Saturday, December 19, 2009

Marketing Trends to Watch

An article included on my marketing trends bibliography; highly recommended.

Marketing Trends to Watch, LibraryJournal

Taking the "library" out of library marketing?

Maybe what prevents people from using or supporting libraries is that they are called, well, libraries. Perhaps a marketing strategy that takes the "library" out of library marketing and shifts it to services only and is in order. More to come.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Image, advertising, and "professionals"

After reading a few Library Journal letters ("Professional sans LIS", Feedback, LJ, 5/1/09, p.10 and "Defining 'professional', Feedback, 7/09, p. 11) and two articles ("The LIS Placement Gap", LJ, BlatantBerry, 7/09, p. 10 and "MLS: Hire Ground", LJ, 6/1/09, p. 44-46) about "professional" librarians vs. paraprofessionals doing "some" librarian work (and thinking about my own experience with this controversial hierarchy), I realized that this HAS to be one of the reasons that library marketing has such a difficult time streamlining itself as a field. (Obviously these aren't new any means!)

If we can't even decide on who does what and if that's okay, how can we ever present the public with a singular vision and idea about our profession? That uncertainty (and probably even annoyance/anger/toes-stepped-on-feeling) will undoubtedly come out through our marketing...even if we have top-notch marketing for our libraries, staff that are confused about their roles won't be able to genuinely follow through with our projected image/services.

I really do agree that there is a lot of confusion amongst employees and the public about the role of a librarian and that can do nothing good for all. I really, really wish there was something I/we could do to change that, since so many other "professional" fields have clearly defined boundaries.

I think librarians are in a unique position since so many are understaffed and everyone has to do "everything". Besides wondering how to draw lines (if need be), how can we prevent this "professional confusion" from seeping into our marketing and hindering our efforts?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Library marketing outside of public libraries

I'd be interested to know about how specialized libraries are handling library marketing. While I did uncover quite a few great articles about medical library outreach, I'd be interested in hearing from people who have been involved in marketing for non-public libraries.

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February 9 - 10, 2010

If it's happening in Kenya...

Something funny: a cursory search resulted in an article about marketing library services in Kenya. Check out the reasons cited for the need of marketing in university libraries:
We can identify four basic reasons why university libraries in Kenya need to adapt a strategic marketing approach:

1. (1) declining level of budgetary support;
2. (2) increased competition from other sources of information such as the Internet;
3. (3) changes in educational system; and
4. (4) changes in information technology (Kavulya 2003).
This article also mentions that fund reduction was because (in summary) stakeholders were "receiving no direct personal benefit from library collections". Sounds familiar.

Seems like the same problems are occurring worldwide, and NOT just in Africa. Though the author acknowledges that the "concept of library marketing is not new", he also says that: "Most of the schools of library and information science do not have curriculum courses and units of study in this area of specialisation within librarianship and where they exist they are not part of the core courses."

I can safely conclude that this is strong reasoning for adding more educational training to LIS programs. I am also questioning why these same complaints keep being made, year after year, by libraries all around the world. I definitely don't limit my interest to library marketing in the States. It's an epidemic! More later. Comments welcome.

On a lighter note, we're talking about Kenya. Besides libraries in Kenya, there's lions!

Resources would be nice!

Let me add that I'll be routinely searching the literature (both peer-reviewed and not) for articles to share and support my opinions. They might be of interest to many of you...there's a wealth of literature out there that could really help (or at least be enlightening).