New Marketing Trends

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Let Me Tell You About Merchandising

Digital-screen display at the Library of Congress
Do you wonder what "merchandising" is all about? Do you think it's just for retail stores? Let me set the record straight!

Merchandising isn't just for stores; it's important for all types of libraries too. It can increase your foot traffic and your circulation. It's a great outlet for creative staffers. And it can be really fun!

On August 9, I'll be giving a webinar for the good folks at
As part of their Strategic Library Webinar series, I'll be presenting "Increasing Library Usage Through Strategic Merchandising." 

Learn more about this 1-hour webinar and register here. 

Here's what you'll learn in this fast-paced, super-visual webinar: 
* Why merchandising starts outside of the building 
* The difference between creating displays and doing merchandising 
* Strategies for increasing library usage and circulation  
* Simple, inexpensive, yet effective ways to improve your physical spaces  
* How merchandising, signage, and space design affect the user experience (UX) 

Anyone from around the world is welcome to participate. If you can't attend live on 9 August, you'll be sent a link to the recorded version. So you have no excuses to miss this -- sign up today! I promise it will be both educational and entertaining.

Also, see other archived and upcoming events in the Strategic Library Webinar Series here. Topics range from strategic planning to construction projects to staff competencies. Want to learn the latest? probably has it covered; look over the list.  

Friday, June 10, 2016

New 'Marketer of the Year' Award!

This morning I received very exciting news. Library Ideas, in conjunction with Library Journal, is sponsoring a brand new award: Marketer of the Year!

Library Journal will honor one library staffer or a library team with its first annual Marketer of the Year award in its October 1, 2016, issue. The award, sponsored by Library Ideas, comes with a $2,000 cash prize.
The award recognizes the importance of innovative approaches to marketing of library services, the role of marketing in building library engagement, and the value of quality marketing collateral to help build a vibrant sense of the library and define its relevance in the community. The award places a special emphasis on an individual (or team) working for a library who has instituted or reinvigorated a marketing strategy in the past two years that has:
  • had measurable impact on some aspect of the library’s use,
  • created a new understanding of the community served via market research,
  • improved the prominence of the library in community, and/or
  • driven the marketing around a successful funding initiative that enables the library to reach new audiences or secures deeper sustainability.
Read more details online, and nominate someone by August 1, 2016. I'm so happy to see library marketing getting more recognition and encouragement!  


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CIVICTechnologies Releases 'Core Customer Intelligence' Report

The report cover show a map
of  customer segmentation.
At the Public Library Association Conference (PLA,, CIVICTechnologies released a new in-depth report called "Core Customer Intelligence: Public Library Reach, Relevance and Resilience." It's all about using one of today's hot tools, "big data." The vendor, which helps librarians use their data to map out where various client segments exist, wanted to obtain information and insights that would help librarians retain these core users and also gain new customers like them, so this is a powerful tool for customer retention and recruitment. 

The report's website explains: "In partnership with the Las Vegas–Clark County Library District and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), CIVICTechnologies completed the first big data study in the library world." 

Here's what happened: CIVICTechnologies investigated the "core customers" of 10 large U.S. public library systems. These the customers were most active in borrowing physical materials (books, DVDs, and CDs). Those 10 libraries serve a total of 7.8 million people, and the study analyzed data from 4 million customers and 67.4 million checkouts. So it's a very large sample.

As the website says, "Ultimately, this study raises as many important questions as it answers: How can libraries use the core customer information uncovered in this study to attract new library customers and to increase existing customer use? Will libraries be able to retain these core customers as formats shift from physical to virtual? Who are other groups of library customers that are active and loyal? How will libraries accelerate the adoption and use of this kind of customer data to stay relevant, nimble and valuable to the public?"

Page 2 of the Executive Summary explains the three main findings, which pertain to Reach, Relevance, and Resilience.

If you want to understand how to bring in, then keep, more public library users, download the report for free here so you can digest the big data.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Speakers Needed: Library Marketing and Communications Conference

The conference hotel
The Call for Proposals Is Open
for the

Dallas, TX, Nov 1617, 2016
Crowne Plaza Dallas Near Galleria–Addison

The Planning Committee of the 2016 Library Marketing and Communications Conference (LMCC) is interested in receiving proposals for presentations that showcase the tried and true, the latest trends, and the best practices while providing practical tips and takeaways that can be immediately applied to any library's communication and marketing efforts. We're looking for speakers who have done this work long enough to have experiences and lessons to share.

You should have enough content to fill at least 45 minutes, not counting Q&A. You'll be able to share handouts and slides with attendees electronically.


Submission Deadline: Midnight Eastern Time on May 2 
Notification of Presentation Approval: May 27

Get all the details here.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, these concepts:

1.      Communications campaigns / Media relations
2.      Social media plans / Tips / Analytics
3.      Marketing / Communication plans
4.      User Experience / Customer service
5.      Collaborations / Partnerships
A scene from LMCC 2015
6.      Community engagement projects
7.      Planning and promoting programs
8.      Market research / Surveys / Focus groups
9.      Branding strategies / Projects
10.  Technology / Apps / Websites / Software
11.  Graphic design / Production
12.  Communications / Support / Management of internal staff
13.  Political strategy / Bond issues / Budgets
14.  Effective PR / Messages / Value statements
15.  Promoting electronic resources
16.  Pop-up libraries / Services outside of buildings

For any additional questions, send email with the subject line"LMC Speaker Questions" to: General Questions About Speaking: 
Joan Barnes:  Community Engagement Librarian  University of Nebraska-Lincoln 

Questions About the Proposal Form: 
Emily Glimco:  Marketing and Communications Associate  Northbrook (Ill.) Public Library  
Organized by the Library Marketing and Communications Group   
Facilitated by Amigos Library Services  

 FULL DISCLOSURE: I'm the Chair of this event. The first LMCC, held in November 2015, was very well-received. In fact, it sold out! So start planning now for this year's conference. If you don't want to speak, then come to network and learn at this one-of-a-kind show that's focused on just what you need to succeed! ~Kathy Dempsey 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

2016 LibraryAware Community Award Winners

Three public libraries have just been named as the 2016 LibraryAware Community Award winners. You'll be amazed by what they're doing. They're so deeply embedded in their communities! They prove that strategic marketing, promotion, and partnerships can truly make libraries central to their citizens. 

I posted about the entry criteria and deadline last December. Now you can read about the top winner and the two honorees in Library Journal.

Congratulations are due to:

1. Louisville (KY) Free Public Library, for partnering with schools and civic organizations to make books and useful classes available to children and adults, to support both early literacy and lifelong learning.

Louisville's website
"The award recognizes LFPL’s engagement with the community, its needs, and the priorities of its civic institutions, as well as the library’s ability to make Louisville fully cognizant of what LFPL does and can do. The award is presented by Library Journal and funded by LibraryAware, a product of EBSCO Publishing’s NoveList Division. It carries a prize of $10,000."

2. Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Public Library (joint honorees), for their vital work in the rollout of New York City’s "idNYC" municipal identification project (Prize: $7,500)

3. Cranston (RI) Public Library, for serving an influx of foreign-born and non-English-speaking residents (Prize: $5,000)

LibraryAware is a product of EBSCO's NoveList division that enables better library promotion and publicity. "LibraryAware is an online tool for libraries to connect with readers and keep them engaged. It includes templates and tools to create newsletters, bookmarks, shelf-talkers, flyers, and more for promoting books and resources throughout the library and beyond."

Strive to make your library more "community aware." Email me if you need help.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Enter the 2016 John Cotton Dana Contest!

News from the JCD Committee: 

The John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards site is open for entries!  

From the award's website

"The John Cotton Dana Award, provided in conjunction with the H.W. Wilson Foundation, the American Library Association, and EBSCO, honors outstanding library public relations, whether a summer reading program, a year-long centennial celebration, fundraising for a new college library, an awareness campaign or an innovative partnership in the community."

"So if you have a well-planned, well-implemented, and well-evaluated initiative that took place in 2015 or the 2014-2015 academic year, please consider entering to win one of eight $10,000 awards! This is a no-strings-attached cash award (not a grant), and the web-based entry process is a piece of cake compared with the previous entry process," according to the organizers. 

The website will be open for entries through March 21, 2016. So don't delay!

For information and inspiration, you can view winning entries from last year -- in their entirety -- here

Search "JCD" here on the blog to see coverage of previous winners and celebrations. Then start prepping your entry today!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Librarians Cultivate Skills

Here's a great image you can share. 
It seems to have originated with Jennifer Lagarde, who you can find on Twitter

It speaks the truth, and I love it!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

UK Citizens: Stand Up for Your Libraries!

As many inside (and outside) the UK know, public libraries there have been closing at an alarming rate. It must stop. Those in the government need to hear, learn, and truly understand why libraries matter. They need to realize the value of professional librarians. 

If you're in the UK, or know people there, then you can help -- in 2 minutes or less. 

Simply sign this petition. It supports the "My Library By Right" campaign that's run by CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (national association). 

Please, sign now, and share with your friends. Post it on your social sites. Tell people you work with. It's terribly important. 

Have I mentioned that Neil Gaiman supports the campaign? So what are you waiting for? Sign now! 

Friday, January 08, 2016

2016 PR Xchange Awards: Enter by March 15

A scene from the 2015 PR Xchange
Have you been creating innovative promotional materials? Then seek recognition for your library’s amazing work! The call for entries for the 2016 PR Xchange Awards competition is open.

The 2016 PR Xchange Awards Competition recognizes the very best public relations materials produced by libraries during the 2015 calendar year. Entries will be evaluated based on content, originality, and design by a team of experts in marketing, public relations, graphic design, and communications. Here are the links you need:

Submit your proposals online by March 15, 2016.  
Check out the Frequently Asked Questions

Judging will be in the Chicago area for 2016. Please contact if you are interested in being one of the volunteer judges. (If you are a volunteer judge, then you cannot submit a proposal this year.)

Winners will be notified in early May 2016. Winning entries will be on display during the PR Xchange Event during the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in OrlandoFlorida. Awards will be presented there. Winners need not be present to win, but are encouraged to attend.

The PR Xchange itself is a drop-in style event at the ALA Annual Conference. It's an excellent chance to learn and network, and I have a table there every year where I give out sample issues of MLS and talk with visitors about marketing and PR. Put it on your schedule! It will be Sunday June 26, 2016 at the ALA Conference Exhibit Hall, Special Events Area. It’s a fun, casual gathering where librarians across the country share their PR and marketing ideas. Visitors view and take copies of promotional materials from libraries across North America.

The PR Xchange Awards Competition is sponsored by the Public Relations and Marketing Section (PRMS) of the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). It's overseen by the PR Xchange Committee. Need more information? Please contact the PR Xchange Awards co-chairs Mark Aaron Polger and Laura Tomcik at

Monday, January 04, 2016

'Accidental Marketer' Webinar This Week

Hello Friends, and Happy New Year! 

Have you promised yourself that this will be the year that you get a handle on library marketing? Well then, I can help you get started. This week, I'm giving an introductory-level webinar on the topic. 

It's this Thursday, Jan. 7, 2015, at 2 pm Eastern time. So sign up now! 

"Am I Doing It Right? The Accidental Library Marketer" will be a 1-hour "marketing 101" class. It's being presented by PCI Webinars, a professional group that runs regular training and webinars. Look at their offerings; you may want to buy a subscription in order to learn all year long at a discount. 

The session will be recorded, so even if you can't attend that day, register and pay in advance so you'll be able to access it when you're ready to learn. 

Please join me this Thursday. I promise I'll make the lessons fun!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Enter by Jan. 25! LibraryAware Community Award

Librarians in the U.S. and Canada can compete for the annual LibraryAware Community Award, which emphasizes a library’s engagement with its community. The award is given to an individual library or a system that “has demonstrated its ability to make its community ‘aware’ of what the library can do for it—and has delivered on that promise.”

Entries must be sent by Jan. 25, 2016, so don't delay!

The LibraryAware Community Award is open to public libraries of any size in the U.S. and Canada. Anyone can nominate a library: the library administration itself, the local government, partner organizations, library peers, patrons, etc. Awards will be presented jointly to a city/county official and library director during National Library Week in April. The municipality will get a plaque, and the library will receive a monetary award: $10,000 for first place, $7,500 for second place, and $5,000 for third place. 

As in past years, it will be overseen by Library Journal and funded by LibraryAware, a product of EBSCO Publishing’s NoveList division that helps librarians design promotional pieces. This is a prestigious award that will bring your library even closer to your community, so I hope you'll consider entering!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Gifts for Book, Library, & Tech Fans

'Tis the season of giving... and here are some unique gift ideas for your favorite bibliophiles and techies. 

I love this keyboard waffle iron -- even though it's $85. 
It's sure to be a great conversation starter. 


Fancy a cup of tea with your waffles? Try some "Novel Teas"-- English Breakfast teabags, individually tagged with beloved quotes from your favorite authors. $12.50 each. 


Check out some literary scarves. There are 4 available: Jane Eyre , Alice in Wonderland, Wuthering Heights, Dorian Gray.


Light up their lives with some Literary Candles:
"Named for the locations in literary classics, these soy candles evoke the book's most memorable moments as they ignite your imagination. Custom blended fragrances let you get lost in a book by adding an irresistible new layer of intrigue."
$16 each, choose from:

* Sherlock Homes/221B Baker Street: Black currant tea and leather books
* Alice in Wonderland/A Mad Tea Party: Bergamot, lavender, mandarin, thyme, and ylang ylang, with a touch of jasmine
* Jane Eyre/Thornfield Garden: Roses and rain water
* Pride & Prejudice/Pemberley: Lily, lilac, rose, hyacinth, and ivy    


If your gift recipient is into Banned Books, they'll like these products. You can buy them socks ($10) or mugs. There are also Library Card Socks


This Library Card Tote Bag, for $20, is kind of irresistable...
It's 14" wide x 18" high, not counting the strap.


There's also a "Book Lover's Socks and Ornament Set" for $29.95. It includes one blown-glass ornament and one cotton ornment.


If you're a big spender, you might want to go for this lovely piece of hanging glass: "Books on a Shelf Stained Glass" for $89.95. It's 22" long x 10" tall.
Happy Shopping; Happy Holidays! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

New 'Libraries Transform' US Campaign Is Sorely Needed

If you promote or market libraries, I have good news and bad news.
Good News: 
At the end of October, ALA President Sari Feldman launched "Libraries Transform." ALA says it's "a national public awareness campaign that will highlight the transformative nature of our nation’s libraries and elevate the critical role libraries play in the digital age."

We need something like this to help us reach all sorts of people, all over the country, because too many still don't know what services librarians provide and what value they have. (See the Bad News below.)

According to ALA's press release
“Today’s libraries are not just about what we have for people, but what we do for and with people,” said Feldman. “The goal of the Libraries Transform campaign is to change the perception that ‘libraries are just quiet places to do research, find a book, and read’ to a shared understanding of libraries as dynamic centers for learning in the digital age. Libraries of all kinds foster individual opportunity that ultimately drives the success of our communities and our nation.”

Go to the campaign's home page now!
  • Find images like this, which you can download as posters or postcards.
  • Get a free web banner.
  • Dig into the Toolkit.
  • Watch the videos.
  • Sign up for the campaign mailing list.
  • Join in and get to work!
Bad News:
It's true that a majority of Americans still don't realize what libraries offer:

"People may not think of using libraries to get their information because they do not know that the services exist, and some of the existing services are not familiar or do not fit into their workflows."

This is just one of the findings from a research compilation that was released on Nov. 9, 2015: 

OCLC Research has published a new compilation, The Library in the Life of the User: Engaging with People Where They Live and Learn, which represents more than a decade of collaborative work studying the information-seeking behaviors of library users.

The compilation lives here. On this site, you'll find:

  • The full PDF, free to download
  • A slideshow about the findings
  • Contact info for OCLC's Senior Research Scientist, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, who compiled and co-authored the info

So, we still have a serious publicity and promotion problem. All the work librarians have been doing to get out the word (libraries are more than books; Google can't replace them) still isn't enough. Our messages aren't penetrating the public psyche. However, ALA has designed this national campaign. If all levels of library workers, from all types of libraries, all across the country, would get on board, we'd make a difference. 

And we sorely need to make this difference. Libraries' old stereotypes not only haunt us; they keep us from convincing stakeholders of our value, from getting the funding we need, from bringing in potential users. 

Let's all get on board, ASAP. Share the Libraries Transform page and Toolkit with your entire staff. Call a meeting. Make a plan. Use the promo posters. Spread the word. Your jobs might depend on it. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Study: Academic Librarians and Faculty Need More Collaboration

From the infographic at
A new survey by Library Journal and Gale (part of Cengage Learning) has found that librarians and faculty members at colleges and universities need to collaborate more closely to successfully embed libraries into campus culture. The survey of roughly 500 faculty members and 500 librarians revealed the need to communicate better about libraries’ role on campuses. The report is called "Bridging the Librarian-Faculty Gap in the Academic Library."

“The findings support what academic librarians already know anecdotally: Proactively engaging librarians in the work of teaching faculty, including research and curriculum development, is key to a robust working relationship that leads to better outcomes for students,” says Meredith Schwartz, executive editor at Library Journal.

“As more pressure is put on higher education institutions to measure outcomes, there needs to be greater recognition of the value the library brings to the table,” says Paul Gazzolo, senior vice president and general manager for Gale.

Roughly one-quarter (27%) of faculty think there is no need for campus librarians and faculty to consult one another. Such statistics point to the need for librarians to do more effective promotion. Feedback and survey comments prove that everyone on campus should gain a better understanding of the library and the value it provides.

See the complete results at, or see highlights in an infographic at

AND GUESS WHAT? There will be a free, 1-hour webcast about this on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Register in advance -- even if you're not free then, you'll get a link to view the archived event.