or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Positive Marketing

   July 28th, 2009

I feel bad following up yesterday's fun Library Day in the Life project with a sort-of negative post, but I found the image below on another library's website and it bothered me:

Never on Sunday

The information is important, but the headline and image are very off-putting - and this message is prominently displayed on the library's homepage, above the fold.

Marketing is important to me, 1) because information and image are vital to an organization, and 2) it is something libraries have complete control over. There must be a way to convey Sunday hours to patrons with a positive spin, or at least a neutral one. "Never on Sunday" is a song, but probably not everyone gets that. And the red circle-slash on a book image should just never appear on a library website.

I know this sort of thing gets abused in the business and political worlds, but marketing isn't lying - it's telling people what you want them to know, and why it's important they know it. Libraries are all about serving the public, so almost everything we do is marketing - and since we depend on public perception for our survival, it is important to get it right.

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2 Responses to “Positive Marketing”

  1. Lichen Says:

    You’re only doing one day? I’m kind of excited about doing the whole week. C’mon, slacker!

  2. Brian Herzog Says:

    Sorry, just one day for me – my memory isn’t very good, so I have to live-blog the day, which takes a lot of time. Plus, I suppose I could just append “Repeat.” at the end of it for the rest of the days this week.

    But not really – today I had to explain to a patron that no, I can not start calling people in the phone book to see if someone has a DVD burner and will burn a library DVD for him. Tomorrow I’m going to update all of policies – print and online – with the new versions our Trustees approved this year.