I’ve been reading a little of everything that can be considered “marketing,” including a few books and articles that discuss branding . In New Jersey The New Jersey Library Association commissioned a survey called Libraries Matter which indicates that in New Jersey, at least, people really love their libraries. We have “a good brand.”

I’ve been wondering, though, if one of the problems that we have with branding and trying to market libraries is that while we all have libraries, everyone has different libraries. I cringe every time I’m watching public television and they say at the end of the program, “You can get these resources at your public library!” because who knows whether those books are actually at the public library or not? Libraries aren’t a franchise. The idea of “library” that I carry in my head from my childhood isn’t the idea of “library” that I have from working where I do, and those two are different from the idea of “library” that I’d have if my library experience was colored by the community where I live.

My point is that people may have had experience with a type of library that didn’t work for them, so they’ll naturally assume that no libraries will work for them. You either like Starbucks or you don’t. You either use libraries or you don’t.

How do we overcome this?