Friday, 21 January 2011

Library displays. Old-fashioned or the new Twitter?

"'Public libraries' is a trusted and well loved brand but poor marketing means awareness of the offer is low."

"There is strong support for libraries to do more promotion and advertising about what they do."

What do the public want from libraries? MLA, 2010

That's easy then! Just increase your marketing budget and…..

… and that's the problem. Libraries have seldom had enough money to spend on marketing in the best of times. And now is not the best of times. We have to think carefully about our "marketing portfolio" and how to stretch our budget even further.

Marketing on Twitter, social networking sites and websites is a good way of reaching some sectors but we know that it does not get to everyone. Advertising in the local media or using posters can be effective but is expensive. So perhaps we should look at a traditional activity that has been neglected recently.

Displays on table tops, walls or in windows - either in the library or at external locations - might be regarded as old-fashioned but it is cheap, effective and is used by retail outlets. If it is done professionally it can be an important part of your marketing strategy (and you DO have a marketing strategy don't you!).

SINTO is offering a one day course designed to ensure that individual members of staff can achieve visually exciting, professional looking displays in minutes, with a minimum of pre-installation preparation and using a range of cheap and readily available material. The presenter, Pauline Carr, is a professional window dresser and since the 1990s she has been involved in training with libraries, public service organisations and the education sector.

Now, more than ever, we have to sell ourselves and our services. Full information at

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