|Special Web-Only Feature
First IFLA/3M International Marketing
Award Presented in Glasgow, Scotland in August
by Christine M. Koontz
"Marketing is getting the right goods and services to the right people at
the right place at the right time at the right price with the right communication
and promotion—marketing is a human activity directed at satisfying needs and
wants through exchange processes."
— Philip Kotler
Those of us who understand and value marketing practices for libraries appreciate
the difficulty of effectively implementing these practices on a day-to-day
basis. To recognize those libraries that develop and implement effective
marketing programs, the Management and Marketing Section of the International
Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and 3M Library
Systems joined to create the first IFLA/3M International Marketing Award. First,
second, and third prizes were presented this past August at IFLA's Annual
Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in conjunction with IFLA's 75th birthday.
In this special report for MLS, I will give you a tiny bit of background
on this new award, profile the top three winners, and then share quick summaries
of some of the interesting and unusual applications.
The Management and Marketing Section is made of library professionals from
all over the world who either work actively in marketing and management in
their libraries or teach the same to future librarians. (I myself have been
a member since its inception in 1997.) The M & M Section (Yes, we enjoy
M&M chocolate candies during our meetings!) promotes better understanding
of marketing practices through pre-conferences and workshops, programs, and
publications. This past year the section decided to provide another avenue
of support for libraries by creating and offering this annual international
award that identifies best marketing practices. We felt that the award, through
the voices of its many applicants, could best communicate the types of marketing
activities that libraries successfully engage in, not only to colleagues around
the world, but also to people who use libraries, those who may want to use
libraries, or those in charge of providing funds for library services.
Some Background on Marketing and Libraries
When marketing was first introduced to the library field in the late '70s,
there was much confusion between marketing and publicity. Over the past 20
years the field has focused on understanding and applying systematic marketing
activities that embody four main steps: 1) identifying customer wants and needs,
2) grouping customers with similar wants and needs, 3) developing a product
with the right price, distribution place, and promotional message for those
customer groups, and 4) evaluating the marketing program. Publicity is of course
only one activity (ultimately free press coverage or public awareness) that
is part of the promotion category. It's taken almost 20 years to straighten
out the difference in meaning, but, as illustrated by the applicants for this
award, we can see that libraries have now embraced true marketing. The winning
libraries all marketed in a systematic way.
Today, during a time of great change in the library field, this new award
offers the opportunity for all types of libraries to showcase their more sophisticated
marketing campaigns and programs, rather than the simple publicity efforts
of the past. The library's environment is collapsing and being reborn. Library
users are transforming into customers with expectations, diverse needs and
wants, and choices. Library catalogs and materials are moving from print to
online. Whole groups of new users are pouring in to access the Internet, and
library professionals are being called upon to offer guidance and training
on new electronic databases and formats. Based upon these and other changes,
librarians are being forced to communicate the new mission and subsequent new
image of their libraries to the publics they serve. As described in the program
summaries of the applicants for this award, the types of problems libraries
are solving with marketing practices are more scintillating than any best-selling
novel! By telling their own stories, the people who applied for this IFLA/3M
International Marketing Award provided insight into the colorful behind-the-scenes
daily business of modern libraries. This article shares some of those stories.
Criteria and Applications
For this first award, applications were available in the five official IFLA
languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian, German) starting at the beginning
of 2002 on the Web sites of both sponsors, IFLA and 3M. The deadline was March
31. Altogether there were 37 applicants from four continents, sent in from
14 countries: Argentina, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Congo,
Germany, Italy, Kenya, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the U.S.A. Any library,
agency, or association in the world that promotes library service was eligible
to receive the award.
This year's applicants were judged on the following criteria:
- Strategic approach to marketing communications, indicated in the research
and planning stages of a submitted project
- Creativity and innovation as demonstrated by the originality of solutions
to marketing and communications challenges
- Potential for generating widespread public visibility and support for
libraries, irrespective of the kind or amount of resources employed
- Effectiveness illustrated by efforts to emphasize the organization's communication
and marketing goals
- Commitment to ongoing marketing and public relations activities
- The project had to have taken place no earlier than 1998.
The committee will be revising the criteria for next year to facilitate participation
by a broader range of countries and specifically to recognize marketing efforts
by developing countries with fewer resources.
Who Won This Year?
First place was given to the Houston Public Library (Texas, U.S.A.), for
its long-term plan to increase library card registration and library use by
the city's children. The first-place winner received airfare, lodging, and
registration for the 2002 IFLA General Conference and Council held this year
in Glasgow, Scotland, and a cash award of $1,000 (U.S.) to further the marketing
efforts of the library.
Second place went to the Calgary Public Library (Calgary, Canada) for its
2-week television advertising campaign to increase awareness of the library
in the mind of the general public. Third place went to the Queens Borough Public
Library (Jamaica, New York, U.S.A.) for its public relations and publicity
campaign to promote the opening of the new Flushing library branch.
I'll give you more detail in the following summaries of each of the top three
winners, culled from the entrants' own words.
First Place: "The Power Card Challenge: A Long Term Marketing and Public Relations
Plan to Increase Library Card Registration and Use by the Children
|"Power Card" and
the distinctive Power Card design are registered U.S. trademarks of Reliant
submitted by Andrea Lapsley
Description of Program:
The goal of the Houston Public Library was to increase the number of children
accessing library materials, both to improve their schoolwork and to develop
lifetime readers, thereby ensuring educated and productive future generations.
The 3-year campaign set specific goals for juvenile registration and circulation
each year, with the final numerical goal of increasing juvenile registrations
from a little over 100,000 to 303,000, and increasing juvenile circulation
by 30 percent.
Objectives of Program:
- Give temporary library card (an application/informational flier with the
new library card design) to every school-age child in Houston (approximately
- Encourage all kids to "activate" their "card" which could raise the number
of juvenile cardholders to 200,000 by June 30, 1999.
- Increase juvenile circulation at least 20 percent from July 1998 to June
- Increase the number of juvenile cardholders to 240,000 by June 30, 2000.
- Increase juvenile circulation by 10 percent from July 1999 to June 2000.
- Increase use of juvenile electronic resources and youth Web pages by 10
Third (final) year objectives:
- Increase current juvenile cardholders to 303,000 by June 30, 2001.
- Increase juvenile circulation by 5 percent to 2,960,000 items.
- Increase the number of juvenile borrowers with items checked out to 45,000,
based on a monthly average. The benchmark in FY2000 was 41,000.
According to research done for the library's Strategic Master Plan, the number
of children under age 15 in Houston exceeds the national average by 20 percent.
Additionally, the research shows that Houstonians are somewhat below national
averages in library usage, library card ownership, and frequency of use.
Hispanic Houstonians are the most underserved compared to their numbers.
Target Audiences Identified Were:
- All school-age children in Houston, 500,000 (nearly 30 times the 17,000
targeted in a 1997 library card sign-up campaign)
- Parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers of such children, so that
the required signatures could be obtained and the applications returned to
- Potential partners: community organizations, businesses, schools, city
government, and the media to extend the reach of such an ambitious campaign
- The underserved Hispanic community
With the Power Card Challenge, Houston Public Library created a 3-year program
that redefines library card campaigns, gave the library a brand and identity
in the community through a new library card design and graphics, ran a well-defined
marketing/publicity campaign, and provided a model for other communities
For more information contact Andrea Lapsley, email@example.com.
Second Place: "Rediscover Your Calgary (Public) Library," Western Canada
submitted by Grant Kaiser
Description of Program:
The Calgary Public Library's research identified clear demographic gaps in
its customer base. A plan was developed to use television advertising to
target groups that did not use the library, but might. It would be the first
time that television advertising was used to promote a library anywhere in
Western Canada. Three "hot buttons" were identified: 1) high costs of books,
music CDs, and magazines, 2) the love of, and need for, convenience and easy
access in everything, and 3) the confusion over the volume of information
available in the world today, and the accuracy of that information. For each
point, 15-second television commercials were produced. Evaluation benchmarks
were established, and a 2-week TV campaign ran in September/October of 2001.
There were three objectives to the "Rediscover Your Calgary (Public) Library
Campaign." The primary objective was:
1. Increase the top-of-mind awareness of the Calgary Public Library.
When someone has a question they need answered, or wants a book to read, the
library is one of the places they consider going to. The Calgary Public Library
believed that progress on this objective was essential for any of its communications
or marketing activities to be effective.
Two secondary objectives were also established:
2. Increase circulation.
3. Increase the number of new library memberships issued.
The results were positive. The library saw a substantial increase in top-of-mind
awareness (43 percent), and in new library memberships (21 percent), and
also a strong increase in circulation (three times growth trends). The program
ran from July 2001 through November 2001.
For more information contact Grant Kaiser, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Third Place: "The Opening and Promotion of the Flushing Library," Jamaica,
submitted by Gary Strong
Description of Program:
The Flushing Library is one of 62 branches of the Queens Borough Public Library,
which is one of New York City's three independent systems. The new 76,000-square-foot,
state-of-the-art public library opened in June 1998. The marketing campaign
leading to Opening Day was designed to stimulate awareness; to relieve irritation
of customers who had been getting library services from an undersized temporary
storefront during construction; and to reinforce Queens Borough Public Library's
name with patrons, legislators, and donors.
The concept of the Flushing Library Public Relations Plan was to stir broad-based
citywide and national attention and support for this new facility, the largest
branch library in New York State. It was hoped that the Flushing Library would
be a springboard from which publicity for the Queens Library system as a whole
could be generated.
Staff enthusiasm was also of paramount concern in designing the public relations
plan. It would take months of grueling labor to get the branch ready to open.
There were no funds for additional staff, so "bodies" would have to be borrowed
from all over the system to get the building open and books on the shelves.
That was going to leave difficult staff shortages all over the library system.
It was imperative that the whole staff get behind the project all the way.
Without full support, it simply could not happen.
The target audiences included legislators, community leaders, business leaders,
the education community, Queens residents/non-library users, donors and potential
donors, and print and broadcast media, including ethnic outlets.
Goals and Objectives:
- To generate awareness of the Flushing Library as a unique resource in
Queens and in New York City.
- To generate awareness that the library is not only an archive but that
its information can be used on a daily basis to do business, to further education,
and to assist in daily living. We want people to be aware that it has a vital
role in the economy in Queens.
- To generate publicity for the name "Queens Borough Public Library" as
being distinct from its two sister systems in New YorkCBrooklyn Public Library
and New York Public Library.
- To create awareness that much of the best that New York City has to offer
is not necessarily in Manhattan.
- To generate and sustain traffic in the new facility. The goal was to rival
the traffic in Queens' Central Library, reported to be the busiest library
building in New York State with 2,500 to 3,000 visitors a day.
- To validate the generous amount of money allocated to this facility.
- To make all the members of the community feel welcome.
- To create an opening event worthy of the jaded New York City media's attention
(always an uphill battle).
- To bring in an impressive crowd of library customers for the opening.
(The old library had 1,500 visitors on a busy Saturday in 22,000 square feet.
Allowing for the 350-percent increase in size, we hoped to double attendance,
setting our goal for 10,500 visitors on opening day.)
- To use the opening as a theme for a fundraiser, to be held by the Queens
The opening of the Flushing Library created a lot of media attention. The pre-launch
campaign was considered ultimately successful. On opening day, June 20, 1998,
about 16,500 people walked through the doors of the library, attending one
of 17 programs and borrowing 8,500 items150 percent of its goal. During
the final 9 days of the fiscal year, the library had circulated more than
55,000 items, registered 900 borrowers, and welcomed 78,000 visitors. Positive
relationships were established with community groups and support was garnered
by local legislators.
The library continued to book the best of its program schedule there to keep
the momentum going. It also continued to foster Flushing Library's reputation
as a valuable resource for international information. Symposia on topics such
as "Doing Business with China in the 21st Century" have been held there. Eventually
the attention the Flushing Library received was turned toward other library
programs and services.
For more information contact Gary Strong, email@example.com.
A Review of Some of the Other Applicants
As I said at the beginning of this special report, there were a total of
37 applicants. I want to highlight some of these fascinating projects. I gathered
information for this report from those applications that were in English. I
don't have permission to name all these applicants, but I can summarize their
campaigns. If you'd like more details, please contact Daisy McAdam, award chairman,
at the University of Geneva, Switzerland: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Library Awareness Campaigns
Public libraries were by far the largest group of applicants, probably because
they have the most diverse groups of customers and the greatest need to continually
identify changing markets and changing information needs. Consequently, I'll
showcase more public libraries than other types here.
Bulgaria: A program was developed to popularize remote access to public
library databases (thus far access had only been available on the premises)
to new virtual library users with specific needs or requirements, including
businesspeople, the physically disabled, and students. Free access was promoted
and provided through word-of-mouth in the community and in the library facilities,
as well as through media advertising. To add value, qualified professional
librarians were enlisted to respond to online questions. The staff is gathering
ongoing feedback from the new users in person and online.
U.S.A.: A statewide public awareness campaign, "It's Never Too Early," was
designed to connect parents and caregivers of children (from birth to 5 years
old) to public library services. It utilized special listservs to train local
coordinators, and reached the target groups via a multimedia approach that
included campaign giveaways, public service announcements, billboards, press
releases, and story placements over a 4-year period.
Canada: New library cards attached to information brochures explaining
library facilities and services were sent to a city population of 87,000. The
goal of the campaign was to bring new customers into the library to discover
the wide range of resources the library has to offer. The library measured
an increase in circulation of 12 percent. Phase Two of the campaignsending
library cards to all elementary school-age children in the citywas launched
18 months after Phase One.
U.S.A.: An integrated 1-year public awareness campaign was run in a
large suburban area by a multi-type system made of 665 public libraries. It
aimed to inform the public about programs available at the 21st-century library
and to tout the value of those library services. The campaign utilized cable
television, public service announcements, Web sites, and an interactive TV
program where viewers could "talk" to a live librarian. The campaign also developed
a relationship with the major local newspaper to promote library issues. A
series of training sessions to help member libraries enhance marketing skills
Canada: There was a provincewide campaign to promote "easy, anytime
access to libraries." The campaign showcased the electronic services currently
and newly available in public libraries that were identified through a survey
as going un-used. Research also identified that nonuse was due to lack of knowledge
by the public that they could access their library online. So a TV ad ran in
prime-time slots for 6 weeks. The ad highlighted a Web site for viewers to
click on for a complete tour of the new library online resources. Extra print
materials were distributed beyond the 6 weeks of the television ad.
Poland: A public library serving 12,000 people in a community with
20-percent unemployment is developing services and materials to help individuals
seeking jobs and those struggling to develop their own small business, as well
as ancillary materials and services that explain the state of the local economy.
The goal of the program is to increase the number of new users and to increase
relevant materials and services during these difficult times, as well as to
ultimately decrease unemployment. The project also aims to increase overall
familiarity with and access to computers and databases. The project is ongoing.
Italy: A public library is developing a multimedia project to target
the burgeoning group of retirees in the community who are less technically
literate than younger people. The library hopes to encourage the over-50 group
to use the library in the early-morning hours when there is less use by others.
Specifically, the librarians desire to "facilitate access to the library's
information technology resources through a user-friendly approach aimed at
overcoming new technology illiteracy with in-library training." The staff is
directly contacting this potential customer group by setting up kiosks with
library information in key locations that the over-50 group frequents, including
department stores, shopping centers and malls, and outdoor neighborhood markets
throughout the city. The program is running for 4 months in the fall of 2002.
College Library Campaigns
Here is a summary of three disparate and diverse marketing campaigns conducted
by college libraries.
Romania: A central university library facing a "period of great financial
constraint" is trying to increase library usage during the period when there
are fewer classes held on campus. A campaign was devised to increase use by
40 percent by rearranging the available space of the meeting rooms to accommodate
new programs and events that will attract students, by looking for new partners
for cultural events to increase meeting room use, and by redistributing the "old" computers
for increased and free access to the Internet. The campaign will last for 1
year. In the librarians' own words, "we do not have enough money to buy books,
we do not have enough money to continue our subscriptions, we realize our only
solution is to plan a better use of our library. It is very hard to plan something
like this, and even harder to succeed. We must show our public we are interested
in their needs and try hard to improve and develop all of our potential services."
U.S.A.: A law library staff recognized that the first days and weeks
of law school are overwhelming and intimidating for new students. The library
created a diversified promotional program for first-year students that employs
media presentations, posters, and enticing giveaways to welcome them, encourage
them to visit the library, introduce them to library service staff, and familiarize
them with collections and services in a non-threatening and entertaining way.
The program components include a PowerPoint presentation, a library kiosk presentation
and virtual tour for new students, a large welcome sign with balloons on an
artist's easel at the front door, a library audiotape tour, a legal research
survival packet (on disc), a coupon for free computer-assisted legal instruction
(CD-ROM), and the gift of a free magnet for those students taking the audio
tour. The campaign lasted 1 month, and was evaluated by comparing the number
of coupons redeemed with the previous year's statistics on how many students
listened to audiotapes, and also by anecdotal input.
U.S.A.: A college library conducted an ongoing awareness campaign to
increase the perception of library value to the college community by increasing
the awareness of the quality and variety of its resources and services. This
was in response to the announcement of a $13 million gift to build a new libraryto
generate support and user satisfaction over the building period. The campaign
also had a goal to increase faculty use of the library by 25 percent over 5
years. The primary target audience is faculty, then students. The library utilizes
displays, press releases, fliers, posters, e-mail, and faculty meeting announcements
to enumerate and publicize resources and services.
School Library Campaign
And finally, here's a look at one school project.
U.S.A.: A school system conducted a campaign called "Bus It For Books" during
the summer months when school is not in session. It had buses travel on designated
routes to pick up students and drive them to a branch of the county library
system. The buses return to the library every 45 to 60 minutes and provide
transportation back along the same designated route. This happens once a week
during the 10-week summer vacation. Students need a valid library card to ride
the bus, thereby promoting library card ownership. A banner will communicate
to the community-at-large. (The program could be expanded to seniors.) The
program ran in the summer of 2002, and was promoted through the school system,
Web sites of school system and library, posters in community stores, local
cable, and public service announcements. The program will evaluate how many
students boarded the buses at what stops, how many students checked out books,
and how many students participated in the summer reading program.
A Very Special Entry: Kenya's Camel-Mobile
While bookmobiles are being replaced in many modern countries by "infomobiles" (which
provide Internet access), in rural Africa, camels are literally carrying information
on their backs to meet the growing needs of populations cut off from all types
of information access.
One of my absolute favorite projects was submitted by a longtime participant
of the Management and Marketing Section, Daniel Ruheni, a librarian at Daystar
University and a representative of Kenya National Library Services. His project
is "The Promotion and Marketing of Camel Mobile Library Services to the Pastoral
Community of Garissa in Kenya." Yes folks, you are reading it right—this is
a successful program bringing books to schools and refugee camps via the back
of a camel—six camels to be exact!
The Camel Mobile Library Service was launched in 1996 with only three camels
in the caravan. It has now expanded to six. Since every part of the camel's
body is considered valuable, the fact that villages have donated these animals
for the project indicates the growing concern for and importance of the need
for a better-informed and enlightened population.
The service operates from a library facility in Garissa, which is one library
within the network of Kenya Library Services. The goal of the project was to
reach people who migrate in order to continually find grass for farm animals.
The illiteracy rate is 85 percent, as compared to an average of 31 percent
in the country. The project covers a radius of 20 kilometers that have no roads.
The camels create their own way through the sparsely populated, semi-arid region
of northeastern Kenya. Tents are set up and groups of adults and children frequent
the tents, utilizing books and services while the camels are in the area. At
present, this service is their only source of information.
As western countries and their professional librarians lament the digital
divide and consider how libraries can help bridge that gap, this project helps
us to realize what most of the world is dealing witha complete lack of
any type of information for growing numbers of impoverished and rural populations.
A report on this project is available from: IFLA Headquarters, P.O. Box 95312,
2509 CH, The Hague, The Netherlands; email@example.com.
Or look online at http://www.ifla.org/V/press/pr0228-02.htm.
The Commitment to Marketing
Both sponsors—IFLA's Management and Marketing Section and 3M Library Systems—share
a strong commitment to increasing awareness about the value of libraries marketing
their services. This shared commitment serves as the foundation for the partnership
between IFLA and 3M, and it led to the creation of the IFLA/3M International
Library Marketing Award. The M&M Section hopes to provide a continued forum
through this international award so that libraries in all countries can share
just how they are bringing customers what they really want and need—information
that people can use to enhance the quality of their lives.
It is significant that 3M (http://www.3M.com/library),
a major international business, would partner with the library field
to award best marketing practices. "Effective marketing is vital to
a library's success. And there is no better time for this award," says
Don Leslie, coordinator of the program for 3M Library Systems. "With
the @ your library campaign well underway in the United States—and
now being implemented throughout the world—there are a lot of great
marketing programs out there. This award gives libraries and institutions
the opportunity to share their successful work."
Applications will be available for the 2003 award at http://www.3M.com/library/events/IFLA_app.doc or
through the IFLA Web site, http://www.ifla.org.
Information on IFLA
IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions,
is the global voice of the information profession. Founded in Edinburgh,
Scotland, in 1927, it just marked its 75th birthday. It now has over
1,700 members in 155 countries. To learn more, see http://www.ifla.org.
New members are always welcome and encouraged to participate in the work
of the section whether or not they are able to attend the IFLA conferences.
Much of the work of the section is done by e-mail in addition to postal
services. You can find more information at http://www.ifla.org/VII/s34/somm.htm.
IFLA conferences are held in August or early September in a different
city each year. Delegates meet to exchange experiences, debate professional
issues, see the latest products, conduct business, and experience something
of the culture of the host country. In 2003 IFLA will meet in Berlin, Germany,
in 2004 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and in 2005 Oslo, Norway. The Management
and Marketing Section invites you to join them at its meetings, which are
listed in the annual IFLA program.
Christie Koontz, Ph.D., is a research associate and director of the GeoLib
Program at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Koontz also teaches marketing
at the School of Information Studies at Florida State University, and conducts
marketing workshops for
colleagues around the globe. She is the author of Library Facility Siting
and Location Handbook (Greenwood Press, 1997), and recently created a continuing
education course on marketing research for library and information professionals,
funded and sponsored by the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Her e-mail
address is firstname.lastname@example.org.