New Marketing Trends

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

New Webinar! Communications Audit

I'm giving a new webinar this Thursday, April 2, at 2pm Eastern.

LibraryWorks is hosting this event:
"How (and Why) To Do a Simple External Communications Audit at Your Library."

Here are just a few of the things you'll learn: 
  • What an "external communications audit" is and why it's important
  • Step-by-step instructions for auditing
  • Which print and electronic communications pieces to include 
  • Tips for consistent branding
The full description, and link to register, are both here. Sign up now! Registration fee = $49/person. To ask about group rates for parties of 4 or more, just email

If you want your external communications (rack cards, event calendars, newsletters, invitations, press releases, signage, and more) to be clear and useful, then you need to learn how to do a simple audit. Great for the smallest and the largest libraries, and all those in between!

If you cannot attend live on 2 April, the LibraryWorks team will email you the handout and a link to the recorded webinar. But first, you need to register!  

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Promote Your Library During Quarantine

On March 26, I gave a special, free webinar and I'm sharing the handout with everyone here. 

"Why and How to Promote Your Online Services During the Quarantine"

The webinar was recorded, and is available here for free:

Note that this is free for anyone around the world; you simply have to sign up for Library 2.0 (just your name and email).

There are 4 webinars this afternoon in this "Special Pandemic Mini Conference" -- see them all at the link above.

Deep thanks to PCI Webinars and Library 2.0 managers for quickly putting together this practical, useful, comforting, community-building, safe-to-attend, online mini conference. Go check out their other offerings, some of which are free during this time.

Stay well everyone! Scroll down for my handout...

Library 2.0 and PCI Webinars, March 26, 2020

Special Pandemic Mini Conference

"Why and How to Promote Your Online Services During the Quarantine"

Kathy Dempsey, Libraries Are Essential


The Perfect Video from New Brunswick (NJ) Free Public Library:

Angela Hursh, Super Library Marketing blog:

Angela Hursh, Super Library Marketing vodcast: Self-Care for Library Social Media Staff in the Midst of a Crisis like #COVID-19:

"COVID-19 Resources for Medical Librarians & Other Health Information Professionals" from the Medical Library Assoc.:

Crisis Communication Plans article:

EveryLibrary articles to share with the public:

Google Ad Grants info:

Google Ad Grants FAQs from a Google Certified Partner, Koios:

"How to Advocate for Closing the Library" by PC Sweeney, Library Journal. 3/24/20:

Make your own Keep Calm posters:

News Literacy Project, COVID-19 Misinformation:

Online Storytimes: Members of the Screen Actors Guild reading books on YouTube:

WebJunction post:

Publishers Offering Free Electronic Resources

Organizational Statements

IMLS blog post:

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Share Info on COVID-19, Quickly & Easily

I see an opportunity for libraries around the world to spread real, true medical information, quickly and easily. 

As the coronavirus spreads around the world, so does misinformation and panic. Libraries and librarians of all types are already seen as trustworthy sources of information. Let's take advantage of that positive perception and help spread useful news. 

A screen capture from an article in The Economist:

Of course you can do that by sharing info from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other, more local medical authorities. These could take the form of social posts, blog / news posts, fliers, website banners, etc. But I see a faster and easier way.

If and when your library starts to cancel events and programs, explain exactly why that matters and how it will help. 

Explain to your patrons that you're not giving in to panic, but that your cancellations are following the proven concept of "social distancing." The idea is to keep people from spreading a disease in large crowds. Slowing the spread (even if it is inevitable) keeps the number of infected people lower across time. This prevents medical systems from being overwhelmed all at once, and also buys time to obtain and distribute necessary supplies. The chart above illustrates the concept.

When you announce closures, program cancellations, etc., do not just say "due to the coronavirus outbreak." Instead, explain how keeping people from congregating will slow down the spread and make it easier for the medical community to keep up with cases.

Share the chart above (and cite the original in The Economist: or a similar chart from

Also share info like this: 

The Washington Post: "Social distancing could buy U.S. valuable time against coronavirus." March 10, 2020.

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Fact Sheet: "Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health During an Infectious Disease Outbreak: Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation." Dec. 2014. Downloadable PDF.

NewsGuard: "Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center." A list of websites publishing false coronavirus information, organized by country. Updated often.

And of course, follow these marketing best practices: 

  • Create standard messaging and train every library employee to use it, or to refer questions to an approved spokesperson. 
  • Share the standard message across all your channels.
  • Have a crisis communication plan in place.

Prove that, as always, 
librarians share true, trustworthy info. 

A screenshot from a late-night TV roundup
on (US)

    ** After reading all this, you might need a little levity. Enjoy this compilation of late-night comedians commenting on the coronavirus (Thanks to The Guardian). 

Friday, February 07, 2020

Enter the 2020 PR Xchange Competition

logos of ALA and LLAMA

It's that time again -- time to enter the PR Xchange Awards Competition. The deadline is April 1. 

Then choose your best PR materials in any of these 5 categories: 
1. External Communications (newsletters, calendars, patron orientation materials, email marketing)

2. Advocacy / Fundraising / Annual Reports /Strategic Plans

3. Special Events and Exhibits

4. Reading Programs (Summer, or any season)

5. Materials promoting collections, services, resources (booklists, bibliographies, signs, postcards, flyers, swag)

Finally, fill in one of these submission forms, depending on what you're entering: 

Remember, enter by April 1 to win a snazzy certificate and to boost your library's standing. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Learn About Merchandising

Library Journal recently published an article that's chock-full of good info about merchandising. Find it here. 

bundles of children's books tied together and displayed on tiered shelving
"Book bundles" can speed
 transactions and increase circ.

Author Erica Freudenberger pulled together a great deal of information and advice from many people in the field -- including Yours Truly. (My first comment comes just after the subheading, Start at the Welcome Mat, and more of my recommendations are sprinkled throughout the article.)

LJ even used some of my merchandising photos, including the one you see here. 

However, merchandising is about much more than just nice-looking displays. It affects your library's brand. It can increase circulation. It can heighten the user experience. 

The Dec. 30 feature article has lots of good advice, and so do I. I've been giving webinars and conference sessions on merchandising for years, and they're always very popular and well-attended. 

I can help your library take its merchandising to the next level. Contact me to schedule a workshop or webinar!  

Friday, September 13, 2019

A Podcast Interview

screenshot of Dempsey's episode of the Library Leadership Podcast
Recently, I had the honor of being interviewed on the Library Leadership Podcast, which is run by Adriane Herrick Juarez, the Executive Director of the Park City Library in Utah. 

You can find my episode, #38, here

Adriane and I talk about various topics in our 28-minute interview:
  • Why library marketing deserves funding
  • How to get library messages noticed despite people being overwhelmed by all the information that's pushed at them
  • How to do email marketing without invading patron privacy
  • Why I'm so passionate about libraries

So while you're commuting, cooking, or relaxing, please have a listen! 

There are many more interesting guests and topics at the Library Leadership Podcast, discussing marketing and other topics. The podcast is sponsored by Emporia State University's School of Library and Information ManagementTune in! 

Monday, July 22, 2019

Do People Still Need Libraries? YES, and Here's Why

It's an old question, and it's a shame people are still asking it. But they are.
Here's a good reply to share when someone asks you:
Do we still need libraries when everything is on the internet? 

Nice work by the folks at Origin of Everything!

Friday, May 31, 2019

Thoughts From 25 Years in Library Marketing

gold pin that says "25 years of service"
May 3, 2019, marked 25 years since I was hired as editor of Marketing Library Services. That’s a big anniversary! I was going to pen a rushed post a few weeks ago just to get it online for the actual date, but I decided to reflect for a while first. So here are my thoughts about being in the library marketing field over a span of 25 years.

In the Beginning …
I still remember my interviews with the president of a library-centric publishing company in Medford, NJ, Tom Hogan, Sr. Back in 1994, the publishing company’s name was Learned Information, and my name was Kathy Miller. I liked the small-town and small-company atmosphere. Tom liked that I had a journalism degree, years of editorial experience, and 5+ years as a para-professional in academic and public libraries. Soon, I was officially on board. Over the years, the company name changed to Information Today, Inc. and my name changed to Kathy Dempsey.

I took on two primary jobs at Learned Information: I edited books for that growing division, and I became the new editor of Marketing Library Services newsletter. At that time, MLS was in its 7th volume.

During my first years as editor, I oversaw changes in the frequency and focus of the newsletter, but I won’t detail that here. The full history is in a chapter I wrote for this book: Marketing Library and Information Services: International Perspectives, edited on behalf of IFLA by Dinesh Gupta, Christie Koontz, Àngles Massísimo, and Réjean Savard. (Munich: KG Saur, 2006) My invited chapter, “Marketing Library Services Newsletter: An Overview,” covered MLS’s history from its beginnings through 2004. So that chapter also discussed my first 10 years in library marketing.

I wrote about the next decade in a post here on The M Word blog: “20 Years of Work, 20 Reasons to Subscribe To Marketing Library Services Newsletter.” As I said in that May 2014 post:
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.")
3 different MLS issues side by side. very old, 2000s, recent

What’s in a Word?
Now, in 2019, fewer library employees think of “marketing” as a dirty word, but there are still some holdouts. Over the past 5 to 8 years, we’ve started to view the word a little differently, but still not in the way I’d like.

It’s funny to me how people in our field have embraced concepts like outreach and advocacy, and how they’ve gotten so wrapped up in social media promotion. It’s funny because all of those things are parts of marketing, but not many people or publications acknowledge that. They embrace the pieces, but ignore the whole.

Some librarians still don’t like to think about “marketing,” and they don’t create marketing plans, and they don’t work strategically. But boy, they’re eager to design colorful posters, share social media memes, and sign petitions to rally for funding. I wish they’d realize that accepting “marketing,” doing some market research, and crafting strategic plans to organize all their one-off efforts would make their work more effective.

All About Education
For 25 years now, I’ve been trying to educate all levels of library workers, to move the needle in that direction. I’ve been working in numerous ways: 
  •  I educate professionals via MLS, by publishing case studies of great marketing initiatives, highlighting best practices, and sharing news.
  •  In 2005, I started my own library marketing consulting company called Libraries Are Essential. Organizations hire me to do marketing consulting and training, and I’ve been speaking at conferences all over North America.
  •  I also started a Facebook page for Libraries Are Essential, intending it as a fun place for marketing info and discussions. However, so many non-librarians followed the page (due to its name) that I changed my strategy and made it a public-facing account. Now, every day I post a story, photo, article, or something to showcase the goodness of libraries to people all over the world. (Today there are nearly 5,800 followers of my LAE Facebook page.)
  •  Since 2008, I’ve been blogging here at The M Word, though not as often as I should. Nancy Dowd had started this blog years earlier and invited me to join; now she’s retired and it’s just me.
  •  In 2009, I published my book, The Accidental Library Marketer. That massive undertaking allowed me to organize all the knowledge in my head and share it with others. I hoped it would get the whole industry up to speed on the basics of True Marketing:
    author Kathy Dempsey holding her book, The Accidental Library Marketer
    research and segmentation, writing plans, then working on promotion and assessment. I created my website for Libraries Are Essential then too, where I posted my Cycle of True Marketing for everyone to share. (I need to make time to update my site at!) The book sold really well, and it’s being used as a textbook in a handful of MLIS courses. 

Sadly, that’s still not been enough to help librarians everywhere to do excellent, strategic marketing and promotion.

Public Perception
The national situation has improved somewhat in terms of what peers understand about marketing and what they’ve accomplished. But even as that improves, new challenges arise.

The main challenges, the ones that keep me up at night, have been the internet and anti-tax sentiments. The ubiquity of the internet has given much of the public the wrong impression—that “everything” is online for free, so nobody needs libraries anymore. In more recent years, the fiscally conservative, anti-tax crusaders, who also believe public libraries are unnecessary, have become proactive about voting against the levies that fund them.

Both of these problems highlight the fact that the general public still does not understand what libraries are in the 21st century, and they don’t grasp the myriad benefits of using them (and supporting them with usage and funding). OCLC’s original Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources report—the one that warned us that people around the globe still think of libraries as being about books, first and foremost—came out in 2005 (pg. 3-1 / pg. 83 of the PDF).

cover of the 2010 OCLC report, Perceptions of Libraries
Yet, we still haven’t succeeded in changing those perceptions. OCLC’s follow-up report, Perceptions of Libraries, 2010: Context and Community, revealed that the library brand was still “books” (pg. 38 / pg. 23 of the PDF). Unfortunately, the situation was even worse: 

In 2005, most Americans (69%) said “books” is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the library. In 2010, even more, 75%, believe that the library brand is books.
Things like this made me feel as if my 2 decades of work in marketing had barely scratched the surface of what needed to be done. I think it’s necessary to train more library staffers about what marketing really means and how doing it the right way can benefit their institutions by bringing users in, quieting the naysayers, and ensuring better funding.

The Past 5 Years
So over the past 5 years, I’ve kept working toward that, in new and bigger ways. The most significant thing I did to change the landscape was to take over a faltering conference and reboot it to become a nationally recognized and valued event. In this blog, I wrote about how I led a group of volunteers that created the first Library Marketing and Communications Conference in 2015.

logo and wordmark of the Library Marketing and Communications ConferenceI continued to chair LMCC in 2016 and 2017, as the event grew in recognition and popularity. After 3 years of hard work, I stepped down and left LMCC in the capable hands of a new nonprofit, the Library Marketing and Communications Group. The LMC Group continues to work with Amigos Library Services, which played a vital role in getting LMCC started. I covered our accomplishments in this M Word post.

The board and new chair held yet another sold-out event in November 2018 (more than 400 attendees!). As I traveled home from that last fall, I felt certain that LMCC was well-established, and that it will continue for the foreseeable future. While I certainly didn’t do the work alone, I’m incredibly proud of LMCC, and view it as my most important achievement to date—a legacy I’m leaving for the library world.

Yet, in the midst of that success, another OCLC report emerged. From Awareness to Funding: Voter Perceptions and Support of Public Libraries in 2018, showed us that people’s knowledge of libraries is still sorely lacking. One of the key findings, which appears right in the Summary Report, says, “there continues to be a disconnect between the services libraries offer and public awareness and support for those services.”

Again, I felt like the field hadn’t made much progress at all. But I know it has. Colleagues consistently say that more libraries now have people in marketing positions, even if they’re only part-time. And it seems that libraries have been starting to hire experienced marketers for those jobs. That’s still a debate in our field: Is it better to hire marketers / PR people and teach them about libraries, or is it better to hire librarians and teach them about marketing / PR? I know the learning curve can be steep either way. But given the fact that we’re not making much headway in terms of educating potential end users about what libraries can do for them, I personally vote to go with marketing pros for marketing jobs. We need all the help we can get.

So what else have I done in the most recent 5 years? With more time on my hands after leaving LMCC, I’ve renewed my focus in two areas—writing and speaking.

First, I’ve published more in the last few years than I have in quite some time. The history of library marketing has been on my mind, as I’ve been looking back to help me look ahead. I’ve been fortunate and honored to have been invited to contribute these substantial pieces to the library literature: 
  • Documentation et Bibliothèques (a French-language journal produced in Montreal for librarians in Canada and France). April–June 2017, v. 63, #2. Issue theme: “Marketing libraries and other information services: the state of the art in the digital era.” My 19-page paper, “The evolution of marketing in American libraries,” was translated to French: “L’évolution du marketing dans les bibliothèques américaines.” Print only.
an open magazine spread showing a paper by Kathy Dempsey

  • Library and Book Trade Almanac (formerly The Bowker Annual). 2018 edition. Based on my French paper, I penned a 14-page Special Report titled “The State of Marketing in Libraries.” Print only.
  • Information Outlook (SLA’s magazine, full issue for members only). Sept./Oct. 2018. Issue theme: “Communicating Your Library’s Mission.” My 3-page article is “Five Tactics to Help You Communicate Your Mission.” Single article available here.
  • Marketing Libraries Journal (open-access, peer-reviewed, scholarly journal). v. 3, #1, Winter 2019. Using my pieces from D et B and LBTA as a foundation, I did more research, rewrote in academic style, and passed double-blind peer review. My year of work resulted in a 10,000-word paper with 50+ citations: “An Historical Overview of Marketing in U.S. Libraries: From Dana to Digital.” Online only, free.

photo of Kathy Dempsey speaking at a conferenceThe second activity I’ve been focusing on is speaking at conferences and training events. This has been a staple for me for decades, but the frequency has increased in the last few years.

One big change I’ve seen in library continuing education is the shift from face-to-face events to online ones. While few things can beat the energy and excitement of being in a room with 50 library peers, or in a building with hundreds or thousands, I’ve got to say that I’ve learned to love the simplicity of webinars. Not having to make travel plans or get on airplanes is a big plus. Webinars make continuing education easier all around, for organizers, speakers, and attendees, and they’re even archived for later usage.

During 2018, I think I presented 15 webinars. This year, which isn’t even halfway over yet, I’ve already given 14, with more planned for the fall. There are a few groups I speak for regularly, and there are always one-time clients. This has become an efficient way to deliver training, but I wish I could address all librarians at once. Sometimes I get tired of teaching the same basic information.

What’s Next?
I’m still impatient about getting everyone up to speed on marketing, promotion, PR, communication, media relations, and related topics. Libraries’ respect and funding is still at risk across America, and in other countries as well. So I’ll keep working.

What’s next? I’m not entirely sure yet. I do, however, have some ideas for rebooting Marketing Library Services to increase its usefulness and readership. I’d also like to advocate to have marketing classes become core pieces of library-school curricula.

Since a mere handful of MLIS-granting universities even offer marketing as an elective, getting it taught everywhere—and making it a required class—would be an uphill battle. But with so many people discussing “outreach,” “branding,” “advocacy,” and those other terms under the “marketing” umbrella, I hope The Powers That Be realize that it’s all marketing already. If they treated it as such, and taught it consistently, all types of libraries would be better prepared to face communication challenges, to change public perception, and to fight for funding.

logo of Koios
There is one thing I started doing very recently that could have a more-immediate impact. I’ve been helping a search engine marketing vendor called Koios spread the word about an amazing opportunity. Google has a program that gives nonprofits $10,000/month in advertising credit, enabling them to run campaigns that place their ads at the top of search results. This allows librarians to advertise anything (services, e-resources, events) for free and appear where everyone is looking. Koios helps librarians get these Google Ad Grants and set them up with a free trial. Afterward, a library can administer the perpetual grant on its own, or hire Koios experts to run the campaigns. This altruistic endeavor is already helping put libraries on equal footing with for-profit businesses, reaching the public at their point of need.

While I and others who fight for libraries have made major strides in the last quarter century, we still have a long way to go. Helping librarians communicate their value to stakeholders and to potential users, and helping libraries stay open and funded, is vital for having an educated populace and a true democracy.
headshot of Kathy Dempsey holding a copy of Marketing Library Services newsletter

As I often say, “I’ve devoted my career to helping libraries maintain their respect and funding.” Please join my quest!

Look for my next major update in 5 or 10 years. I intend to have more progress to report by then.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Estevez Movie, 'The Public', Comes Out This Spring!

A scene from the official trailer:
I was so excited to read this news today: Emilio Estevez's movie about working in a public library has been picked up and will be out this spring! I got the good news from Deadline Hollywood.

The Public is a unique film that Estevez wrote, directed, and co-starred in. Here's part of the description: 
The story revolves around the library patrons, many of whom are homeless, mentally ill and marginalized, as well as an exhausted and overwhelmed staff of librarians who often build emotional connections and a sense of obligation to care for those regular patrons. At odds with library officials over how to handle the extreme weather event, the patrons turn the building into a homeless shelter for the night by staging an "Occupy" sit in. 
I was lucky enough to see a preview of this film last summer at the American Library Association's Annual Conference. Read my review in Marketing Library Services. (It contains links to background info on the movie and interviews with Estevez.) The Public made me laugh, and cry.

I took this shot of Estevez (center) with library colleagues
when The Public was first previewed at ALA in June 2018.
If you like and value libraries; if you have ever worked in a library (or just wanted to); you'll want to see this well-researched, well-made film. Watch for it to come to your area! 

I really appreciate that Emilio Estevez made this film to highlight the plight of public libraries and marginalized citizens. Bravo! 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Enter IFLA's International Marketing Contest by 18 January

Last-minute reminder: 
Enter by 18 January to win the annual IFLA PressReader International Library Marketing Award!

This is the richest international award for library marketing. The top 3 winners get prize money to use for travel, accommodations, and registration to attend IFLA's World Library and Information Congress! The prize money for travel is:

First place – 3000 euros
Second place – 2000 euros
Third place – 1500 euros

The Award is also recognizes marketing efforts by a developing country with fewer resources with a special commendation.

The award application closes 18th of January 2019, so apply now!

This annual award is handled by the IFLA Section on Management and Marketing. This year, M and M welcomes a new sponsor, PressReader, an app that lets subscribers "Read your favorite newspapers and magazines anywhere at any time." PressReader offers access to newspapers and magazines from thousands of publishers in more than 100 countries. Thank you, PressReader, for your generous support!

Find all entry details here. Good luck, Bonne chance, Viel glück, Buena suerte, удачи, 祝好运, حظا سعيدا ! 

Friday, November 09, 2018

New Marketing Award -- the LIMMYs

I'm delighted to tell you about a new award in the library marketing space! 

The Library Marketing Technology Innovation Awards, or LIMMYs for short, is a contest that U.S. public libraries of all sizes and shapes can enter. The deadline is a week away -- November 16, 2018.

Details are on the award website, which also links to the application page.

Libraries can enter more than once, and there are four  categories, which are detailed on the website:

These awards were recently conceived and set up by the vendor behind Patron Point, a marketing automation technology tool. It's a different sort of award -- it's not for a project you've already done, but for an idea you have. The winner will get support from Patron Point to implement the idea. As the website explains: 
This is your opportunity to come up with great ideas on how marketing automation technology can assist your library.
We will take the best proposals, work with you to implement them in a real-world environment, and test their potential.
The winning ideas will be recognized and presented at the national level and you could win a great prize for your library.
The Grand Prize is a free 1-year subscription to Patron Point and a $1,500 stipend for travel and registration to the 2019 ALA Annual Conference being held in Washington, D.C. in June. Runners-up will get a 50% discount on a 1-year subscription to Patron Point. 

There's also a blog post that discusses the new contest. The shortlist is scheduled to be announced Dec. 12, and the top winner will be named May 8, 2019.

There's no time to waste -- check out this opportunity and enter by November 16! 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Join Me for a Webinar on Merchadising

If you're not sure what "merchandising" is all about, please join me for a webinar I'm presenting on Thursday, October 4.

Merchandising is a tactic borrowed from retail shops. It's more than just making displays -- it's purposeful and strategic. During this hour-long event, you'll learn the difference between tired old displays and effective merchandising. You'll see lots of colorful photos from libraries around the world, and will get a useful handout that lists important guidelines and shares links to further information.

This activity can help the inside and outside of your library look more inviting. It can help differentiate various sections of your building. And it can increase circulation and usage at all types of libraries! It's also creative and fun to do.

Sign up here, at LibraryWorks. The live webinar will be at 2pm Eastern US time on October 4. If you cannot attend live, still register, and you'll be sent a recording of the event. Anyone around the world is welcome to attend. The individual fee is $49, and there are group rates as well.

This webinar is fun as well as educational, and it's one of my favorites to present. I hope you'll join me next week!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Public Libraries as 'Social Infrastructure'

Important thoughts from the National Public Radio show Marketplace:
Eric Klinenberg calls libraries and parks "social infrastructure." They're spaces and organizations that shape the way people interact. His new book Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life tells us how public institutions can not only enrich our day-to-day lives, but can save lives. He talked to Sabri Ben-Achour on Marketplace Morning Report.
Listen to the 3-minute interview: 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Five Reports to Inform U.S. Marketing Efforts

A handful of reports released this year offer useful data for marketing and PR planning in the U.S. Knowing your audience is vital, and while you always need good local information, it also helps to see the big picture. These five publications reveal data from across the U.S. for public and academic librarians.

If my overseas readers know of similar reports from their own countries, please share the title and link in the Comment section so others can benefit too. Thank you! 

OCLC Reports on Marketing Communications Field
OCLC conducted a survey of U.S. public librarians and asked about their marketing concerns and barriers, communication channels, how they use email marketing, and more. The company is now sharing the resulting data in a new report, “US Public Libraries: Marketing and Communications Landscape.”
cover of reportThe survey’s results confirm that libraries do a lot with limited resources, that there’s a focus on social media, and that libraries’ work does increase community awareness about their offerings.
Findings show that 96% of those surveyed use social media, and 84% post photos, videos, or library information on social media. In addition, 70% send email messages. And while 71% say they don’t have the necessary staff resources, it's good to see that 25% do have marketing professionals on staff.
The report is full of infographics, and is available for free downloading

ACRL Reveals Academic Trends and Stats
cover of report
The Association of College & Research Libraries has released “2017 Academic Library Trends & Statistics,” the latest in a series of annual publications that describe the collections, staffing, expenditures, and service activities of academic libraries. It includes data from 1,719 institutions.
The 2017 data can be used for budgeting, strategic planning, annual reports, grant applications, and benchmarking. The report costs $599 (or $539 for ALA members). Learn more here. 
Those who buy the print edition will receive a complimentary 1-year subscription to the 2017 survey data that’s available through ACRL Metrics, an online subscription service that provides access to the ACRL survey data from 1999–2017.

IMLS Releases Annual Public Library Data from Fiscal 2015
cover of report
The Institute of Museum and Library Services has released “Public Libraries in the United States: Fiscal Year 2015.” Referred to as the “Public Libraries Survey” (PLS), it examines key indicators of library use, financial health, staffing, and resources.
It summarizes the reported data provided by 98% of public libraries and outlets in the U.S., which means approximately 9,000 public library systems, comprising more than 17,000 individual main libraries, branches, and bookmobiles in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.
Download the PDF for free from this site

NoveList Offers Free White Paper on Email Marketing
NoveList,a division of EBSCO and maker of the LibraryAware promotional platform, has gathered research to create a free white paper titled “I Didn’t Know My Library Had That!” The colorful, easy-to-skim paper is full of tips and tactics.
cover of report
A web page headlined “Connecting with Readers through Email” features information on how librarians can achieve more-effective marketing by sending email that is customized for and targeted to specific market segments. The page also features two different webinars in which NoveList clients discuss how these strategies worked for them, as well as links to sample outreach materials and tips.
The white paper and accompanying resources are meant to help solve the problem of patrons saying, “I didn’t know the library had that!” NoveList wants to help enable simple, targeted email blasts to let community members know about seldom-used resources.

Landmark Report--‘From Awareness to Funding: Voter Perceptions and Support of Public Libraries’--Updated in 2018
cover of report
OCLC joined PLA and ALA’s Office for Library Advocacy to publish an updated version of a landmark report from 2008. Now marketers can use the fresh data in “From Awareness to Funding: Voter Perceptions and Support of Public Libraries in 2018.” The research covers voters’ perceptions of, usage of, and attitudes about public libraries, as well as their thoughts about librarians and funding.
As with the previous report, the new one relies on survey data from Leo Burnett Worldwide. The firm used the same questions and segmentation analysis to enable comparison with 2008 results.
The main findings include both good and bad news. On the good side, a majority of U.S. voters believe public libraries are essential to their communities. However, there is still low public awareness of many library services, pointing to the need for better marketing and promotional work.
The full report, a summary, an infographic, and more resources are available here