Hats off to the vendor ProQuest for once again offering free help for its customers. It's released an updated version of the free marketing toolkit that it's had online for some time. I can't say it any better than the press release already does:
The Public Library Marketing Toolkit aims to help librarians develop successful, actionable, and sustainable marketing plans, even if they don't have backgrounds in marketing or promotion. It includes many ready-to-use bookmarks, customizable posters, and fliers designed to save individual organizations the time and money of having materials created on-site. There's also a Flash commercial, along with patron-centric database descriptions for the library Website and links to training materials for both librarians and their users.
"Library users often start and end their research on the open web without finding answers to their research questions," said Lynda James-Gilboe, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Customer Care at ProQuest. "The Public Library Marketing Toolkit will help librarians point users toward the authoritative and relevant content contained in the library’s online resources so users have a more successful research experience."
The kit's premiere resource is a colorful, clearly written, How-to Guide called "Marketing Your Public Library's Online Research Resources." It lays out a four-step strategy for getting started and details how to promote certain databases to certain types of patrons, linking to the related parts of the toolkit for each step.
Because different audiences respond to different messages, ProQuest has created three sets of printable tools (bookmarks, posters, fliers) designed for specific age groups: middle school students, high schoolers, and adults. Employing such targeted promotional materials can help boost usage of databases and other resources.
ProQuest has also created a digital commercial for the toolkit. The 30-second looping message tells patrons that they can access resources online even when the library is closed. There are two versions, one silent and one with music, and there are simple instructions for loading the Flash file onto library websites where they can attract attention.
Another powerful tool in this kit is a document that outlines how library employees can approach local businesses about sponsoring databases that are beyond the library's budget. It includes ideas to reward the businesses and even a sample letter to help make contact with and persuade these potential sponsors.
ProQuest has a long tradition of supporting libraries and their mission to connect people with high-quality information. The all-new Public Library Marketing Toolkit aims to help libraries connect users with their valuable online resources. The Toolkit is available now, for free, from the ProQuest website at www.proquest.com/go/pltk.