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Forget About Marketing

Post by Nancy Dowd
Posted February 05, 2015 in

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I was so discouraged reading Cheryle LaGuardia's article, "Library Marketing. By Any Other Name" that I just wanted to scream. When did marketing change from letting people know about our services to something librarians face with such dread? 

Example of a reading map from the "For fans of Downton Abbey" kit.

I have an idea that maybe marketing departments are so involved in trying to create branding and messaging that librarians may not have witnessed how marketing can help them improve the results they are trying to achieve. But that's a conversation for another day.

For a minute, let's just forget about marketing and concentrate on trying to help folks know more about the services and resources you offer.Here at NoveList/LibraryAware we've been working on creating what we call Readers' Advisory packets as a way for libraries to conduct self-directed pathways that help customers find books that they'll enjoy. This strategy is easy to implement and extremely helpful for all those people who, for whatever reason, refuse to ask librarians for help. The idea is to create a pathway that will lead customers to discover new books that will interest them. 

The packets consist of four items:

  • Reading maps and flyers that visually suggest read-alikes
  • Signage for end caps to drive readers to look down the aisles
  • Shelf talkers that engage readers in the stacks
  • Bookmarks that patrons can take with them to add to their wish list

You can implement this strategy across your entire library or start with a specific genre. You could expand this strategy and invite folks to sign up to receive emails or post recommendations to your social media channels. But at the very least, by using these four items you will be promoting a key resource to increase circulation and engage customers.

And that is great marketing. 


Nancy Dowd is the Product Lead for LibraryAware. Her passion is helping libraries connect to their communities.