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Marketing The Engineering Library

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

“And Other Duties as Assigned”

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.862.1 - 14.862.17



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Paper Authors

author page

Megan Sapp Nelson Purdue University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Marketing the Engineering Library Abstract:

Marketing is a tool of librarianship that is infrequently taught to library professionals, yet plays an important role in outreach to students, faculty, and staff. This paper shows the process that Purdue University’s Engineering Library faculty utilized to develop and implement a marketing plan. As the process evolved, an inventory of current programs, an analysis of current patrons and current marketing methods, an assessment of available marketing venues, a map of marketing venues for target patron groups and a plan to supervise marketing projects were designed. Future plans include evaluating specific marketing venues for their effectiveness in reaching specific target markets.


Librarians have been talking (and writing) about marketing for years. For the most part, librarians have accepted that marketing must be done, but marketing is infrequently the primary job description of a librarian.1A marketing plan and marketing tools, if well designed, can help to create a constant awareness among library staff and faculty for the need to reach out to patrons. Marketing effectively informs and compels patrons to use library services, which in turn produces positive user experiences as they successfully use library resources. While initial outlay of time and resources can be considerable, the marketing plan can enable much quicker and more accurate communication with specific patron groups.

Review of literature

Librarians’ understanding and use of marketing tools has been documented in the literature. Spalding and Wang analyzed the use of marketing at academic libraries throughout the USA. They discovered that library administration and those who had taken marketing coursework were much more likely to support systematic marketing than those who had not taken the coursework.1 Sen studied librarians’ understanding of marketing orientation2 and found that librarians understand marketing concepts but tend to focus their attention on the customer service aspects of marketing. She also found that libraries need to develop better competitive intelligence, in order to develop better customer service. Welch surveyed the websites of academic libraries to determine how frequently the library websites linked to marketing and promotions departments.3 She discovered that university marketing departments were frequently disconnected from the university library.

The marketing activity in libraries is directed in a variety of ways, ranging from committees to individuals hired to oversee the marketing plan and initiation. Georgia Tech created a public relations team specifically to communicate in original and compelling ways to their primary audiences of undergraduates and faculty.4 Washington State University Libraries instituted a task force to oversee public relations and marketing initiatives.5 Weil Cornell Medical Library had a

Sapp Nelson, M. (2009, June), Marketing The Engineering Library Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4587

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