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Marketing for Transportation Libraries: Marketing Toolkit

Toolkit for creating a marketing plan at your library.

How to Use This Site

On this site, you will find a variety of short explanations, links or summaries of presentations, links to various online marketing tools and resources, and highlights of helpful library marketing books. On the Marketing Plan page, you will find the tools needed to evaluate, create and implement your own marketing plan. Under the Communications page, you will find pages dedicated to different marketing and promotion communication strategies, like newsletters and social media.

What is Marketing?


There are multiple theories and definitions of “Marketing.” Some theories are applicable to commerce where products are being sold. When there is no exchange of money for a product or service, a marketing strategy known as "Relationship Marketing" that includes segmentation and positioning  is more appropriate. Note: Theories are not mutually exclusive. They all have strengths and weaknesses. They can be mixed and/or adjusted to accommodate the situation.

“Relationship Marketing is attracting, maintaining and in multi service organizations – enhancing customer relationships.” Berry, 1995.

“By studying the role of RM, marketing programs can be suitably designed to attract, and develop, customer segments. Resource allocations can be made more effective.” Nagasimha Kanagal

Bermand Hutagalung and the American Marketing Association profess that “value-based marketing is a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers, for building strong customer relationships and for managing these relationships in ways that benefit the customer, the organization and its stakeholders.

Marketing is a process usually based upon an organization’s strategic plan. If that is not the case the librarian might opt to use the department’s annual action plan as a base. 

Other Marketing & Outreach Toolkits

Online Resources

Benefits of Marketing

The benefits of marketing for libraries include the following:

  • Demonstrates value to users and administrators.
  • Helps the organization to see the bigger picture.
  • Builds user allegiance, trust and respect.
  • Gains organizational support.
  • Enhances visibility.
  • Shapes perceptions of the users.
  • Engenders accountability.

Owens, I. 2003. Strategic Marketing in Library and Information Science. New York, NY:  Haworth Information Press.


Step 1: Know Who You Are
  • Design a logo with a tag line. e.g. ”Moving Knowledge” Minnesota  DOT Library. The logo does not need to be a graphic, it can be a manipulation of text.
  • Continue the theme and colors through all promotion materials
  • What are your strengths?  e.g. Have only collection of PE test materials in the state.
  • What are your challenges?  e.g. Need permission for anything related to I.T.
  • What are your solutions?  e.g. Move information to library catalog.

What are your goals?  e.g. Make the library/librarian the first place to go for information

Step 2: Identify Your Market

Use segmentation:Who are our (core) customers with similar needs and behaviors, and
who has influence. Then define ONE of your core audiences.Core customers use our services –
They find a benefit and value to what we have to offer. We can then tailor our marketing and our services to suit them. Core customers then become advocates and will bring in more customers.
Customers don’t really want products or services, they want benefits.

Talk with your customers about their wants, needs, seek their advice, and give them what they want.

These actions can also target new markets.

Step 3: Assess Your Physical Space

Assess the library physical environment. Is it inviting to the customer?

Assess your customer service – Is it friendly?
Develop a customer service policy, supported by training.


American Association of Law Libraries.  2013. “ Academic Law Library Marketing and Outreach Toolkit.”  Accessed August 19, 2013.

Berry, Leonard L. 1995.

Brewerton, A. 2008. “Marketing Marketing to Librarians.” SCONUL Focus, Vol. 44:39.

Cagle, John I.  Marketing: Helping to Develop the Transportation System for the 21st Century. Public Roads, Nov/Dec, 1998. Vol. 62 No. 3, pp. 9-14.

Caintic, V. L. 2007. “Current Trends and Promotional Strategies for Libraries and Its Services.”  A paper presented during the 21st General Assemble of SOCOLA and Seminar – Workshop on Organizing and Managing Library and Media Center Services, Notre Dame of Dadiangas University, General Santos City, Philippines.

Dabney, L. Cindy. 2013. “White Paper on Library Marketing and Outreach.” August 22, 2013
Accessed  August 22, 2013.

Dempsey, K.  2009. The Accidental Library Marketer. Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc.
DeRosa, C., J. Cantrell, J. Hawk, and A. Wilson. 2006. College Students’ Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources.”  Accessed August 19, 2013.

Einasto, Olga. 2013. “Renewing the Marketing Strategy:  From Meeting User Needs to Values Creation.” Presented at IFLA-WLIC 2013 in Singapore.  Accessed August 13, 2013.

Federal Highway Administration. 2007. Guide to Creating an Effective Marketing Plan. Highways for Life. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation.

Foster, M., H. Wilson, N. Allensworth, and D. T. Sands. 2010. “Marketing Research Guides: An Outline Experiment with LibGuides.” Journal of Library Administration, Vol. 50(5/6)(:602-616. Re
Kanagal, Nagasimha. Role of Relationship Marketing in Competitive Market Strategy. Journal of Management and Marketing Research.

Kupersmith, John. 2012. Library Terms That Users Understand.

McDaniel, Stephen W. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Marketers. Public Roads. Nov/Dec. 1998. Vol. 62 No. 3.pp.15-24.

Owens, I. 2003. Strategic Marketing in Library and Information Science. New York, NY:  Haworth Information Press.

Plemons, S. 2010. “Getting the Word Out About Your Organization.”  Fort Worth Business Press.  June 28-July 4, 2010.

Potter, N. 2012. The Library Marketing Toolkit. London: Facet Publishing. About | Accompanying website

Robinson, M. 2008. “Digital Nature and Digital Nurture:  Libraries, Learning and the Digital Drive.” Library Management, Vol. 29 (1/2): 67-76.

Saunders, Laura. Plan, “Prepare, Promote: Marketing Your Library.” MLA Conference May 2004.   Note: The  online presentation is yellow on white but prints yellow on royal blue. Accessed August 22, 2013.

“Seattle Public Library Strategic Plan 2011-2015.” Washington State.

Strous, Roger.” Library Marketing & Promotions.”  Transportation Librarians Roundtable, Thursday, July,10th, 2008.
Accessed July 10, 2008.

Vilches, Kate. 2013. “Segmentation Can Strengthen Your Marketing Plan.” Marketing Library Services. Medford, N.J. May – June, 2013.  pp1. & 6.

Watson, J. 2006. “Marketing Roundtable for Special Libraries.” Tennessee Libraries Vol. 56 (2).  Accessed August 15, 2013.

Zikmund, W. and M. D’Amico.  2000.  Marketing: Creating and Keeping Customers in an E-Commerce World. 7th edition.  South-Western:  Thomson.