New Marketing Trends

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries

The M Word helps librarians learn about marketing trends and ideas.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Enter the PR Xchange Awards by March 20

It's that time of year again!

The Marketing and Communications Community of Practice, part of ALA’s Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA), has opened its call for submissions for the 2018 PR Xchange Awards competition.

These annual awards recognize the best promotional materials produced by any type of library organization in the US and Canada. Each org may submit a maximum of five entries. The deadline is March 20, 2018.

The PR Xchange Committee oversees judging, in which entries are evaluated based on content, originality, and design by a team of experts in marketing, public relations, graphic design, and communications.

Committee members will notify winners in May. Winning entries will be on display during the PR Xchange Event (Sunday, June 24) at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. There, winners will be announced and award certificates will be given. (Winners need not be present, but go enjoy your 15 minutes of fame if you can.)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Libraries Changes Lives - 2018 Awards

I recently published an article about one of my very favorite library award programs -- CILIP's annual Libraries Changes Lives Awards. It highlights heart-warming projects that UK librarians do to support various disenfranchised target audiences. 

The Libraries Change Lives Award recognizes excellence and innovation in the U.K. library sector, and all details are at Any MLS readers who are discussing the value of libraries with others (you are doing that, right?) can use these amazing examples to prove that librarians are educators, difference-makers, caretakers, and community builders.
Click over to Marketing Library Services to read the free full text! 
Books, families, and nature come together
 thanks to Kirklees librarians. [Photo courtesy of CILIP]

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

LMCC 2017: Hat Trick of Success!

The biggest part of my professional year was chairing yet another successful Library Marketing and Communications Conference. That makes three in a row, so I'm declaring a hat trick!

Quick stats: 
LMCC 2015: 220 attendees
LMCC 2016: 330 attendees
LMCC 2017: 356 attendees

And each year we hear from more people saying they wish they could get the funding to attend... so we expect continued interest and growth.

In each of our first 3 years, I've led a group of 12-15 dedicated volunteers. Together with our amazing facilitators at Amigos Library Services, we've planned, promoted, and held these conferences in Addison, Texas (just outside Dallas). 

I've already written a full-length report about #LMCC17 for the Jan/Feb 2018 issue of Marketing Library Services, so if you subscribe, take a look when you get the next issue. (If you don't subscribe, start now!) Here on my blog, I'll create an accompanying "photo essay" to show you some of the event's excitement. 

But first, I gotta say: This year, our planning team really took it up a notch. We worked hard to realize two major goals:
LMCC logo
1. We created an official visual identity and worked with designers to create a logo and wordmark. What do you think?  

2. We founded an official nonprofit entity, the Library Marketing Conference Group. This will allow us to offer more educational opportunities and to grow steadily into the future. The organization, led by a four-member board, is already making policies, reorganizing workflows, and planning for next year. We're thrilled to have achieved this, and grateful for the guidance that Amigos Library Services provided in this area.

Now, for a look back at this year's popular conference:

Shel Holtz, an internationally recognized nonprofit marketing
 guru, opened #LMCC17 with a keynote on Crisis Communications. 

Lovely lunches were included with the
registration fee. We planned
discussion topics for each table --
great for meeting new pals and
solving shared challenges! 

Our Swag Swap brought in lots of
 cool, colorful collateral to share. 

Nancy Dowd, founder of The M Word blog,
gave a presentation on email marketing.

Gina Millsap, CEO of Topeka &
Shawnee County Public Library (KS),
gave the second keynote, on getting
buy-in from staff for marcom.

Trenton Smiley from Michigan's Capital Area District
Libraries shared knowledge on media partnerships.

Expert panelists shared secrets for entering (and winning!) the annual
 John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards contest.

Thanks to our amazing sponsors for stepping up to support LMCC 2017!

In case you missed my reports on previous LMCCs, read about 2015 on this blog and in Marketing Library Services newsletter. Read about 2016 here, and in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of MLS (conference report not online), and learn more on the website.

We have not set our location and dates for the 2018 conference, but rest assured, we'll have one! To stay informed, join our email list and any of our social media sites, all accessible here

Goals: Set and Scored
While the conference will continue, I've decided to step down from being the Chairperson. It's been a fantastic and exciting experience, but it's also a ton of work, and I could use a break. I'll still remain on the Planning Committee, just in a lesser capacity.

When I took on the task of organizing this event, I had several long-term goals in mind:

1. I wanted to find a group of like-minded, experienced marketers to help curate and plan a really worthwhile conference that delivers exactly the sort of content that library marketers need to be successful. 

2. I was determined to build the conference into a successful, wide-reaching event with name and brand recognition. I wanted people worldwide to say, "Oh, LMCC -- I've heard that's a great conference!" (In fact, we've had attendees from overseas at all three conferences so far. In addition to Canada, they've come from South Africa, Norway, Qatar, and Singapore!)

Kathy Dempsey (me!) addressing
#LMCC17 attendees on Nov. 17, 2017.
[Photo by Curtis Rogers, SCSL]
3. I felt the need to shepherd this group until we had formed some sort of legal entity -- an association or a nonprofit -- to ensure that it was well-established and that it would continue. 

With these three main goals reached, I feel confident that the Library Marketing and Communications Conference is here to stay. I'm happy with my hat trick, and I'm going out at the top of my game. I intend to help LMCC and its nonprofit continue to expand its reach, its offerings, and its recognition. 

We'll be hosting another winning event in 2018, and you won't want to miss it. Plan now to ask for 2018 travel funding, and join us via email or social media to get 2018 announcements as they come out. Hope to see you next year!

Monday, October 02, 2017

'Academic Library Impact' Report from ACRL

For many years, I've recommended ACRL’s 2010 report, "Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report," assembled by Dr. Megan Oakleaf. 

Now, at last, there's an updated resource on the topic. ACRL is calling this one an "action-oriented research agenda."

According to the September 25, 2017 press release
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announces the release of “Academic Library Impact: Improving Practice and Essential Areas to Research.” Developed for ACRL by OCLC Research, this valuable resource investigates how libraries can increase student learning and success and effectively communicate their value to higher education stakeholders. 
Now more than ever, academic libraries are being asked to demonstrate value to their institutional stakeholders, funders, and governance boards. Academic Library Impact builds on ACRL’s 2010 "Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report" and the results of the subsequent Assessment in Action program. It demonstrates how libraries are now measuring library contributions to student learning and success, and recommends where more research is needed in areas critical to the higher education sector such as accreditation, student retention, and academic achievement.
You can download the report as a free PDF. (Thank you, ACRL and OCLC!) 
A companion online tool, “Visualizing Academic Library Impact: The ACRL/OCLC Literature Analysis Dashboard” was created to help librarians and researchers "filter the existing literature for studies most relevant to their research interests and visually explore the literature and other data in the form of charts and graphs."
If you want academic libraries to retain their respect and funding, study this wonderful tool and use this tool for all it's worth!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Media Literacy Initiative! Apply by 9-11-17

Have you been watching the buzz around "Media Literacy" and "News Literacy"? 

People who really understand information are trying to help people who don't, so they can determine what news & info is real and what is fake. Librarians have been trying to help since the term "fake news" became a thing. Here are just a few examples of how some info professionals have taken action:
Are you wondering how your library can join them? How can you set up a trustworthy curriculum to teach your patrons how to sort fact from fiction? 

Great news! ALA has partnered with the Center for News Literacy on a major new initiative: Media Literacy @ Your Library.
This project addresses a critical need in the field and the diverse communities libraries serve for adult media literacy training, with a focus on news literacy. The goal of the prototype project is to develop media literacy training and complementary resources designed to prepare public library professionals to educate their adult patrons to be informed consumers of media.
To apply to become part of the first beta-type-group that will undergo this 6-month professional training, send your application by September 11, 2017. All the details are at that link. 

Even if you don't want to be part of the pilot project, follow this initiative so you're in-the-know when the course gets a wider release. This is a vital task for libraries of all types, one which can help prove your value to stakeholders. 

So I urge you to be responsible. I challenge you to be brave. I implore you to dig into this problem and get your hands dirty. Guide your communities back toward reality. Because as politicians and stakeholders are seriously doubting the usefulness of libraries in the internet age, they’re tempted to cut your budgets. It’s vital to prove your continued value, and this is a timely, powerful way to do it. It’s one thing to repeat the old trope, “People need libraries now more than ever,” and it’s another thing to get out there and prove it.

Friday, August 11, 2017

ICYMI: 2017 Library Marketing and Communications Conference!

A very busy Conference Planning Committee has been arranging all the details for this November's Library Marketing and Communications Conference. I, your friendly blogger, am proud to be the Conference Chair again, and I'm fortunate to have such passionate, hard-working colleagues on the committee with me.

Now in its third year, LMCC will take place in the same town, but in a bigger, better hotel. Here's the info you'll need to join this amazing event just outside Dallas, Texas, USA.

Thursday, Nov. 16 and Friday, Nov. 17, 2017
Organized by: The Library Marketing Group
Facilitated by: Amigos Library Services

Concurrent Sessions
The Schedule of Sessions is on the fresh, new website!

See the schedule of our 7 curated tracks and 36 sessions, carefully chosen from more than 80 proposals. Plus, we've lined up two excellent keynotes, which we aim to announce on the website next week. 

InterContinental Dallas hotel, 15201 Dallas Parkway
Addison, Texas  75001

Note: The conference hotel, where all sessions will take place, is mostly sold out for sleeping rooms in our block. Amigos has arranged another block of rooms at a different hotel, just across the parking lot from the InterContinental:

Courtyard Dallas Addison/Quorum Drive15160 Quorum Drive, Addison, Texas 75001

You can get rooms in our block by using this link to book your room at the Courtyard by Marriott. If additional rooms become available at the InterContinental we will let you know, but don’t wait! Book now at the Marriott


Register for the conference online at

More than 250 people from across North America (and beyond) have already registered for this year. Space is limited. Don't take a chance on LMCC selling out again; register now


Sponsorship opportunities are available to MarCom-related vendors who want to get their product and service information in front of up to 400 library employees who work in marketing, PR, communications, social media, segmentation, and more. Various opportunities are available at a wide range of price points. 

Get the details on #LMCC17 sponsorships on our EZ Register page.

Join Us on Social! 

Keep up with the latest news via Facebook and Twitter

AND join our Discussion Group on Facebook too!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

PR Xchange: 2017 Winners & ALA Event

Back in January, I posted an invitation to enter the PR Xchange Awards Competition. Over 390 entries in print and electronic formats were submitted from over 100 institutions, including public, academic, school, state and special libraries. Now, the 2017 winners have been announced.

This year there are 28 electronic winners and 30 print winners. A complete listing is available at

Entries were appraised by a jury of 8 in-person judges and 15 virtual judges. Submissions were assessed based on the quality of content, format, design, creativity and originality. The jury, which included talented marketing and communications professionals, graphic designers, several outreach librarians, and a library marketing consultant, were impressed by the innovative and compelling work submitted by libraries.

Winning entries will be on display at the PR XChange Event, which will take place on Sunday, June 25, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in the ALA Exhibit Hall's Special Events Area, at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

The PR XChange Event offers visitors the opportunity to view and take home sample promotional materials from libraries across North America. Approximately 1,000 attendees visit the PR XChange event each year.

If you missed the competition, you can still be part of the PR Xchange Event by sending copies of your promotional materials to share with others. All libraries are invited to mail their materials to share with colleagues at the PR XChange Event. Get the mailing instructions and labels at

Here's what else is going on at this year's event:

·  2017 John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award Winners will display their award winning materials.

·  The 2017 Library Marketing and Communications Conference (LMCC) Planning Committee will be here to answer questions about the upcoming 2017 Conference.

·  The ACRL Library Marketing and Outreach (LMaO) Interest Group will talk about their activities.

· Kathy Dempsey (that's me!) will be giving away sample copies of Marketing Library Services newsletter, answering questions as the Libraries Are Essential marketing consultant, and selling copies of her book, The Accidental Library Marketer.

· Rebecca Metzger (current PRMS Chair) and Holly Flynn (incoming PRMS Chair) will be answering questions about the Public Relations and Marketing Community of Practice of LLAMA.

· Representatives of Rowman and Littlefield Publishers and ABC-CLIO will display and sell copies of recent library marketing books.

So stop by on June 25 in Chicago! Chat with me at my table, see winning work on display, buy some new marketing books, and learn about PR efforts from around North America!

For more information, contact:
Fred Reuland, Program Officer, Continuing Education
Library Leadership and Management Association, a division of ALA

Mark Aaron Polger, PR XChange Committee Chair
Public Relations and Marketing Community of Practice
Library Leadership and Management Association, a division of ALA

Monday, June 05, 2017

Join Us at LMCC 2017!

It’s time to register for the Library Marketing and Communications Conference (#LMCC17), which will be November 16–17 at the Hotel InterContinental Dallas (in Addison, TX). 

Early Bird Registration (available until July 28) = $349
Regular Registration = $425

Registration includes:
       Continental breakfasts
       Networking lunches
       Snack breaks
       Two full days of practical sessions
       Plenty of networking opportunities

Our conference has sold out in the past, and while we’ve moved to a bigger hotel to accommodate more library professionals, you’ll want to ensure your spot NOW!

And: We Need Your Session Proposals! 
There’s still time to submit your own proposal for a session at LMCC17! The Call for Proposals is open through June 9th, so don’t delay!

This year we are collecting proposal submissions to fill our 7 selected tracks:
       The Marketing Cycle
       User-Centered Design
       All Things Media
       PR Campaigns
       Engaging Your Audience
       Strategic Partnerships
       Data-Driven Decision-Making

Learn more about each track and how to submit a proposal here. We need your ideas, experiences, best practices, and insights, so send those proposals in now!

While we have a bigger space this year, we anticipate spots going quickly, so don’t delay. Get the best deal possible with Early Bird Registration pricing: 
(While we want you to register now, please do not purchase any travel tickets until after July 1st.)

The Library Marketing and Communications Conference is the only event designed exclusively for people who do library marketing and communications (MarCom) work. It's the perfect conference for M Word readers! (And your M Word owner, Kathy Dempsey, is also the conference chair.)

Thanks to our friends at Amigos Library Services for making this event possible with their support and guidance!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Winners! LibraryAware 2017

Winners of the the 2017 LibraryAware Community Award are....

1st place: The Fairmont City Library Center, part of the Mississippi Valley Library District in Illinois. 
A "laser maze" made of string gets teens
working together at Fairmont City Library Center.
(All photos courtesy of Library Journal)
Just 2,635 people live in the Village of Fairmont City, Ill., and 71.4 percent are immigrants who speak Spanish as their first or only language. The library demonstrated its commitment to focus on the community’s priorities and to make a difference in the lives of its citizens. Fairmont City Library Center gets a first prize of $10,000.

Catawba County Library
worked with many groups
and teams in its community.

2nd place: Catawba County Library in North Carolina was awarded second place and will receive $7,500. It’s been collaborating with community groups to facilitate conversations; they are working to develop a new partnership with the housing authority and local police to enable race and relationship conversations between the police and the community members.

KCPL hosted events to discuss economic
 inequities within its metropolitan area
3rd place: Kansas City Public Library (KCPL) in Missouri took third place and will receive $5,000. It’s been extending its efforts via a full-time refugee and immigrant services outreach manager who coordinates citizenship preparation and helps connect immigrant populations with KCPL’s other services, resources, and lifelong learning opportunities.

The LibraryAware Community Award is given by Library Journal and underwritten by LibraryAware, a product that helps librarians design promotion materials. The honor recognizes libraries that have demonstrated their ability to make the community aware of what the library can do for it. Prizes are awarded to both the library and its city or town. Read details about all of these extraordinary efforts in Library Journal:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Take Action! It's Easy! NLLD / VLLD

If you're in the U.S. and if you care about libraries, then there's something important you need to do:

Take 5 minutes to participate in the virtual version of National Library Legislative Day (NLLD). All it requires is sending an email or tweet, or phoning your representatives between May 1 and May 5.

Sign up here, now. Then you'll get an email prompt when the time comes to act for Virtual Library Legislative Day (VLLD). 

With funding for the IMLS in jeopardy, this year's NLLD and VLLD are more important than ever. Make sure your representatives hear about how essential libraries are. YOU can make a difference! Sign up now! Participating will feel good.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Fight for Funding

American followers: 
Do you know the federal government is trying to cut library funding? 

I got this urgent email today (below) from EveryLibrary, the Political Action Committee that lobbies for libraries. PLEASE:

1. Read it and follow links to learn more, if you want details. 2. Click the link under the orange "Send Them an Email" box.3. Fill in the short form, to automatically send an email to your representative.

The following is an urgent letter from the American Library Association asking you to take action to support the Library Services and Technology Act. This key piece of legislation makes millions of dollars in grants available to libraries. You already signed and shared the petition for IMLS but now we are asking you to take action to support this important piece of legislation.
ALA is reaching out to you for a last minute plea to get more signatures from key legislators on the House “Dear Appropriator” letter supporting LSTA. With just two business days left after today to get House Members’ commitments to sign it, ALA is 24 signers short of last year’s LSTA letter supporters total and this year they fear that they will need to double that total to be effective!

Please click here to send the email to support LSTA

According to ALA’s real-time online tracking tool, many legislators have not signed on. With the window for signatures closing as early as Monday April 3, ALA needs you to reach out again TODAY to legislators who have not yet signed the LSTA Dear Appropriator letter and ask that them to contact staff to Rep. Raul Grijalva ( to add their name to the letter NOW.

Members of the House have only until April 3 to let our champions know that they will sign the separate LSTA and IAL “Dear Appropriator” letters now circulating, so there’s no time to lose. Use this link today to ask your Member of Congress to sign both the LSTA and IAL letters. Many Members of Congress will only sign such a letter if their constituents ask them to. So it is up to you to help save LSTA and IAL from elimination or significant cuts that could dramatically affect hundreds of libraries and millions of Americans.

YOU can help save millions of dollars in essential funding for all types of libraries by signing and sharing the petition. If you love libraries, be an advocate for them! It's fast, easy, and vital. THANK YOU! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

See Me Talk Marketing in DC

So you've been reading The M Word... Want to see me speaking live? Then come to the Computers in Libraries conference in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC, at the end of March. 

I'll be doing two things at CIL this year: 

1. I'm giving a preconference workshop on Monday, March 27, from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. "Want Media Coverage? Add a Press Room to Your Website." Here's the full description.

You can register separately for this workshop even if you're not attending the full 3 days of the CIL conference. 

2. I'm moderating a full-day track, "Upping Our Marketing Game," on Thursday, March 30, which is part of the main conference. Here are the titles of each 45-minute session in my track (descriptions here):

* Marketing Plans for Success!
* Upping Our “Gamification”: Speaking Millennials’ Language
* Your Library Story in Video
* Employing Big Data to Understand & Reach Users
* Target Emails for Better Customer Connections

Here, you can see the full program and register for preconference workshops or for the 3-day event. Conference organizer Information Today, Inc. has extended the Early Bird sign-up deadline through this Friday, March 3. Also, conference discounts on hotel rates are good through March 6. Sign up today! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

AMA Covers Library Marketing

I find it exciting that the American Marketing Association decided to run an article about library marketing. Thank you, AMA! Writer Sarah Steimer did many interviews for this article, and she did a nice job of turning a great deal of information into this balanced, complimentary, interesting piece: 
"Libraries Demonstrate How Data Can Supercharge Low-budget Marketing." It appeared on the AMA's website on Feb. 1. 

Steimer spoke to people from Library Journal, major public libraries, vendors, and also with Nancy Dowd, founder of this blog, and with me, Kathy Dempsey, the current blogger here. It was an honor to be interviewed for this piece, along with lots of great marketing minds. The article is a good overview of library marketing, written for other marketers. Read it and tell us if you agree or disagree with the points everyone made. 

You may also want to share the article with your colleagues, administrators, and funders. Some may need to be convinced of the value of marketing in order to fund it; others may not realize what's possible with the latest data-driven tools.