Welcome to the third blog post in our public libraries series on promoting your e-resources.

With the current financial climate, ensuring library members know about a library’s online resources and e-book collections is more important than ever. You’ve invested money in to your online resource subscriptions, so you need to see a return on investment — you need to see that your library users are using your resources. How can you do this? Well through embracing different forms of marketing and promotion.

“Libraries must embrace marketing and promotion in order to communicate with users regarding library products and services. Users associate libraries with books, but few patrons are aware of, or utilize the electronic resources (e-resources) e-books, e-journals, and databases that libraries also provide. With the ubiquity of the Web, most users rely on the electronic information they access over the Internet, whether it comes from authoritative sources or not. In order to ensure the continued success of libraries in meeting the evolving needs of our users, libraries must focus concerted efforts on marketing and promoting our e-resources – educating our users and potential users on what libraries have to offer.” Marketing and Promoting Electronic Resources: Creating the E-Buzz! By Eleonora I. Dubicki, Routledge

One very affordable way to promote your resources, is to give them a physical presence in your library. Take a look below at some of our ideas on how you can do this.

Our top hints and tips:

  • Using posters and signs to direct users to resources, many publishers will have posters you can download online, perhaps you could put them up in your computer area as well as around books that relate to the content found in the online resource, it will show your users that you offer even more than the books sitting in front of them.
  • Adding stickers to books and newspapers that are also available as e-books or in online newspaper archives to inform users that they can find them online too. You could also add stickers or shelf cards to the book shelf to tell users which online resources they could use to find more information on a certain topic.
  • Keep a catalogue of your online resources by each computer – you could create a simple list of online resources your library subscribes to, with a one liner to explain what they do and the usernames and passwords your library users will need to log in.
  • When new members register for their library card, give them some information about the online resources available to them, you could give them resource bookmarks (some publishers make these available to download online), or perhaps a simple slip of paper. Don’t forget about the importance of word-of-mouth, when new members register, make sure to tell them about the resources available to them too, and that the resources can be accessed at home.
  • If you have electronic monitors or plasma displays in the library, create a simple PowerPoint with screenshots from e-resources and a sentence to explain what they can be used for, and put them on a loop. You could also create screensavers focused on the e-resources available and put them on the library computers.
  • Create eye-catching displays within the library, or announcement boards, these could be put up when your library gets a new resource, or if there national day or campaign week you could link with these themes and create a board showing your users all the different ways they can research or learn about this topic. Or just a general board about the online resources available and the type of content they contain.
  • Contact publishers and see if they can provide you with physical promotional materials, such as pens, or printed posters, flyers, and brochures. You can then display these in the library, and perhaps give new library members a pen and some flyers when they register for their library card. Or another idea is to display your flyers

Find promotional materials for the following resources, available via JCS, here:

As Marie Kennedy, and Cheryl LaGuardia authors of Marketing Your Library’s Electronic Resources: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians say:

“As every frontline librarian knows, if our patrons really knew and understood how much we make available to them online, they wouldn’t go to alternative information providers to do their research… they’d use the resources to their fullest potential and clamour for more…“

There are many other ways to market your e-resources. Looking for more inspiration? Read our previous blogs in this series:

Has your library worked out an effective way to promote its e-resources? Got any good tips to share? Please do let us know so we can help other libraries successfully promote their resources.