Advocacy & Marketing

Your community needs to know the role of the library in people’s work, studies, play and recreation, and home lives. That’s what marketing and advocacy are all about. Often, it’s a matter of changing perceptions – our and theirs!  Everyone benefits when we find out what users really want, and then let the community know about everything we have to offer.

A few definitions

Marketing is about finding out what people want, delivering it, and then evaluating progress. Publicity is sharing your message via channels such as posters, news releases, newsletters, and speaking engagements. Advertising is drawing attention to your library’s programs or events through a paid announcement. Branding establishes the link between your library and its image and materials. Key messages are short statements about your library that you want people to hear and remember. Advocacy is getting influential people to speak to others about your library’s value and needs.


How to build an advocacy network
How to develop and use key messages
How to share your library's stories

Helpful Links and Tools:

The Library Effect is an advocacy initiative for small and rural libraries. Use the Toolkit's Planning Guide, brochure templates, and sample key messages to create your advocacy plan. A story from the Story Bank can help sell the value of your library.

Marketing Made Easy is an excellent handout from The Alberta Library (TAL). Here you will find information about Word of Mouth Marketing as well as a marketing plan template.

The Library Association of Alberta shares some helpful marketing and advocacy tools.

Library Advocacy Now! is the Canadian Library Association (CLA) national advocacy program to promote libraries and their importance to the community. (Check out their Quotable Quotes page to find interesting facts you can use in presentations and promotions.)

The Ohio Library Foundation has a six-part free online training site on Marketing the Library.

Pat Cavill's Ten Presentation Tips provide good advice for persuasive presentations (posted with her permission).

Alberta Municipal Affairs gathers and reports statistical data on public libraries in Alberta. This data is current to 2011.

I Love Libraries is an American Library Association (ALA) website highlighting news affecting libraries as well as ideas and initiatives from the library community.

Specific user groups can need advocacy help as well. The CNIB library has advocacy information for people with print disabilities.