Selling your Library - Branding

Selling your Library - Branding

Posted on Monday December 14, 2009 at 02:31PM

Selling your Library – Branding

What are people saying about your library? How do they feel when they walk through the door? The sensory experience your patrons have in your library is your library’s brand. No, a brand is not just your logo, slogan, or the image that you use on your letterhead – a library’s brand is the overall feeling/reaction that the patrons have towards it.
 
This means that you cannot control your library’s brand…but you can guide it. The first step is to understand how your library sees you. Listen to what they say, complaints as well as complements. Ask them if they found what they were looking for as you check out their books. Ask friends and family to honestly tell you how they feel about the library. You may be surprised.
 
The second step is to acknowledge this view of the library and decide if this is how you want your patrons to feel and respond. If not, start thinking about what experience you do want your patrons to have. If you do like the view your community has of the library, consider ways to enhance it: just because something is good, it doesn’t mean it will stay that way by itself.
 
The thirds step is to make the changes necessary. This all ties back in with your plan of service. Your community needs assessment tells you what your community wants from you. What changes are you going to have to make to meet those needs? Sometimes it may be as simple as changing your signage, or encouraging staff to be more cheerful when dealing with the public. It may, however, require more costly changes, like revamping your entire collection and getting new furnishings. Determine the most effective method of creating the library image your community wants and needs – this is a challenge.
 
Catchy slogans and pretty logos can help to brand your library, but they are not the only things. Think: do you want people feeling happy and at ease when they enter your doors, or miserable and in a hurry to leave. The first type of people make being a library manager a joy, and can lead to increased funding. The second type can lead to reduced funding, miserable staff and patrons, and can even lower literacy levels in your community. Which feeling are you working toward in your library?
 

Author: Northern Lights Library System

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