As I type these first words of my book, it’s March 17—St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not really superstitious, but I figure it can’t hurt to invoke the luck of the Irish as I begin this massive project. It’s always good to have a little extra luck, right?
_____Alas, many people think that success in library marketing and promotion depends on luck—but nothing could be further from the truth. Simply making some fliers and trying to get your programs announced in the local paper aren’t enough, and no amount of luck will change that.
_____What most library employees don’t realize is that there’s a way to practically guarantee success in their promotional endeavors. Oddly enough, it’s called “marketing.” When you really understand and follow the concepts as they’re laid out in the business world, you go through certain steps that take the guesswork out of the process. This is what I’ve come to call “true marketing.” But since most people who promote their libraries end up doing so by accident, they’ve never learned these steps to success. That’s where this book comes in.
_____The Accidental Library Marketer fills a need for library professionals and paraprofessionals who find themselves in an awkward position: They need to promote their libraries and services in the age of the internet, but they’ve never been taught how to do so effectively. If you’re a newcomer to marketing, the following chapters will give you a solid foundation. If you’ve already been promoting your library, this book will deliver explanations that will help you make sense of things. Even if you’ve been “marketing” for years, it will help you refine your processes and strategies. And for all of you who’ve done promo campaigns that have fallen short of your expectations, it will help you understand why and show you how to be more successful next time.
_____In these pages, I’ll take the essential business concepts of true marketing, translate them into words that you can understand (and even enjoy), and relate them directly to library issues. I’ll blend rules with advice and real-life examples from your colleagues in the trenches. And along the way I’ll provide some ideas for fun promotions and interesting projects. You’ll also find ways to answer the agonizing question: “Why do we need libraries when everything’s on the internet?”
_____In some ways, I’m an accidental marketer myself. About 15 years ago, my lifelong devotion to libraries, my years of paraprofessional work, and my journalism degree all converged perfectly when I was hired as editor of the Marketing Library Services (MLS) newsletter, published by Information Today, Inc. (Could that have just been luck?) Since I took over MLS back in 1994, I’ve soaked up an incredible amount of information and best practices. I’ve talked with people from all over the U.S., and some from other countries. I’ve read countless stories of marketing campaigns, both successes and failures. I’ve reviewed lots of books and written tons of articles. I’ve attended a great many marketing workshops and conference sessions, and have presented some of my own as well. A few years back, I started my own marketing consulting service called Libraries Are Essential (www.librariesareessential.com). In 2008, I began contributing to a library marketing blog called The ‘M’ Word (themwordblog.blogspot.com). And now I want to compile all of this knowledge and experience into one book, to create a clear, practical, A-to-Z summary of how true marketing can work for librarians.
_____I want to ensure that libraries, with their vast wealth of information, and librarians, with their incredible knowledge, will always be around. Don’t you? It’ll take a lot more than luck to do that. So join me on this journey to see exactly how proven, well planned promotional techniques can raise the public’s awareness of and respect for the libraries we all love.