SPEC Kit 306: Promoting the Library (September 2008)
This SPEC Kit explores what promotional activities and objectives research libraries are pursuing, who organizes them, how are they evaluated, and what challenges they face.
The survey was distributed to the 123 ARL member libraries in February 2008. Eighty-seven libraries completed the survey for a response rate of 71%. All of the responding libraries indicated that they currently engage in some form of promotional activities. Sixty-four percent of the responding libraries indicated that they have at least one library staff member with “promotion” as part of his/her position description. These positions typically report to library administration and are charged with strategic planning, media relations, and guiding the communications vision. However, they are usually not involved in the day-to-day promotional activities of their libraries.
The survey responses indicated that day-to-day promotional activities are handled by a wide array of committees, task forces, and ad hoc groups. These teams tend to be interdepartmental and focus on hosting events, developing print and Web materials, fundraising, and other outreach-related duties. Similarly, respondents indicated that individual departments and branch libraries typically produce their own material to increase awareness and explain particular services.
The survey results also show which skills these staff need; how they decide which promotional activities to pursue; what their objectives are; how the activities are funded; and more. Descriptions of a wide variety of activities are included, as well.
This SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of marketing plans, job descriptions, and promotional materials.