Marketing the Virtual Library with the Wizard

By Nick Schultz

I’m lucky. Through my role with Gale Customer Care, I have the privilege of providing consultative services to the People’s University – many call this their local library – and the unsung heroes they employ on their journey to the betterment of society. After engaging with public librarians for the better part of two years, I think the following quote highlights the contrast between a librarian’s ideal library patron, Virginia Woolf, to the current reality.

“I ransack public libraries, and find them full of sunk treasure.”  -Virginia Woolf

As much of a modernist as Woolf was – I’m sure she’d be shocked to discover the virtual stream of information that exists in today’s world. The truth is most library patrons don’t allocate hours of time to “ransack” a library’s website troving for an online resource treasure chest.  In fact, according to a recent study done by Pew 91% of Americans think public libraries are important to their communities, yet 80% of Americans say they don’t know what their library has to offer.  Herein lies the challenge. How do libraries market their evolving services to their communities?

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