I went to a marketing/design mini-conference for UNL today and it was a really good experience. I learned a lot about the design specifications I need to follow, and saw a couple of sessions on Photoshop and Indesign. In the keynote, Christopher P. Kirchner, Vice President of corporate Affairs for ConAgra Foods talked about the Peter Pan Peanut Butter Recall (talk about a marketing nightmare.)
I thought a lot during the day about how libraries need to become good at this kind of marketing. I came home and saw this post in my feed reader., in which Emily at Library Revolution talked about the insanely poor job libraries do marketing themselves. I’ve run into the “libraries are for the poor, the old, and children” opinion already more times than I can count. When a friend talks about a book they want to read, I suggest the library, and am met with a blank stare. There are lots of reasons, (including the lack of convenience) but one of the big problems is that libraries just don’t market themselves well.
I have some ideas about this, which I will talk about over the next few days. Individual libraries need to take control of all aspects of library marketing and, especially, branding the library.
One thing I really wish would happen is that the ALA would create a comprehensive marketing kit for libraries- including great fonts, graphics, layouts, even programs – and provide it free of charge to all libraries. It could be done surprisingly cheap (free fonts, open source programs, royalty free clip art) – the hard part would be creating the packet and a training program/instruction booklet for librarians without previous design skills. I would love to create such a kit myself- and may try. (It’ll probably take a while – if anyone wants to help, let me know.)
Anyway, look forward to more thoughts from me on the topic.