In library promotional activities both the concepts of publicity
and marketing are applied in varying degree. One thing is
“No matter what kind of information provision you are involved in, you
will increase its use by publicizing its existence, whatever means
you use. however wonderful your collection, however high
powered your computerized systems. However relevant your files,
if you sit passively waiting for people to come to you, better close
Before you decide on what is the best method in reaching out
your clients or publicizing your services, try answer the
Who are the potential users of the service?
Are they only interested in all services or only some?
What is the full range of services?
Is it fee-based or free?
If fee-based, what will be the consequences?
What is the priority? Income or service?
Do you have budget for publicity?
Do you have time and space and HR?
Do you have the skills to carry PR job?
How will your program be announced/distributed? (a
good many library communications are lost simply
because little or no preliminary thought was given to
methods of distribution)
One point to remember:
When planning PR activities, please do not forget to look at your own market
i.e. library users/ clientele:
Actual/ present users or clienteles (captive audience)
Potential users/ clientele
Having identified your market, segment them according to:
• Age (old, children, youngster)
• Level of education
• Special group
• Interest/ hobbies
LIBRARY PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES
• Talks by prominent figures
• Extended activities (story-telling, cooking demonstration,
• Reading campaigns
• Writing competition
• User/ borrower of the month
• Bulletin board
• Homebound service
• Library survey
“The most consistent finding in the present
survey relates to the association between
access to books and children’s reading
achievement. Whether considered in terms of
comparisons between countries or between
schools within countries, the effects are strong
and significant. It is also worth noting that the
pattern is similar for both 9- and 14- year olds.
Size of library, number of books, and access to
other resources related to reading are all
associated with reading achievement.”
Promotional activities- (Academic Library)
Academic libraries, as it may seem at first glance, have a
captive audience. So what are publicity, marketing
or PR program for?
• Students (captive audience)
• Academic staff (teaching materials)
• Non- academic staff (mostly forgotten)
• User education
• Library guides
• Recommended reading lists (special shelf?)
• Stock checks
• Attendance at committee meetings
• ‘Guests’ lecturing in special subject of interest to students,
• Strong reference service
• Bulletin boards
Promotional activities- (School Library)
Normally promotional activities are under the responsibility
of the teacher librarian with cooperation from the rest of the
other teachers and student librarians.
Reading literacy is particularly significant in the primary years and therefore it is important to
ensure that the provision of reading material is sufficient to encourage a high level of reading
Promotional activities- (School Library)
No support staff
No full time staff/ trained staff
Teacher librarian is always overload (to take care of
library and teaching duties)
Good staff relations
Good relations with committee/ school governor
Friendly atmosphere in library
Clean bright surroundings
Have many educational display items
Play set e.g. chess, scrabble
Promotional activities- (National Library)
Segment of the national library users (market)
The whole country
Activities must be nation-wide in nature
Should be more on a cooperative basis e.g. with publishers.
Suppliers, state libraries, government department, local
Because of its central position, service should be fully
developed to ease the dissemination of information.
Change of image. Reduce regulations; free based, no
membership requirement etc.
Proposed activities: [NAT LIB]
National reading campaign
Good press relations
Attendance at committee meetings
Regular news bulletin
Good distribution channels
Staff attendance at professional activities
National library week
Proposed activities: [NL]
Children’s activities exhibitions
Program for special group
Air/ radio time
Bulk loan (wider scale)
Promotional activities- (Special Library)
Special library are characterized by the special subject
collection of the respective organizations and also by
the specific/ confined clientele they are serving
• Walking librarian
• Effective PR/ rapport with organization staff
• Library guide
• News bulletin
• Notice board (announcement)
• Bulletin board
• Strong SDI service/ user profiles
• Stock check
• New books/ selected subject display
• Attendance at committee meetings
• User education for new staff/ personnel
• Demonstration for new service
• Reading campaigns/ book sales
We have seen and discussed the multi library promotional
activities that can be carried out to ‘sell’, ‘publicize’, and ‘promote’
our working places and services.
Before you decide or plan on any program/ activity, first thing to
be done is ‘to market yourself’-
CHANGE THE IMAGE OF LIBRARIAN
CHANGE THE IMAGE OF THE LIBRARY
So if you cannot CHANGE the job title, change your
personality (market yourself). HOW?
Sense of humor
With expertise and intelligence
Reliable/ serious in getting what they want
Make yourself available/ be seen around the building,
establish rapport, get associated with the organization’s
other activities, be involved as committee members, be
active and adopt participative style of management.
You’re approachable or not?
Make your presence felt by sending frequently SDI service, bearing
the library’s letterhead or symbol.
Make good impression of you and your staff that the library is
important to the organization.
Show that you too can contribute to the well being of the
Learn public speaking (for presentations, demonstrations etc.)
Write papers/ articles to scholarly journals
Participate in the activities of international and national library
associations, in order to keep abreast of library progress.
Read library literature and other related subjects e.g. IT
Established good rapport with your management. This is vital
important because the good relationship will in turn be
reflected in the management ‘agreeing’ or ‘consenting’ to
whatever the library may request e.g. additional budget for
A Good Librarian/Library Is Its Own Advertisement
Market Your Library
This is another point to consider before planning any promotional
programs- the actual appearance of the place you are working
should be accorded a high level of importance.
These should be given due consideration:
• The library’s surrounding
• The exterior of the library
• The interior of the library including furnishing, fixtures,
signage, decoration etc.
• If possible increase a ‘leisure area’ where users can drop by
to have some kind of relaxation before going back to their
• Guided tour
• Concentrate on publicizing the aspects of your service,
which you think you are good at and keeps on improving it
• Give a personal service/ with a personal touch. Instead of
saying and pointing, “the book is there”- take them to the
• Ease and simplify all library rules and regulations
• Deals with library correspondents wisely- via phone, e-mail,
in- person or by letters
Before Embarking on a PR Campaign
Make sure the library is capable of providing a good, up-to-
date stock of books and other library materials such as AVM,
CDs, multimedia, databases & internet.
Opening hours are reasonably liberal
Regulations are not unduly repressive
Staffed by a well trained/ well educated staff, capable of serving
patrons intelligently and pleasantly at all times.
Selling The Idea.
Come up with a proposal
Shows some initiative and creativity, imagination and some
enthusiasm (strong or passionate interest).
Explain in your proposal the detail program e.g.
How are you planning to do it?
How long will it take?
How much will it cost?
Who’s aimed at- the target audience
What's the purpose?
To conclude, these are some of the things to ponder
when you are planning your library promotional
• User profile for SDI
• Newsletters/ house organ/ house journals
• Posters/ flyers/ bookmarks/ stationary/ calendars
• Exhibitions (in/ outside the premise)
• AVM/ tape slide presentations
• Info kiosk (can be placed anywhere in the vicinity-not
necessarily in the library)
• Use IT to promote your library (e.g. send SDI through e-
•Using the media
Local and national press
Professional and other journals
Local and national radio
Using the media is a very good and very cost
effective way of reaching a large audience. Fast
What about advertising?
Can we advertise our services live on radio/ TV?
Has anybody ever done that before?
Justifiable or not?
• Using the experts
Hiring an advertising company
Still rare in the country
There was evidence in the Streatfield and Markless report that those pupils from
primaries with librarians or good grounding in library practice are more aware of
resources when they enter secondary school. This, and the fact that some secondary
students encounter problems with using the library and resources (Williams & Wavell,
2001), suggest the need for increased emphasis on the planning and involvement of
library resources in primary education and greater continuity of information handling
skills between the two sectors.