Library Promotional Considerations

New technologies are changing how people use libraries, and libraries must evolve their services and outreach accordingly. Last Wednesday I went to the volunteer kick-off event for the Friends of the Somerville Public Library. The Friends, like many similar organizations representing public libraries across the country, are always looking for new ways to promote their library. So, over the past few days I came up with some fun means of bribery to generate awareness of the library.

[Disclaimer: some of these ideas are more feasible than others.]

Readers’ Race Library 5k – A road race is not a novel idea (pun intended), but serves as an effective promotional technique. The race starts and ends at the library, and all proceeds benefit the Friends organization. Free books would be available at the finish line, and local businesses could set up booths in the post-race hangout area.

Get a Free Library Card Day – Ok, so every day is Get a Free Library Card Day, but maybe emphasizing the FREE aspect might help catch people’s attention.

“Random Reader” displays – Inspired by these little libraries, create small carts or displays of books that the library has removed from its shelves and put them in random places around town. The books would have the call number and library bar code on them but would not be part of the library’s current circulating collection. Users could keep the books for themselves, return them to the display, or bring them back to the library for a staff member to return to the display. People could even add their own unwanted books to the displays, thus creating a fluid, truly random collection.

Library Patrón Appreciation Day – You say patron, I say Patrón. Same spelling, different accent, different connotation. On Library Patrón Appreciation Day, library patrons of drinking age (with valid I.D.) would pay a $5 cover charge plus the cost of drinks to come to the library for patron-inspired Patrón drinks. Ordering a “Patron on the Books” would get you Patrón on the rocks, and ten types of margaritas would be named 000, 100, 200, etc. through 900 to honor the Dewey Decimal System. Empty Patrón bottles could serve as bookends on library shelves.

Why not put some FUN into the fundamentals of library outreach?


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