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Marketing: Part of Managing a Library
Librarian Relations Consultant
Marketing the Library
is an important part of managing the library. Librarians need to be
as aware, as your partners are, of the importance of keeping your
expertise and capabilities in front of your clients at every
possible opportunity. As the saying goes, out of sight out of
I attended the LexisNexis sponsored Advanced Management for Private
Law Librarians (AMPLL) meeting in Dallas this past April. I had
always wanted to apply when I worked in a law firm library. Somehow,
I just never got around to submitting the application.
AMPLL speakers covered topics of interest to library directors and
those who someday hope to be managers of a library. Topics included:
Legal Marketplace Overview, Proactive Approach to Law Firm
Economics, Strategic Alliances/ Partnerships, Leveraging
Opportunities, and Putting it All Together/Marketing.
My favorite part of the meeting was the group breakout sessions
where everyone was encouraged to participate in brainstorming and
sharing ideas. The last day of the meeting provided a session on
Marketing Techniques: Fresh Perspectives. I want to share some of
the ideas your colleagues put forth for consideration. We have a lot
of creative librarians among us from whom we can adapt ideas.
I've broken down some of the ideas into categories to make it easier
for you to apply them:
1) Get invited to and attend as many Practice Group meetings as
possible (a great way to learn what the attorneys are focusing on
and increase your visibility).
2) Schedule CLE
sessions (or make some recommendations to the person who does
schedule the sessions) and attend all sessions (you will again keep
up with the topics of interest to the attorneys and be visible).
3) Get invited to
social events for Summer/Fall associates and attend (you will get to
know your clients on a personal as well as professional level)
4) Walk around the
office and get to know your clients (this increases your
5) Visit branch offices regularly, if appropriate (again this
increases your visibility).
6) Produce an Annual
Report for the library providing an overview of the year with
1) Get involved in designing and populating the firm’s intranet
page: a) Library catalog; b) List of materials routed
2) Populate the
intranet with current awareness articles on clients/topics of
interest to the firm (LexisNexis Publisher can be help you with
3) Post a Library
Newsletter (choose a catchy title) – weekly, monthly, quarterly.
4) Promote non-legal
research capabilities of the Library Staff – post sample requests.
1) Put together an orientation package to be given to all new
2) Present to all new
attorney/paralegal hires in the same venue used by the other
3) Provide Library
tours and introduction to the Library Staff with description of
responsibilities of each member.
4) Schedule training
sessions with appropriate vendors.
5) Schedule training
sessions for secretaries on products they use – Internet,
6) Always follow up
after training (formal and informal) to be sure the attorneys/
paralegals found it useful.
7) Offer rewards cards
for training (drawing for Starbucks or other type of gift card).
1) National Library Week events and games with food and prizes
(remember the Toolkit available at:
2) Open house/cocktail
party/wine tasting/beer tasting.
3) Ice cream social
4) Book fair/book sale
5) Outstanding Patron
1) Create a brand/logo for the library to be included on
communications from the Library.
2) Bookmarks with
Library logo/picture of the Library Staff.
I would like to add some thoughts of my own. Remember it is
important to market the Library and yourself to everyone in the firm
-- not just to the attorneys and paralegals who use your services on
a regular basis. Don’t forget the firm’s Managing Partner, Executive
Committee Chairman, Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer,
Chief Operating Officer, Marketing Department, Information
Technology Manager, Human Resources Manager, Records Manager and
other administrators who may be part of your firm. The Library can
be very useful to all of these clients by offering to provide
research on topics of interest to them. You can also pro-actively
forward articles of possible interest as you are keeping up with
your professional reading.
I hope you find some of these ideas interesting and adaptable to
your library marketing plan. I encourage you to brainstorm with your
staff to see if you can come up with additional ideas that will work
with your organization. I also encourage you to apply for one of the
LexisNexis educational programs (TRIPLL, AMPLL, TRICALL, or TRIALL).
The time spent at these meeting is an excellent way to learn new
ways of doing what we already do and to share information and ideas.
Bibliography for additional reading:
"Desperate Times Call for Practical Measures: Tap into the one
billion Web users with more PR online”, AALL Spectrum, May, 2005,
Vol. 9, No. 7, page 8.
“Get Out of Your Office and Practice In-Your-Face Marketing”,
Information Outlook. February 2005, Vol. 9, No. 2, page 19.
“The SUV Idea: When it Comes to Marketing and Advocacy, Information
Professionals Should Concentrate, With Flair, on the Problems
Library Clients Need to Solve”, Library Journal, November 15, 2003,
“Marketing the Worth of Your Library: For the Cost of a Latte a
Week, Your Library Brings You the World”, Library Journal, June 15,
2002, page 37.
“Tapping into the Zen of Marketing: Libraries Strut Their Stuff and
Gather Insightful Data With a More Retail-Oriented Approach to
Pursuing New Patrons”, Library Journal, May 1, 2001, page 44.
“Library Marketing: Eight Ways to get Unconventionally Creative;
Client Development; Industry Overview”, Online, January 1, 2001,
Vol. 25, No. 1, page 52
“Marketing Your Library or Information Service top Business”,
Online, July 1993, Vol. 17, No. 4, page 41.
“How to Develop a Marketing Plan for a Law Firm Library”, Law
Library Journal, Winter, 1992, Vol. 84, page 67.
“Strategic Marketing for Libraries: A Handbook”, Book review,
Online, March 1989, Vol. 13, No. 2, page 111.
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