated my career to helping libraries stay funded and open. I really love what I do, and I'm looking forward to another 10 or 20 years with Marketing Library Services

Thursday, April 24, 2014

2014 John Cotton Dana Winners Announced

Some of the materials from Texas A&M's winning entry, which celebrated George R. R. Martin
Some of the year's biggest library-marketing news just came out: The 2014 winners of the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards were announced today! 

Here are this year's 8 winners:

Birmingham Public Library for “Letter from Birmingham Jail: A Worldwide Celebration”
Champaign Public Library for “Show Some Library Love”
Kitsap Regional Library for their Traveling Book Campaign
North Carolina State, James B. Hunt Jr. Library, for “The Library of the Future”
Sacramento Public Library for “The Poe Project”
Texas A & M for “Deeper Than Swords: A 2-day celebration of George RR Martin” 
University of Texas, San Antonio, for “Ask Us Anything”
Wells County, Indiana for “Your Go-To Spot”

Each library wins $10,000! 

There's more info on LLAMA's blog.  And you can see all the details of each entry here on EBSCO's JCD page. 

As always, big thanks go to the H.W. Wilson Foundation for the prize money, EBSCO for its sponsorship, and the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA, a division of ALA) for running the contest. Together, this team enables this prestigious contest, which judges entries on all the planning and work necessary for true marketing greatness. 

We "M Word" women will be at the award ceremony during the ALA conference this June in Las Vegas. Stay tuned for our report and photos.

CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners! 



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Shout It Out: Libraries Are Essential!

The black-on-white bumper sticker, shown with a pen to gauge size.
Libraries Are Essential!

Is that a message you believe? One you want to shout from the mountaintops? I'd like to help you do that. 

Check out my Libraries Are Essential store on Cafe Press, where every product proudly proclaims, "Libraries Are Essential."

New for National Library Week: Inexpensive bumper stickers. They're available with black type on white OR with black type on a clear background. Buy a single one, a pack of 10, or a pack of 50. There's also a 20"W x 12"H decal to use on walls, bookmobiles, exhibit booths, and more. (The vinyl decal, just $12.50, can be placed on a wall, taken down w/o damage, then put up again repeatedly, according to Cafe Press.)

Cafe Press ships very quickly, and usually has a sale going on. These products give you a simple way to shout out about libraries' importance. Give them to staff, Friends, or Trustees, use them as prizes or giveaways, or buy in bulk to sell them as a fundraiser. 

These and the other products at this site were created by me, Kathy Dempsey, founder of the Libraries Are Essential marketing consultancy (using the logo font of my website). Feel free to ask questions, suggest new items, or contact me at Kathy@LibrariesAreEssential.com. Start by seeing what's available today.  

Don't forget: National Library Week is April 13-19 in the US! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Peek at Irish Libraries


It's going to take a little time for me to process and share the great things I just saw at the Public Library Association's 2014 conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. Meanwhile, if you're feeling a wee bit Irish today, take a look back at this post from 2010 that includes video and photo from Irish libraries.

And the photos posted here are from a visit to another library, in Killarney, Ireland, a few years back. They show me outside with the colorful signage (top), and the meeting room (with a quilt display), and children's room (both below). 



Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Great Posters, for Free






Do you sometimes see images online and wish you could print them out for your own library? It's often hard to tell who created the images or what the copyright status is. 

Well, here are 2 great posters that promote librarians (note: not "libraries," but the humans who make them work!). I've gotten permission from the source to share them with you.

The publisher Springer has some wonderful images, and its marketing department will send you the high-resolution PDFs, for free, so you can print as many posters as you like. If you want either of these, simply send an email to libraryrelations@springer.com to request them. Put "2600 BC" or "Keep Calm" in the subject line of your email to request your PDFs. (And the low-res versions I used above make for great social media posts.)

Thanks to the marketing-savvy staff at Springer for helping librarians show their value! I hope that many of you will take advantage of this generous offer.


 


Monday, February 24, 2014

Time to Enter the Best of Show Competition

Some of the Best of Show winners on display at the 2013 PR Xchange
It's time to prepare your entries for ALA's annual Best of Show Competition. Now you can enter online to be recognized for the great promotional materials that your library produced during the 2013 calendar year.

This contest is part of the American Library Association's Annual Conference. It's sponsored by LLAMA (the Library Leadership Administration and Management Association) and its PRMS (Public Relations and Marketing Section) group, and is overseen by the PR XChange (formerly known as Swap and Shop) Committee. The deadline is April 1.

There are many categories of materials / prizes: 
  • Advocacy (print/electronic)
    A READ poster from 2013.
  • Annual Reports / Strategic Plans (print/electronic)
  • Bibliographies / Booklists / Materials Promoting Collections (print/electronic)
  • Calendars of Events / Newsletters (print/electronic)
  • Fundraising Materials (print/electronic)
  • Reading Programs: Children and Family (print/electronic)
  • Reading Programs: Teen and Young Adult (print/electronic)
  • Reading Programs: Adult (print/electronic)
  • Services and Resources Available / Patron Orientation Materials / Policy Materials (print/electronic)
  • Special Programs, Exhibits and Events (print/electronic)
Details from the Best of Show Co-Chairs:
Entries will be evaluated based on content, originality, and design by a team of experts in public relations, graphic design, communications, and marketing who select the winner(s) in each category.  
Winning entries will be on display during the PR Xchange program during the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas. Awards will be presented to the winners during a Best of Show ceremony on that day. Award winners need not be present to win, but are encouraged to attend.
Online entry forms must be completed, and print work postmarked no later than April 1, 2014.
For more information about the competition, please visit the Best of Show at PR Xchange page on the LLAMA website or contact Best of Show co-chairs Karen Okamoto and Mark Aaron Polger at prxchange.bestofshow@gmail.com.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Checking Out Experiences


There's a new article on the @YourLibrary website that you simply have to read: "Community Engagement: Kentucky Community Checks Out Experiences at the Library."

It's about the Boyd County Public Library in Ashland, Kentucky, which has a project that I think is fantastic. It's called "Checkout Your Community," and it allows patrons to use their library cards to check out an amazing variety of things, such as fishing poles and museum passes. Numerous libraries have been doing that for a while, but Boyd County has taken it a big step further. 

In addition to offering things like sports equipment and binoculars, the staff is partnering with local organizations to let its patrons check out "experiences." Here are some examples of what they can do:
  • At a hardware store, patrons can get a consultation with an expert about a do-it-yourself project and discounts on materials they purchase. 
  • Check out a guitar and music lessons from a local music store. 
  • Get a free tour of the Fire and Police Departments.
  • Play a free match at a local tennis center. 
This project has a huge "Wow Factor," and feedback from both users and partners has been "overwhelmingly positive." The Checkout Your Community program definitely puts the library in a new light, builds community ties, saves people money, and fulfills the library's mission “to provide quality resources and access to information for all users.”
“Our patrons are blown away when they hear about these opportunities, and they bring back positive stories when they return the items,” Nunley said. “I don’t think we could stop this now that it is unleashed!”
There's a larger lesson in all of this that I want to point out--that's how it got started. Some staff members came back from a Risk and Reward (R-Squared) conference with fresh ideas, but they didn't stop there. They asked a vital question: "What more can we do?" 

Asking such questions, thinking innovatively, and having the freedom to try new things is what sets some libraries apart from others. If you want your library to provide more meaningful or more exciting services that people will crave and use, that's what you need to do.

Go read this whole article now, and ask yourself: Why couldn't we do this? What's stopping us? What more can we do to add value to our community?

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Where to Find Marketing Info


I've built an illustrated list of where you can find great information on library marketing. I've gathered books, websites, reports, tools, and blogs that I believe offer insight and how-to help. And I've wrapped it all up into a nice PowerPoint that full of live links, to save you time and money. 

I've not seen a list like this anywhere else. (If you know of others, please share in the Comments!) While it is far from exhaustive, it offers 70 resources, which of course all have links to many more. 

If you're just starting to explore marketing, this will be a treasure trove for you. If you're looking to answer a specific question or to find data that will help you make a point or beef up a presentation, you're in luck. And even if you're an expert marketer, I'll bet that you'll find a few gems here that you hadn't known about. 

Please: Use, Share, Enjoy! This is a gift from me to the library marketers of the world, to help all of you do better projects with less work. (You're welcome! :-)   

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The library redefined: Did she really say that?

I found a great video from CNET to help people learn how to download a free ebook from the library. I was so excited until I played it...

I loved that the reporter created an easy-to-understand video, but what really struck me was the way she positioned the library. Her use of phrases like, "good old days" and "think back to when you were in school" made me cringe. But it's a glaring reminder for libraries to remember different generations have different perceptions. 

Here are two quotes from the video that we may want to pay close attention to and ask ourselves if we're overcoming these objections for this generation? 

  1. "First you have to get off your couch and head out the door to get a library card."
    This is a biggie for lots of people who are accustomed to working online. If they can't get a library card online, they might never get one. Are you providing online registration? Can people access the link from any page? 
  2. "Here's there annoying part though, right now most libraries only have a few copies or licenses of each book, you'll have to think back to your childhood and remember that if someone else checked out your book, you'll have to wait your turn." Ouch! While it's true they have to wait, are you also making sure there are reading recommendations that will attract their attention before they leave your catalog? Are you able to promote some cool program? Think cross-promotion and think of it in the catalog--it may be the only place these users ever go.
If we are serious about getting people to use us online, then we must make it easy for them to do that.