Sunday, April 03, 2005

Why Libraries Need Marketing: Reason #106

I hope I'm preaching to the choir here, but for-profit companies and Internet information providers (e.g. Learner's Library, Questia, Google Answers, etc.) are marketing many of the same information resources and services that libraries provide to your users and potential users. Sadly, most users don't know that those same resources, or better, are available from their local library for free. And they have no idea about how many resources they can access electronically through the library. Sometimes these for-profit services are fee-based, other times they just provide inferior information. Either way, you can be sure that someone else is talking to your users about them. So if you're not constantly informing and reminding your audiences what information the library provides electronically and otherwise and that they ALREADY paid for it, then you're losing opportunities and users.

Case in point:

Gary Price recently reviewed LookSmart's five new sites aimed at different user groups. Each offers access to FindArticles material along with an interface to search the LookSmart Web index.

There's certainly no mention of libraries on the about us page of 24hourScholar:

24HourScholar is a vast archive of published content, providing a comprehensive resource for academic researchers. Visitors can search or browse thousands of articles on subjects in the humanities, sciences and social sciences. Content is drawn from dozens of quality magazines, academic publications and professional journals. All articles can be read and printed in their entirety at no cost. 24HourScholar is powered by FindArticles, a service of LookSmart.

As Price said:

I've said many times before that it's really sad when students and the general public for that matter don't know that thousands of public libraries offer full text and free access to thousands of sources (newspapers, magazines, full text reference books that are accessible with a library card WITHOUT having to visit the library.

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