NEFLIN 2017 Marketing Project


NEFLIN’s 2017 Marketing Project introduced concepts for improving the marketing of participating libraries. Nationally-recognized consultant Nancy Dowd led chosen NEFLIN members in creating library-specific marketing strategies for their libraries.

Congratulations to these 10 libraries and library systems who took part in the 2017 Marketing Project!  Team members from each of these libraries will present a project report during Concurrent Sessions at this year’s Annual Meeting on September 15, 2017.

  • Alachua County Library District
    “The Alachua County Library District’s marketing project focused on rebranding the summer reading program.  The goal was to create our own “Summer at the Library” program separate from the national program then develop and implement a marketing campaign to introduce and implement it to staff and the public.  We utilized NEFLIN’s Marketing Project and Nancy Dowd’s consultations to help us identify and target key audiences, address pain points to increase staff buy-in and library user participation, and fine-tune our messaging and delivery to targeted audiences.” 
  • Clay County Public Library System
    “The Clay County Library System wanted to improve their name recognition and create a more cohesive sense of a county wide system, through rebranding and advertising. Plans were made to update our logo, and have it featured on our vehicles, buildings, and publicity. Coincidently, Clay County as a whole began a branding project shortly afterwards, which changed the focus of our plan. We have had to rethink our plans and adapt them to the direction the County is going in. We hope to come up with a hybrid that promotes both the County, and the Library System.” 
  • College of Central Florida
    “The objective for the CF Citrus Campus Marketing Project is to Increase usage of eBooks, eVideo and other online resources by students and faculty.  There are three major challenges impacting the usage of the online resources: Students settle for the first, instant results; Students and faculty are unaware of Library eResources; and faculty may not understand how valuable databases can be to their students’ success when eResources are incorporated into classroom activities or assignments. This campaign will implement a three-pronged strategy by having faculty validate the library’s recommendation of online resources through five-minute visits, motivate ten of our Citrus Campus Faculty to incorporate Library online resources into their classroom, and create awareness for the available eResources in multiple mediums.”
  • Columbia County Public Library System“Our original goal was to use the NEFLIN Marketing Project, and Nancy Dowd’s expertise, to help us learn how to effectively inform our community about underutilized online databases and after conducting a cost/benefit analysis of our offered resources, the team decided that focusing to promote the tutoring and test prep service LearningExpress would be most beneficial to the library. At $2600 per year, this is one of the most expensive resources that the Columbia County Public Library subscribes to, and yet the number of patrons utilizing the resource did not come close to justifying the cost. Due to the fact that the majority of our marketing focuses on students and parents of students as an audience, the project is still ongoing and will continue into the 2017-2018 school year. However, the current usage statistics for 2017 already show an 88% increase compared to the entirety of 2016, which is significant progress. Future marketing opportunities for the team include a Homeschool Information Fair, tabling and outreach at local schools during teacher pre-planning and student orientations, and the distribution of posters, flyers, and bookmarks at local learning institutions and other applicable sites.”
  • Florida Institute of Technology
    “Evans Library began targeting graduate students at Florida Institute of Technology with specialized services in the Fall of 2016 – without much impact. To better understand the unique challenges and needs of Florida Tech graduate students, the Library conducted a survey. While the results were enlightening, we did not have a clear picture of the steps needed to successfully and meaningfully target and assist this group of students. Enter the NEFLIN Marketing Project. Working with Nancy Dowd has provided Evans Library with the impetus and tools to further focus the project’s mission and create a plan to effectively reach our intended audience. GradTrack, Evans Library’s newly packaged suite of services for graduate students, launched August, 2017.”   
  • Jacksonville Public Library System – “Jacksonville Public Library partnered with Library Journal to bring its customers a new public library ebook service called SELF-e. This product platform helps authors self-publish their original works online in collections managed by Library Journal—one for Florida and a more exclusive nation-wide collection. The library was very excited about this new capability as it helps local authors build reader followings, promote their work and receive feedback. The library knew that this unique offering could be challenging to market and share with its customers, but a major library event on the calendar (the library’s first Book Fest), and the support of the library’s e-services team, SELF-e was launched and is making a difference for many local authors.”
  • Jacksonville University
    “The Swisher Library at Jacksonville University offers a variety of databases, updated study spaces, and technology to meet the needs of the students and faculty we serve. However, there is one resource that is often underutilized: the librarians! This project aims to market the librarians through library staff buy-in, updating a current marketing campaign, and increasing the visibility of the library as a whole to the campus community.” 
  • Putnam County Library System
    “The Putnam County Library System’s Marketing Project focuses on two things:
    1) promoting our online resources (specifically Overdrive) by – first – empowering library staff through integrated training opportunities and internal newsletters so that they have the tools to talk about Overdrive with confidence with our patrons, and
    2) building targeted, monthly email newsletters to better communicate our library system’s programs and services and to build relationships with our staff, volunteers, friends, patrons, and community that last beyond any one promotion or program. The team will be using Library Card Sign-Up Month as an official Kick-Off for their Marketing Project but have already begun collecting email addresses, identifying “library ambassadors” for each branch, and creating fun/playful “Technology Can Be Scary… But Don’t Fear!” ads that seek to address staff fears/concerns through humor and by fostering a sense of teamwork. See an example – designed by Katy Jordan – here.”
  • Stetson University
    “To increase student use of Ask A Librarian research services, Stetson University Librarians are marketing it to faculty and others who have existing relationships with students. The focus is on new faculty, FSEM (First Year Seminar) faculty, and resident advisers (RAs). Over the past semester, we have designed marketing materials for these three groups. We crafted emails explaining how Ask A Librarian and other services  can help students and how the faculty can promote the library to students in their classes. We designed promotional posters with contact information for placement in all the residence halls prior to the beginning of the fall semester. We also plan to participate in orientation sessions for these three groups to learn how we can help to support students. We look forward to sharing our processes and preliminary results with you.: 
  • University of Florida – 
    “Our group identified that our emerging technology and collaborative programming space–MADE@UF–was underutilized, so our marketing plan focused on increasing user engagement through community involvement. We identified key faculty advocates for the space, created narrative style emails demonstrating the potential for the space to contribute to student learning and faculty research, and hosted three open house events catered to different user groups. We believe our efforts in improving the marketing for the MADE@UF space lead to increased use and inspire similar marketing efforts for other UF Library services.”

The scope of this project included:

  • kickoff event at Thrasher-Horne Conference Center
  • site visits at participating libraries
  • follow-up consulting by phone
  • final presentations at NEFLIN’s Annual Meeting

Project Consultant

Nancy Dowd is the co-author of ALA’s bestselling book, Bite-Sized Marketing: Realistic Solutions for Overworked Librarians. She writes for the Library Journal and The M Word Blog and has spoken on the topic of marketing throughout the US and in Canada and Europe. In her previous position as director of marketing for the New Jersey State Library, she earned many marketing awards including the prestigious John Cotton Dana Award. She is currently the chair of the ALA’s Public Awareness Committee. She currently serves NoveList as the product lead for the development of a new marketing tool, LibraryAware.

Each participating library received a free copy of Nancy Dowd’s book “Bite-Sized Marketing: Realistic Solutions for Overworked Librarians.”