The Joys and Fantasies of Library Marketing Navigating the Road of Hope, Success, and Vague Ambitions

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Anthony J. Elia


Value is at the heart of human existence—the value of one’s job, of people, and of time spent. How this all translates into a successful model in libraries is a constant challenge; one which negotiates the existential questions of our institutions with how we portray ourselves and seek to connect with the public. This is where “library marketing” comes into play. While an old concept that dates back at least a century, marketing has come to serve a prominent role in modern libraries. Since the late 1990s, marketing publications have proliferated and theological libraries have sought to be part of that trend. The primary challenges, though, have come in the form of finding solid marketing objectives, overmarketing circumstances that may not interest patrons in meaningful ways, or identifying suitable financial support from parent institutions. This paper will explore the dynamics, struggles, and hopes of marketing specific to theological libraries.

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