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Marketing the Library: Overview

This is an archive guide. The information is being kept for historical purposes only and is not updated.  


Suzanne Costa is the school library media specialist at Barrington High School in Barrington, Rhode Island.

Step 1. Do Create A Message Focused on Student Learning

  • Don’t make your message complicated and keep it focused on student learning
  • Don’t forget to closely link your message with building and district initiatives

Step 2. Do Begin to Develop Yourself as an Effective Messenger and Create a Network

  • Don’t be shy or humble – Be prepared to toot your library’s horn exuberantly!
  • Don’t just stay within your comfort audience - take the lead and build a wider network

Step 3. Do Start with One or Two Goals, Some Simple Communication Tools and Accept that there will be Challenges to Overcome

  • Don't spread yourself too thin – create a schedule and goals to focus your strategies and messages for greatest effect
  • Don't forget to keep people in "the loop" – and get approval for everything!

Suzanne Costa is the school library media specialist at Barrington High School in Barrington, Rhode Island.

How to Build Relationships to Market Your Library

Do identify and support relationships with partners already connected to your Library

  • Parent volunteers
  • Faculty
  • Student Ambassadors
  • Administrators

Do reach out of your comfort zone and identify some new partners for your Library and identify how developing these new relationships will benefit your library

  • Local committees/organizations
  • Local public librarians, friends groups, and patrons
  • Local officials such as your School Committee members, Police Chief, Town Council members
  • Local newspaper reporters and editors
  • State officials Representatives and Senators
  • State Library and education organizations
  • Higher education - Librarians and others

Do rely on some simple, time-tested, strategies in order to effectively build your new partnerships

  • Before reaching out to any new potential partners, get to know the mission of their organization and be clear how your library is connected with their work.
  • Be willing to reach out to the new partners in multiple ways and to commit your time to building these partnerships.
  • If you do meet with new partners, be courteous of people’s time by planning interactions carefully, be on time, and stay on message.
  • Remember that sharing personal information should be limited – at times this can help make connections between people, but keep it polite and appropriate.

Cherylann Bertoncini is the school library media specialist at Nyatt School in Barrington, Rhode Island.

Meredith Moore is the school library media specialist at Garden City  & Stadium Elementary Schools in Cranston, Rhode Island.

Do's & Don'ts

  • DO get permission to use student photos. In Cranston, all students must complete and submit a form that covers several items, including the acceptable use policy and a media release. I work with my school secretaries to compile a list of students who cannot be photographed. If a form isn’t submitted, I count that student as a “no.” I also avoid connecting photos and names just to be on the safe side … if a child is holding up work with his or her name on it, I erase the name in Paint before posting the photo.
  • DO let your administrator know your plan. Social media has become an accepted way to reach a school audience, but give your administrator the courtesy of a heads-up. Some people are still leery of Facebook, so you may receive some pushback, but you can be prepared with links to established pages and a description of the content you plan to include.

  • DO publicize your online presence via print. At the beginning of the year, I put together a newsletter that goes home; it promotes the library, upcoming events (like the RI Festival of Children’s Books and Authors), and the blog/Facebook page. I also leave little flyers out on the tables on nights when there is a parent group meeting, highlighting recent posts. 

  • DON’T use your blog or Facebook page as a platform to make statements. You may be tempted to repost articles on controversial topics like PARCC testing opt-outs … don’t do it! Keep your focus positive; the purpose of promoting the activities in your library is to demonstrate your value to the school community. Keep your personal opinions to your personal pages.

  • DON’T be discouraged by low hit counts. Within the past year, Facebook changed the way it distributes posts … the site only shows a fraction of your followers any one item (although if someone likes a post or comments on it, it will show it to a few more). But even if you’re only reaching a small number of your school’s families, you’re still making connections that can translate into volunteers or donations. In addition, you’re showcasing what you do all day – very valuable when it comes to evaluation time! And remember that you can share lesson ideas by tweeting blog posts to your PLN.

Nicole Galipeau is the school library media specialist at Guiteras Elementary School in Bristol, Rhode Island.


Using LibGuides for an Elementary School Library

       I.    Your LibGuide as the Portal

      II.    Curriculum Connections

             Kill bookmarks and favorites!



     III.   Teacher Toolboxes



     IV.   Home-School Connections





     V.    Leverage Interactive Features

            Grade 4 Questioning Strategies:


Nancy Maddocks is the school Library media specialist at Barrington Middle School in Barrington, Rhode Island.  Amy Segal, a GSLIS student from URI, is currently interning with Nancy.

Heidi Blais is the school library media specialist at Cranston High School East in Cranston, Rhode Island.





Do’s and Don’ts for Libguides – High School

·         DO ask students and teachers for feedback on your LibGuide and implement suggestions as appropriate

o   DON’T  feel you have to implement every suggestion given to you

·         DO include content for students, teachers, and families

o   DON’T overload yourself with more content than you can maintain. 

·         DO Promote, Promote, Promote!

o   Promote to Students during Library Orientations, through Twitter, Class visits, etc.

o   Promote to parents at your school’s Open House, through emails, etc. 

o   Promote to teachers through a beginning of the year newsletter, at faculty meetings, in conversation, etc. 

·         DO fill your LibGuides with content specific to each assignment

o   DON’T try to include everything on your page.  Remember that one of our goals is to guide students towards becoming independent.  Allow them opportunities to find additional resources on their own. 

·         DO make your LibGuide a “One Stop Shopping” site

·         DO link to your LibGuide from RICAT, your school’s website, etc. 

·         DO look at other LibGuides to get ideas for content and how to organize your page. 

o   DON’T copy other people’s LibGuides without giving credit