Computers in Libraries
Vol. 21, No. 8 • Sept. 2001 

Table of Contents Subscribe Now! Previous Issues ITI Home
Does Your Manager Know?
by Kathy Dempsey 

Recently, I saw a little cartoon that really scared me. It was in a business magazine called Fast Company, which, according to its Web site (, is all about how the global revolution changes business, new business practices, reinventing things, etc. In its June 2001 print issue, I happened to flip open to page 66 and stared in horror at the little color cartoon ("Funny Business," by Charles Barsotti). It simply showed one suited businessman saying to a colleague, "Wilson, what exactly is a 'knowledge worker,' and do we have any on staff?"

This epitomizes the fact that the info industry does not market enough! 

Now, I'm not sure just who would think this cartoon is funny. Businessmen shouldn't think so, because if they know that little about knowledge management these days, their companies are in trouble. And information professionals sure shouldn't be laughing, because if businessmen are that uneducated, then libraries of all sorts are in real trouble.

All of this brings me to this month's theme, Using Technology to Promote Your Library. Are you doing it? I'm betting that your answer is, "Some, but not enough." Library marketing and promotion are topics that are on my mind year-round, since I also edit the newsletter Marketing Library Services (MLS). From all the indications I see, there are a number of libraries doing really sensational promo projects, and there are plenty that just aren't trying hard enough. (Hang on a minute while I push my little step stool over to my soapbox.) Everyone should be marketing! Don't have enough time? Find it! Short on money? I don't care! There are plenty of free or low-cost things that you can do—that you need to do—to make people aware of your services and expertise. 

If you think I'm overblowing the urgency, or that marketing is just for publiclibraries, consider this: Information industry research and advisory firm Outsell ( released a Super I-AIM study this past spring. According to a blurb in the May 11 issue of its weekly newsletter, "e-briefs," Outsell questioned more than 6,300 corporate knowledge workers and discovered disturbing news. When asked "How do you prefer to get the information you need to do your job?" they answered thus: Seek it out myself: 68%; Regularly scheduled updates: 16%; Ask somebody on my staff: 9%; Have an outside firm do the research: 4%; Call the corporate library: 3%. Gulp.

With that said, I will shamelessly point you to the MLS newsletter so you can get new marketing ideas ( This issue of CIL, by definition, focuses on larger technological promotional projects, while MLS often outlines those that aren't specifically technical. So no matter what the situation or budget is at your own info center, you can get promotional ideas from one of these publications. But don't delay. Because if your manager doesn't know about and respect your services, that's not funny.

Kathy Dempsey, Editor

Table of Contents Subscribe Now! Previous Issues ITI Home
© 2001