Randomly select 20 strangers and ask them what they think about their local public library. You’re likely to get 20 different answers, and most of them are probably not what you want to hear. As we think about who we are, what we do and, more importantly, what our brand is, chances are that our customers think we’re about books while we try to convince them that we’re so much more. After all, many of us loan games, do prom dress drives, teach punk-rock aerobics, partner with microbreweries (Edgar Allan Porter, anyone?), and offer 3D printing services. We push the envelope of what we loan and how we program for one reason and one reason only: to get people in the door so that they can discover what we really have to offer — ideas, inspiration, and access.
By Misty Jones
For libraries to remain relevant and effective, we need to define ourselves and set a direction and identity. At the heart of setting this direction is remembering our core services, while adapting to our evolving internal and external environment. It means remaining open to new opportunities not yet envisioned, but still remaining true to ourselves and what we represent. By establishing a brand, libraries can identify themselves and their importance and relevance to their community.