Library Marketing for Public Libraries from the Ohio Library Foundation
Marketing training on the web for public library staff

Module PlanningPLANNING


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Marketing Planning

Introduction to Marketing the Library Module 2

What's ahead?

Module 1 is an overview. In Module 2 you will learn more about the steps in the marketing process: internal assessments, market research, setting specific goals, selecting promotion strategies, creating a plan of action, implementation, and evaluation. In the exercises, you will work through the process and create your own plan.

Begin with the Library Mission Statement

The foundation for a great marketing plan is to review the library mission, values, and philosophy of service. This applies even if you are only creating a market plan for a specific product or service the library offers. It's possible to lose track of the prime directive for your library when sidetracked by new ideas and technologies! Always keep in mind the unique contribution that the library can make to the community, to your users in online communities, and among competing sources of information.

Follow the Steps

This is a summary of the steps you will examine in this module:

  1. Begin the marketing process by examining your library's mission or purpose.
  2. Assess library capabilities with a marketing audit, an internal assessment.
  3. Find out what products (services) your users want, and how they perceive the library, through market research.
  4. Develop goals and objectives based on your mission and the results of your internal audit and external research into what customers want.
  5. To meet goals, select strategies to promote your products that will work best, be affordable, and reach your customers.
  6. Create a plan of action that describes all the steps needed to carry out the strategies for meeting goals.
  7. Evaluate how well you have done.

Marketing requires careful planning and begins with understanding the mission of the library. Marketing can help you succeed in your mission, establish a positive image for the library in the community, and determine the best way to provide service to users.


Throughout this module you will work on a sample marketing plan. The first part of your plan is a statement of your library's mission or purpose. You may print the form or copy it into your word processor.

  • Select ONE service or one user group for the purpose of this sample plan, e.g. reference, children's programming, an annual event, or pre-schoolers, non-English speaking users, retirees.
  • Describe how marketing of this service or to this group will contribute to the library's mission. For example, if part of your mission is to serve the community, you could say that marketing will let the community know how you can serve them.
  • If you do not have access to a library marketing plan, look at sample library marketing plans from Module 2. You may also look at online plans for several types of business available on a commercial site. Choose one or two of the non-profit plans to scan. These plans are more complex than the plan you will be working on in this module, but will give you an idea of the way that marketing audits, market research, and the whole planning process are reflected in the final marketing plan.

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