Marketing the library

Marketing the library is our new project, funded by Arts Council England, to help libraries to develop their ability to deliver professional, targeted marketing campaigns to a range of audiences.

During the pandemic, many libraries developed a more active approach to digital marketing, using a range of social media to promote the revised services they offered. 

However, the experience has made them aware of the limitations of their current capacity and the need to develop their marketing skills to attract audiences back into libraries once they restore more of their services. As one Head of Service commented: 

‘Libraries aren’t very good at strategic / targeted marketing – we struggle to pull out the ‘who’ and ‘why’ and we struggle to sell the benefits (we tend to promote the service)’.

Our members have identified a need to encourage users back to libraries, and to grow new users for their physical, digital and outreach services. This is even more important now as we emerge from the latest English lockdown.

This programme will support two networks of libraries to develop two separate targeted marketing campaigns.

The first network is London Libraries, the second is a group of six library services from around England that are interested in promoting their services to teenagers and young adults, as follows:

  • Gloucestershire
  • North Yorkshire
  • Northumberland
  • Nottingham City
  • Peterborough
  • Oldham

We aim to deliver the first campaign in late summer in London, once some level of library activities is restored. The second campaign is scheduled for the new year, when we hope services will have returned to something like normality.

We will share the knowledge and experience gained from campaign planning, as well as the campaign results, with the wider library sector through a strategy and planning toolkit, two campaign evaluation reports and a series of webinars.

We hope that our members will use these to inform future local and regional marketing campaigns for their services.

The creative agency Creative Concern will work with us to deliver the campaigns and produce the training programme and resources.


Libraries in the pandemic: Evolving services to meet local need

A summary of findings from our recent Libraries in Lockdown report as well as new evidence from other organisations to demonstrate the difference that libraries made to their communities during this crisis.