Library Marketing and Outreach for Libraries and Information Organizations (Rutgers University, Summer 2023)

Course Description

This asynchronous online course will help students gain a deeper understanding of the theories, principles, and application of marketing, public relations, and advocacy for use in information organizations. This course focuses on marketing tools and techniques that information professionals must possess to assess a community’s information needs by conducting an information needs analysis and linking the results to strategic priorities of information organizations. This course prepares students to design, implement, and evaluate marketing, communications, and advocacy plans based on analysis, research, and planning to improve service experiences of information users and to develop mutually rewarding partnerships with stakeholders for all types of information organizations.

Course Objectives

Through readings, online discussions, and written assessments, students completing this course will be able to:

  • Define and explain marketing terminology and concepts as applied to information organizations.
  • Articulate the role of marketing principles and concepts in conducting a community’s information needs analysis.
  • Apply marketing theories, tools, and techniques to improve the service experiences of customers of information organizations.
  • Discuss how branding, advertising, public relations, and outreach are used by information organizations to strengthen relationships with their users.
  • Explain and employ key research relevant to advocacy for libraries and information organizations.
  • Create a marketing plan for an information organization by applying the marketing concepts, methods, strategies, and best practices.

Goals and Outcomes

  1. Understand the history of human communication and its impact on libraries, and the importance of effective verbal and written advocacy for libraries, librarians, other library workers and library services.
  2. Demonstrate effective communication techniques (verbal and written) used to analyze complex problems and create appropriate solutions.
  3. Understand and apply the principles of assessment towards communities, user preferences, and services and resources, as well as promoting methods of advocacy through development and services.
  4. Understanding the principles of planning and budgeting in libraries and other information agencies, as well as developing effective personnel practices and human resources.
  5. Understanding the concepts behind, issues relating to, and methods for the following: assessment and evaluation of library services and their outcomes, developing partnerships, collaborations, networks, and other structures, and principled, transformational leadership.

Recommended Readings

Anderson, C. (2020). Library Marketing and Communications: Strategies to Increase Relevance and Results. ALA Editions.

Comito, L., Geracy, A., Zabriskie, A. (2012). Grassroots library advocacy. Chicago: American Library Association.

Daly, J. A. (2011). Advocacy: Championing ideas and influencing others. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Dempsey, K. (2009). The Accidental Library Marketer. Medford, NJ: Information Today.

Fisher, P H. & Pride, M. M. (2006). Blueprint for your library marketing plan: A guide to help you survive and thrive. Chicago: American Library Association.

Goodman, A. L. (2019). Marketing Plans in Action: A Step-by-step Guide for Libraries, Archives, and Cultural Organizations. Chicago, IL: ALA Editions.

Polger, M.A. (2019). Library Marketing Basics. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

Potter, N. (2012). The Library Marketing Toolkit. London, England: Facet Publishing.

Rose, R., & Johnson, C. (2015). Experiences: the 7th era of marketing. Cleveland, Ohio: Content Marketing Institute.

Villamor, S.E., & Shotick, K. (2022). Practical Marketing for the Academic Library. Libraries Unlimited.

Walters, S. (2004). Library marketing that works. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman.

Walters, S., & Jackson, K. (2013). Breakthrough branding: Positioning your library to Survive and thrive. Chicago, IL: Neal-Schuman.

Wirtz, J., & Lovelock, C. (2016). Service marketing: People, technology, strategy. Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Pearson.

Zeithaml, V. A., Bitner, M. J., & Gremler, D. D. (2009). Services marketing: Integrating customer focus across the firm. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill.

American Library Association (ALA) Lobbying Fact Sheets:

Working with Legislators and Decision Makers (current: Jan 2023)

Planning Your Legislative Outreach (current: Jan 2023)

Shaping Your Message (current: Jan 2023)

Building Your Network and Cultivating Relationships (current: Jan 2023)

About the instructor

Mark Aaron Polger is an academic librarian and information literacy instructor who has been working in libraries since 1992. He is currently associate professor and coordinator of library outreach at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York (CUNY).

He received his MLIS degree in 2000 from the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario, Canada), his MA in Sociology from the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), and his BA and B.Ed. degrees from Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) and Brock University (St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada) respectively. He is originally from Montreal, Canada, and has been living in New York City for the last 15 years.

Mark is currently a PhD candidate in the Graduate Department of Education at the University at Buffalo, SUNY where he is working on his dissertation. He is the author of 3 books; Engaging Diverse Learners: Teaching Strategies for Academic Librarians (Libraries Unlimited, 2017), Library Marketing Basics (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019), and Library Signage and Wayfinding Design: Communicating Effectively with your Users (ALA editions, 2021).

Mark writes and presents regularly on topics such as library marketing, jargon, library signage, and user experience (UX) design at local, regional, and national conferences. He is a dynamic and engaging instructor who always incorporates “real world” examples into all his lessons.