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Success Stories

  • Libraries matter - Check out their brilliant wristband idea and the library success stories on the site.
  • IFLA Success Stories Database International Federation of Library Associations has set up a database that aims to showcase the value of libraries to society as a whole.
  • OhioLINK Marketing Toolkit OhioLINK's forum for sharing marketing success stories.
  • Your Library : Inspiration for all New Zealanders - The MetroNet group of New Zealand public libraries has commissioned the creation of a national television campaign, that will be screened from 03 July to 28 August 2005. The campaign uses notable and successful New Zealanders to support all public libraries as warm and intellectual destinations. No specific libraries are referred to, but the campaign ends with the phrase "Your Libraries: On Site, On Line". The objective is to increase the profile and usage of New Zealand public libraries through conveying the promise that they are modern, on trend, relevant and inspiring.
  • St. Charles Library Cart Capades Bookettes - A crazy group of librarians from Illinois who push carts down windy streets for fun.
  • YouTube Book Trailers - What an interesting way to get people interested in reading! Book trailers are like movie trailers, but for books! You can find them all over the internet now, but here is a site that's featuring them on YouTube.

Marketing Plans

  • @ your library

Comprehensive marketing toolkit for academic and research libraries from ALA

  • Sample marketing plan from American University
  • Sample plan from Rutgers
  • Sample plan from University of Colorado Boulder
  • Ideas of great marketing plan from the Winners of the John Cotton Dana awards given by American Library Association every year.

Marketing Tips

The St. Charles Library (IL) has discovered a great community marketing tool - synchronized book cart pushing. The Bookettes are extremely popular at all local parades, and have even been invited by the students to participate in the high school homecoming parades. It is a great way to develop a following AND keep the library at the forefront of the community. Tips: 1) organize early and keep the routine simple the first year; 2) have fun! 3) call the press and invite them to a practice, then get your photo on the front page of the newspaper; 3) create a theme, wear the same color shirts and/or decorate the carts; 4) make sure your wheels are on tight.

In a corporate library setting, a newsletter distributed by e-mail is an excellent way to market your library, particularly if your library serves several offices or departments in different locations. Some tips for a successful newsletter: 1) Keep it short and snappy; think about the average attention span of someone most likely experiencing e-mail overload. 2) Feature some members of your staff in each edition and don’t be afraid to include a photograph and/or a brief personal profile. Since so many information transactions are done electronically, adding a personal touch is a great way to make a connection. 3) Highlight a success story. Did the information you provided help someone win an account or contribute significantly to the company’s business? Tell people how. If the person you helped is willing to give a quote, even better! 4) Reiterate that you are here to help and encourage questions and feedback.

Check out GREAT DISPLAYS FOR YOUR LIBRARY STEP BY STEP by Susan P. Phillips. Published in 2008 by McFarland Publishing, this book includes 46 display ideas that will facilitate marketing your library. Each display includes background on the topic, the genesis and specific procedures for mounting. Categories include: Getting Ready, Authors, Pop Culture, Genres, Traditions, Patriotism, Art & Architecture, Cultures, People, Nature, Pastimes and The Mind. Ideas for expanding the display for larger spaces are included along with 77 topics for futures displays. School Library Journal June, 2008 review states "Phillips enthusiasm, creativity, and breadth of personal interests are evident throughout this book."

General Tips for Effective Marketing and Outreach

This wiki addresses ways to use technology for marketing and outreach in libraries. We're referring to marketing and outreach in a very broad sense: promoting and encouraging the use of services, raising awareness, and simply getting services to users where they are. Please add as you see fit!

  • Marketing and promotional materials (whether they're using technology or not) aren't just about convincing patrons to use a certain service. It can also be about changing attitudes. For more on this, check out Promotion: It's not just for stuff by Jill Stover Heinze.
  • Keep in mind that sometimes no amount of marketing and outreach is effective if the service or product being promoted is not something that your users want. Marketing and outreach is important; but the most important thing is creating relevant services designed by engaging in dialogue with your users.

Blogs/Websites to Watch

  • Info*Nation - a website designed to promote the library and information professions in Canada (CLA)
  • Info Today Marketing Library Services - a pay-subscription newsletter. Selected free articles, very timely and practical
  • Library Marketing - Thinking Outside the Book - great blog by Jill Stover.
  • Marketing the Library - a self-paced web-based training from the Ohio Library Council.
  • Marketing Treasures - The free electronic newsletter with marketing ideas for information professionals. Published the 3rd Wednesday of each month, it is written by a librarian who is also a library marketing consultant. 12 years of back issues are available as PDF files on the Marketing Treasures web site. There are lots of ideas, resources, and practical advice for library and information service marketers.
  • Market Your Library from Thomson/Gale
  • Promote Your Library
  • Smartest Card Campaign (PLA) - Goal: To make the library card the most valued and used card in every wallet!
  • Why and How to Use Blogs to Promote Your Library's Services by Darlene Fichter in Marketing Library Services from November/December 2003
  • The M Word Blog- Marketing ideas, tips and trends for librarians
  • Market the Future- Hip, visual marketing ideas for libraries and non profits

Specific Blog Posts/Articles to Check Out

  • Marylaine Block's Ex Libris has an ongoing series Profit, and Provocation: Library Promotion for the Over-Educated by Tia Dobi. Link is to Part 7 (July 1, 2005); see also the six earlier parts.
  • O'Keefe, Claudia. "Publicity 101: How to Promote Your Library's Next Event." American Libraries Vol. 36 No. 6 June/July 2005, 52-55. This article includes a particularly useful sidebar on writing a compelling press release. If you are an ALA member, you can view this article on the American Libraries site by searching the archive and using the ebrary reader.
  • McCracken, Linda D. and Zeiher, Lynne. The Library Book Cart Precision Drill Team Manual. McFarland & Company. 168 pages.
  • Reaching Patrons: Online Outreach for Public Libraries is a slideshow presentation by Sarah Houghton-Jan with a 20-point checklist. It emphasizes libraries going to the new online locations to find clientel.
  • Libraries, Retail, and Feel Good Marketing A discussion about what is good and what is annoying.

Technology in Outreach

Social Media

Social media has been used for marketing and outreach in libraries for some time now, but librarians and professionals in other fields continue to explore ways in which to use them most effectively. With that in mind, refer to the sources below for effective and creative uses of various social media tools for marketing and outreach. Also, check out these tips on generalized best practices for Social Media:

  • Social Media Best Practices for Libraries by Kasia Grabowska; posted on "Tame the Web". This post offers great bite-sized tips for using social media effectively. A few examples? Consider social media as a way to engage users in conversations, not just broadcast information; use trackable links (like so you can see what users are responding to when you post links--this is a good assessment tool.
  • Make it easy for your users to share what they like about your services. Use widgets like ShareThis or AddThis so your users can easily share resources in your catalog, upcoming events, or library news. test


  • Blog Outreach - Still an Effective Strategy? by Jenni Brand, CEO of Bastille Marketing. Brand offers an interesting, non-library perspective on "blogger outreach" -- the process of identifying other institutions' blogs to promote your products/services and how to pitch your products/services to them successfully for inclusion.

RSS Feeds

RSS is a family of XML file formats used to track content updates on websites, blogs, databases, etc. By subscribing to "feeds," users can access new content through a reader or aggregator, as opposed to visiting each site of interest individually. For a great, plain-language introduction to RSS Feeds, check out the RSS: In Plain English Youtube video.

RSS feeds can be used to market library services, reach out to constituents, and connect patrons to collections. The RSS page on Library Success, a Best Practices Wiki lists a number of institutions using RSS to connect patrons with new materials in their collections, as well as a handful of institutions offering RSS feeds for their Events Calendars.

Promoting and teaching patrons about RSS feeds is an excellent way to assist patrons with managing their information, and also provides a convenient way to encourage patrons to start following feeds produced by your library. It's important for librarians to be aware of the current RSS readers/aggregators available. In the past, two of the most popular readers were Google Reader and Bloglines.

For information on creative uses of RSS Feeds in University libraries, check out the blog RSS4Lib. (In fact, subscribe to its RSS feed!)


There is not much debate these days as to whether or not libraries should have a presence on Facebook -- the question now is how to utilize Facebook most effectively. The authors in the articles and blog posts below offer their opinions.

  • Libraries: Facebook Group, Fan Page or Friend Your Librarian? by The Krafty Librarian


  • How to use Twitter for Marketing and PR. Good post from Hubspot, an internet marketing company.
  • 10 Ways Twitter Will Make You a Better Employee, Better at Your Job and Benefit Your Library by Bobbi L. Newman (Librarian by Day)
  • Five Steps to build a Twitter Marketing Strategy from TopRank Online Marketing Blog.

Screencasting / YouTube

  • Online Tutorials (Screencasting) from [ Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki]. Excellent overview of available information on software packages and best practices. Pay special attention to the "Blogs/Websites to Watch" and the "Specific Blog Posts/Articles to Check Out."
  • A Quick Guide to Screencasting for Libraries posted on iLibrarian. Although a little dated (August 2008), this post provides a great overview of information on Screencasting, including best practices and various software programs for creating screencasts.



Foursquare is one of the newest forms of social media librarians are currently exploring, and folks are using it in a variety of ways. Generally, putting your library on Foursquare is almost guaranteed free marketing. Your students will be "checking in" to your library and, in many cases, sharing it with all of their friends on Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter. Since users can add tips/comments to any location, Foursquare offers a chance to hear what your users are saying (even if some of it is bad), and to engage with them through response.

  • Foursquare and Libraries -- Definitely Something There! by David Lee King.
  • Checking In: Location Services for Libraries by Melissa L. Rethlefsen
  • Foursquare: Why it may be the next Twitter from Mashable. This article was written in March of 2009. Although a bit dated, it gives a great overview of what Foursquare is (sans changes since the time it was written) and how it can be used.
  • Foursquare and the Vancouver Public Library by [dlbrows]

Gaming as Outreach

Check out what museums are doing

Museums often use innovative technologies for marketing and outreach. Most major museums (Smithsonian, Met, etc) have a strong presence in the majority of social media sites listed above.