New Marketing Trends

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries

The M Word helps librarians learn about marketing trends and ideas.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Enter the JCD Awards by March 6

{ UPDATE: Feb. 26. The entry deadline has been extended to March 6. That gives you an extra week to prepare your entry! ~KD }

It's that time of year again---time to enter the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award contest. Once again, eight exceptional PR campaigns will win $10,000 each to further their work, thanks to the H.W. Wilson Foundation and to EBSCO.

All types of libraries are welcome to enter, and international entries are welcome. However, entries must be written in English for the award jury. The John Cotton Dana (JCD) entry process is now entirely online, so you no longer need to assemble elaborate physical portfolios they way you did in past years.

Entries will be accepted through February 28, 2015. The winners will be announced in late April, and the awards (checks and plaques) will be bestowed at a lovely reception at the ALA annual conference in San Francisco in June. 

Get all the entry details here. Please note: You'll increase your chances of winning by reading the details first in order to send complete, qualified submissions. You can also see winning entries from previous years on the official website. 

From the sponsors: 
"The prestigious John Cotton Dana Award, provided in conjunction with the H.W. Wilson Foundation, ALA, and EBSCO, honors outstanding library public relations, whether a summer reading program, a year-long centennial celebration, fundraising for a new college library, an awareness campaign or an innovative partnership in the community.
In recognition of their achievement, John Cotton Dana award winners receive a cash award from the H.W. Wilson Foundation. The JCD Awards are presented at an elegant reception hosted by EBSCO held during the American Library Association annual conference."

Enter by the end of this month for a chance to win $10,000!  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Time to Enter the PR Xchange Awards Contest

Calling all library people who do PR work! You're invited to enter the PR Xchange Awards! The deadline is April 1st.

The 2015 PR Xchange Awards will recognize the very best public relations materials produced by all types of North American libraries in 2014. This contest is part of the popular PR Xchange event that’s held at ALA’s Annual Conference; it was formerly called the Best of Show Awards.

There are 10 categories for entries, including annual reports and fundraising materials. You can find details and a link to the entry form here. There’s an FAQ document here. Online submissions must be completed, and printed work must be mailed out, no later than April 1, 2015. (No need to mail copies of born-digital submissions.)

Entries will be evaluated based on content, originality, and design by a team of experts in marketing, public relations, graphic design, and communications. 

Winning entries will be on display at the PR Xchange event during ALA’s June conference in San Francisco. Award certificates will be presented during the event on June 28. (Note: Start setting aside a few hundred copies of your best work to contribute to the PR Xchange itself; details on that will come later.)

If you have questions that aren't covered online, contact PR Xchange Awards co-chairs Mark Aaron Polger and Scott Sheidlower at

The PR Xchange Awards is sponsored by the Public Relations and Marketing Section (PRMS) of the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA), a division of ALA. It’s overseen by the PR Xchange Committee of PRMS.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Share Stories, Earn Money

Library vendor Gale (part of Cengage Learning) has a wonderful website called My Library Story. As it explains
For each story submitted to the My Library Story community (through February 28, 2015), Gale will donate $1 to an advertising fund used to promote libraries through mainstream media during National Library Week 2015. You can contribute! Share your own story and encourage others to share their experiences as well.

This is great... but it could use LOTS more contributions. As of today, the running total is just $189. With all of the librarians and users in the US, this should be thousands of dollars! 

Submissions can be just a few sentences. Librarians or customers (or Friends, or Board members!) can write theirs in just moments. Not only is this raising $$, but of course it's also amassing a collection of positive stories for later use.

Any of you who are running Valentine's or Library Lovers' Month promos should post this link and ask for contributions. We don't get many offers of free advertising $$, so let's take advantage of this. Spread the word to colleagues, associations, book clubs, etc.!
  • You'll enjoy reading the inspiring contributions!
  • People can submit photos or videos if they like.
  • LIS professors: Assign a submission for extra credit.
  • Don't miss the tear-inducing promo video.

This call for submissions -- or any of the stories themselves -- would make a perfect social media posts. Need content? Use these! 

Gale will be donating through the end of February, so do this soon. Thank you, Gale!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Sign Up TODAY for One of These Marketing Courses!

I've recently learned about two online library marketing courses that are starting on Monday, February 2. Here's basic info on both:

Feb. 1 – Feb. 28, 2015
$250 (Simmons GSLIS Alumni Price $200)
What you earn: Continuing education credit

"Marketing in the 21st century library is a four-week course designed for MLS candidates, graduates, librarians and paraprofessionals who are charged with creating marketing and promotions plans."

Feb. 2 – March 22, 2015
What you earn: an edX "Honor Code Certificate"

"Become a powerful advocate for the values and future of libraries and librarianship. Be informed, strategic, passionate, and unshushed!"

Personally, I signed up for "Unshushed" because I can audit it (not-for-credit), and because I've been curious to see just how a "MOOC" (massive open online course) works. Both look really good, and I encourage you to sign up for one of them -- ASAP!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Enter the LibraryAware Contest By Jan. 26

Have you been working hard to make sure that everyone in your community knows what your public library has to offer? Then you should enter the LibraryAware Community Award contest!

According to the details: "The LibraryAware Community Award emphasizes the library’s engagement with the community and will recognize a library or library system that has demonstrated its ability to make its community “aware” of what the library can do for it—and has delivered on that promise."

The contest is sponsored by Library Journal and funded by LibraryAware, a product that enables better promotion and marketing communications. The deadline is Jan. 26, so don't delay!

This contest is easy to enter, and well worth your effort. Here's what happens to the winners: 
The LibraryAware Community Award will be given annually to a community of any size and its library during National Library Week. It will be presented to the mayor, city/county manager, or city council president, and library director.The city/county will receive a plaque identifying it as a “LibraryAware” community.
  • The winning library will receive $10,000.
  • Second place   $7,500
  • Third place       $5,000
This article highlights the 2014 winners. Even if you're not entering, you can read it as a case study about great library communication and promotion.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

RIP, Ernie DiMattia: a Loss to the Library World

Libraries lost an indefatigable leader, advocate, and innovator this past summer. Ernest A. DiMattia, Jr., died from cancer in June 2014, at age 74. Maybe you've never heard of him before, but he did an awful lot of good for the profession of librarianship, and for library marketing in particular.

And just last week, he was recognized posthumously by his Board of Trustees. The Ferguson Library in Stamford, Conn., had its main building renamed to honor its former president. It is now known as the Ernest A. DiMattia, Jr. Building of The Ferguson Library.

The newly christened
Ernest A. DiMattia, Jr. Building
 of The Ferguson Library
Mr. DiMattia did a lot to push libraries forward, and I'd like to say a few words in his honor.

I first met Ernie in the 1990s, when he asked me to go up to New York City to guest lecture at an evening course he was teaching at the Pratt Institute. He was one of very few people actually teaching marketing to LIS students, and so of course he knew about my newsletter, Marketing Library Services. Since I kept a close eye on this topic, Ernie wanted me to talk to his class about the trends I was seeing in the field.

I'd never lectured for a grad-school class before, and had never met Mr. DiMattia. I almost turned down the extra work, but (luckily) I decided to go. I found Ernie at the appointed Italian restaurant near campus, and he treated me to dinner. As we talked about marketing, we connected right away. After dinner I did the lecture (Yes, it was face-to-face back then!) and then took the train back home to New Jersey.

Ernie was gracious enough to read a preview copy of
my book and to write a promo review, part of which
appeared on the back cover (below). I presented him with
 a copy at my first signing at ALA in 2009 (above).
After that first meeting, Ernie and I shared a great mutual respect. I thought he was amazing because he was running a library, teaching for various library schools (Pratt, Simmons, and Rutgers), being active in ALA, and doing all sorts of things in his own community of Stamford. He thought I was great because I was writing and publishing to educate library workers about marketing, advocacy, public relations, and promotion.

We didn't get to see each other very often over the next 10 years or so, but it was always a treat when we did. When we got together at ALA conferences, it was a bonus if his lovely wife Susan (a great librarian in her own right) was there too. In fact, they gave me the incredible honor of speaking with both of them at a marketing workshop they planned for ALA’s "MBA Series for Librarians" at the 2011 Annual Conference (covered in Sept./Oct. 2011 MLS, and on this blog). I'll never forget that. 
After the MBA marketing class:
Susan DiMattia, Kathy Dempsey, Ernie DiMattia

I'm so glad we were able to feature Ernie in the Interviews With Marketing Masters column in the Nov./Dec. 2012 issue of MLS, to showcase his work.

Alas, now this dedicated librarian and educator is gone. But I was thrilled to discover that Ernie's Board had chosen to recognize him by renaming a historic, majestic building after him. They held a grand ceremony on Dec. 7. In a nod to how well-loved he was around town, the event was covered by the media (video here), and the reception was supported by a local bank. Politicians, citizens, friends, and colleagues attended alongside Ernie's family.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (L)
spoke at the ceremony. He's seen here
with Michael J. Cacace, one of the
library's Citizen Advisors.
Here are a few highlights of what The Ferguson Library achieved since he became president in 1976: 
  • Had one of the first public library websites in Connecticut
  • Created a Friends group
  • Renovated the turn-of-the-century building
  • Opened a Starbucks in the library
  • Got businesses to sponsor Sunday hours
  • Started "The Purple Bus" that brings schoolchildren to the library 
Ernie's years of passionate library service are detailed in this press release from his library. And here's a lovely newspaper article from June

This shining star understood the value of community partnerships and marketing. He served on the Board of the Connecticut State Library, chaired an Ebook Task Force for the Connecticut Library Assn., and served the Rotary, United Way, & other groups.

I'll close with his own words from the Interviews With Marketing Masters column. When asked, "What guidance would you give a fledgling marketer?" Ernie responded:

"My best advice for marketers is to be very passionate about what they do, actively engage others in the overall marketing effort, and never stop learning from the many great marketers within and outside of our field. There is no shortage of opportunities to market a library. Ingenuity and endurance is needed to get past both the perceived and real barriers that always seem to stand in the path to achievement."

Looking back, I feel like Ernie was describing himself: passion, engagement, continuous learning, ingenuity, endurance, achievement... What a wonderful role model for all of us. RIP, sir. It was an honor to have known you.

Some of the crowd at the rededication ceremony.
Special thanks to Linda Avellar, Director of Development and Communication
at The Ferguson Library, for sharing the event photos.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Apply Now for a National Library Week Grant

U.S. libraries of all types are invited to apply for a $3,000 grant that will be awarded to the best public awareness campaign that promotes the 2015 National Library Week theme "Unlimited possibilities @ your library" (April 12-18, 2015). 

You'll need to access the contest guidelines here. There are links to past winners for you to explore.

This grant is generously supported by Scholastic Library Publishing.

To apply for this year's grant, complete the electronic application here.

Deadline for grant applications is December 30, 2014.

Proposals are judged by the National Library Week subcommittee of the ALA Public Awareness Committee. They're judged on the basis of how well they meet the contest criteria, along with other factors including creativity, originality, clarity of planning, and potential for generating widespread public visibility and support for libraries.

The winner will be notified and announced following the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago, January 30-February 3, 2015.  The winner will be publicized on the ALA ( and Campaign for America’s Libraries ( websites following the Midwinter Meeting.

Want $3,000 to make your NLW campaign really amazing? Apply this month!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Top-Notch Marketing Info, Now on Sale!

Do you like saving money?

Do you need proven ideas to help with your library's marketing?

Well then, I've got great news for you!

There's a newsletter called Marketing Library Services, which has been published for 28 years. Every issue is packed with professional-grade info and ideas. And it's on sale now, for some of the best prices ever offered. 
  • The normal print price for MLS newsletter is $99.95 for 1 year (6 issues).
  • A new digital subscription is on sale for just $74.95 for 1 year. **25% off** (That price is good through Dec. 31, 2014.)
  • There's also a new personal subscription rate. US residents who want print issues sent to their home addresses can now subscribe for just $69.95 for 1 year. **30% off**(No time limit on this new option)

So now you can subscribe to Marketing Library Services in the format you want, at a price you can afford. The publisher and I have heard your requests for an online subscription option, and for lower prices, and we've taken them seriously. Now we're giving you what many of you have asked for.

We want you to succeed, to promote your libraries effectively, to make sure they'll stay funded and thrive. So take advantage of these offers; go to the order page right now and make your choice.

Why subscribe to MLS?

1. MLS delivers best practices for powerful, effective marketing communication. It's the only periodical of its kind.

2. If your institution won't subscribe to MLS, you can use the low personal rate to get it for yourself. It's an investment in your career.

3. If you live outside the US (as many M Word readers do), and you didn't want to pay the higher mailing fees and wait longer for print issues to arrive in the post—then the digital subscription is for you. Get new issues of MLS as soon as they come out, for much less than you'd pay for print delivery.

4. Here are 20 more reasons to subscribe to MLS!

Sept/Oct issue cover
This whole issue is free to read online!

See for yourself how worthwhile MLS is. The publisher has posted one complete issue, full-text, so everyone can read and evaluate it. This September / October 2014 issue covers change management, election strategies, buying ads, planning a promotional campaign, and more.  

MLS shares today's best practices in library marketing from around the world, including everything from major campaigns to free promotions. It can teach you how to help your library make better connections with patrons, partners, funders, and stakeholders. Take a look and order now to start your subscription with the January / February 2015 issue. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Help Kickstart a Movie About US Public Libraries!

Have you heard the news? Some serious filmmakers are working on a movie about public libraries! They have a good start, but now they need our help. They have set up a Kickstarter fund-raising campaign to get money to finish the film. Donations must be in by midnight on Oct. 26.

Details from the Urban Library Council, one of the sponsors:
Filmmakers Dawn Logsdon and Lucie Faulknor, with Executive Producer Stanley Nelson, are asking library lovers across America to help them make "Free for All: Inside the Public Library," the first major documentary project about our nation’s most beloved and most threatened public institution. Producer/Director Logsdon enthuses, “This is a great American story that has not been told before. We feel it’s urgent to get this film done and out there, while so many communities are debating the future of their local libraries.” 
The filmmakers, who are inspired by their own love for libraries, have launched an online funding campaign for "Free for All" and need to raise $75,000 by midnight on Oct. 26, 2014.

Why you should donate: 
  • You can give any amount, $1 or more.
  • The project has been vetted and backed with R&D funding by big organizations (National Endowment for the Humanities, California Humanities, the San Francisco Foundation, the Creative Work Fund, the Eastman Fund, United for Libraries, Urban Library Council, Urban Libraries Unite, EveryLibrary, and more).
  • You can pay by credit card or check.
  • Donations are tax-deductible.
  • You can get cool prizes for helping out! 
  • Kickstarter is "all or nothing." If the filmmakers don't reach the goal of $75,000, no pledges are collected and they get nothing at all.
I like what creators Logsdon and Faulknor say about their project:
Big decisions about the future of the American public library --- decisions that will resonate for generations --- are being made NOW in local communities across the country. How these decisions will be made and who will make them are questions at the heart of our documentary.
We're an experienced team of award-winning filmmakers who are passionate about public libraries and their role in our democracy. Many people think of libraries as quaint book repositories growing obsolete in our digital age. We're on a mission to dispel that myth.
Here are a few more details... I hope they convince you to click over to the Kickstarter page, check it out for yourself, and make a donation! 
Set in public libraries around the country, "Free for All" will be a 90-minute film, intended for PBS broadcast, that explores a “day-in-the-life” of the American public library, from open to closing --- along with compelling chapters of library history. This cinematic library “road trip” will feature a stunning mosaic of stories, architecture and personalities that bring to life the public library experience and the urgent issues libraries face today. From celebrities to schoolteachers to poets and new immigrants, the film and its associated digital project explore why people are using their public libraries in record numbers and the threat to democracy if they were to become extinct. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pedal Power.... Delivering the Goods.

Photo from American Libraries Blog

I'm really excited about the bike-based outreach services some libraries have adopted that are extending library services to the streets of their communities.

There's a great post in American Libraries, that details the experiences of several libraries. Essentially  passionate librarians and volunteers are using bikes to travel through the community. The bikes are adapted to carry collections and hotspots so people can either check out, download or reserve items on the spot. 

I love this concept. First off, it is a great way to engage staff that are passionate about biking. Secondly, it is a creative way to get your collections out to your community. Read the article here.

Even if you aren't ready to embark on a new service consider the philosophy behind it for any outreach you are conducting.  

  • Bring your collection with you
  • Encourage people connect to your catalog with a hotspot
  • Be willing to sign people up for library cards
  • Be ready to show them how to download ebooks 
  • Make it fun

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Library Communications Conference, Oct. 6 & 7, 2014

In case you haven't heard, there will be a Library Communications Conference in Mount Laurel, New Jersey (USA) on October 6-7, 2014. According to the organizers, "
This conference will focus exclusively on the best practices of library communications and outreach, and will feature over 20 relevant workshops and keynote addresses by nationally recognized speakers Kathy Dempsey, Dr. Curtis Rogers, and Angela Montefinise."

The event is being organized by the Library Management Institute (LMI), the same group that originally created ALCOP (Association of Library Communications and Outreach Professionals) a few years back. While ALCOP has been disbanded as an official organization, LMI is still running basically the same annual conference. (I've attended all three previous years; see my coverage of two of them here: 2011 & 2013.

This 2014 conference will be held at the Hotel ML in Mount Laurel, New Jersey for the first time. The program covers all sorts of related topics: social media, outreach, market research, graphic design, event management, and more. 

If you're in library marketing, promotion, or communication, I urge you to join us next month! The event is tightly focused on our specialized type of work, and so it's really great for learning and networking. It's also fairly inexpensive (as conferences go):

  • $249.00 per person registers you for the full event, including admission to both keynote breakfast sessions, all workshops, and lunch on Tuesday.
  • $129.00 per person registers you for 1 day only, including breakfast. 
Registrations must be received by Sept. 29, so don't delay!

I'll be giving three sessions: 
  • Monday's luncheon keynote: It's Not About You! Ensuring a Great User Experience
  • Monday afternoon session: How to Write Really Effective Survey Questions
  • Tuesday morning session: Let's Work on Your Elevator Speech
I hope to meet some of you M Word readers there in a few weeks! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

North Logan Shows the Power of Public Libraries

Nancy found this short video that shows what great public libraries can be in their communities...

Kudos to the North Logan Library in Cache Valley, Utah on the amazing work it's doing and on the way it's publicizing that to keep growing. 

If you have a video that you're proud of, give us the link in a comment. Share your great work!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Can You Express Your Library's Value?

Everywhere I look, I see librarians complaining that people are saying things like, "Why do we still need libraries?" They lament that stakeholders and elected officials don't understand what libraries are really all about.

OK, well: How will people know unless we tell them? Every single librarian, Friend, Trustee, and supporter needs to have an answer, an elevator speech, or a comeback, for these questions. What would be even better is if you didn't wait for the question, but rather, proactively told people about the value of libraries in the 21st century. You may think the need for libraries is obvious, but believe me, it's not. 

And so I thank the Metropolitan New York Library Council for commissioning me to give a webinar that addresses this topic. I hope you'll join me next Wednesday, July 30, at 4pm Eastern. Here are the details

Articulating Your Value
"We need to cut costs, so we're slashing your budget. People don't use libraries much anymore; it's faster to get answers online."
"Why are we paying you to put books away and fix copiers? Can't students do that?"
"Why do librarians matter in the 21st century?
"I keep reading articles that say libraries are going away." 
Have you ever heard such questions from an administrator, stakeholder, faculty member, dean, or even a friend? Chances are you have, and you've probably replied in one of two ways: You start listing all the little things you do all day (which sounds dull), or you are so taken aback that you can't articulate a satisfactory answer quickly enough (of course, you think of the perfect comeback an hour later). 
Every librarian needs to be able to articulate his or her value at any given moment. Otherwise, you lose a chance to explain your work, to advocate for libraries, and to teach someone why the internet can never replace a library. If you cannot explain what your expertise is and why it's vital in two or three brief sentences--in words that your listener will understand and remember--then you need this webinar. This will be an interactive program with individual attention. Each attendee will start by writing a response that they think will work in their own situations, then we'll dissect and rebuild them to make them stronger and more memorable.
By the end of this program, participants will: 
Know how to explain their work in a few sentences, without jargon
Be able to articulate their value at a moment's notice
Explain why librarians still matter without being defensive
Be more confident talking about their work
Understand how to defend their budgets if they're threatened
Create strong elevator speeches that are ready to use
This webinar has varying fees for those who are and are not affiliated with METRO, a hard-working non-profit that works to develop and maintain essential library services throughout New York City and Westchester County. This session is open to all. I hope some of you M Word readers will join me next week!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fun with Governmental Advocacy

Kathy Dempsey (left) with Stephanie Vance
From ALA in Las Vegas: While attending a session run by the very knowledgeable Stephanie Vance, I volunteered to be a mock presidential candidate. My pitch beat the other 2 "candidates" (according to the unscientific "applause-o-meter"), making me president of the room! We were given copies of one of Vance's books for our efforts. I definitely recommend getting Citizens In Action: A Guide to Influencing Government or any of her other books if you want to know how to win support from government representatives.