The mutations of marketing and libraries

This article provides good information as to the key concepts of promoting libraries, and why they are important. There are the four ‘P’s when it comes to marketing: ‘Product’, “Price’, ‘Place’, and ‘Promotion’. By using these concepts, it is possible to let the general population be aware of all the items and services the library provides. The shows the changing evolution of promoting libraries, and it emphasize how current technologies, such as mobile apps takes on to the new frontier. 



Creating a Mobile Booklist “App”

This article explains the process of how an app was created and the justifications on its template and layout. It’s a very resourceful articles that shows an app and its functions step bu step. We can use this article as a guide to see what information we can include in the body for our app. It solidify that apps help promote the libraries, and increase awareness of its resources. 


Marketing of library and information products and services

The following is an article that describes why marketing for the library and its services are important in our society. The authors describes its marketing process in Bangladesh, where modern public and academic libraries have set up their own marketing and customer services departments and to promote and satisfy its patrons. Some key notes to marketing libraries: increase user satisfaction, manage libraries and products, attain the goals and objective of libraries.

I’ll Second That! (Using apps to bring attention to libraries)

I have to admit that most of what our project is about has already been discussed by Nel so I will not bore you by repeating what she said.  I completely agree with Nel but I want to also add my thoughts. 

Stack Tracks is about bringing attention to libraries and archives that offer either unique collections or, like the Seattle Public Library, a unique look.  I think our app can bring together the enjoyment people find in discovering something new, viewing wonderful architecture, and travel.  When people use Stack Tracks we want them to plan trips to the library like people plan trips to the ballpark.  A few years ago there was a commercial that featured two young men (maybe it was Visa commercial?) planning a summer road trip to visit all of the Major League ballparks.  Their trip not only highlighted the joy of the game but the beauty of the ballpark.  The concept of Stack Tracks is the same but instead of traveling to the meccas of baseball a user would be traveling to the meccas of information. 

Hanson mentioned in his article that creating an app is done for three reasons; profit, functionality and exposure (2011). The most important for our app is exposure and the least important is profit.  Exposure means bringing attention to libraries and archives in a fun and portable way, through mobile devices.  We want to make our app available not only to the user but to include interaction with the mobile websites already created by the libraries that users plan to visit.  The creation of our app is not about making money although money will be required to make the app so fundraising strategies will be important.  Our application is about creating fun and excitement in cool and unique libraries and archives.

My topic for the literature review was to focus on articles that discuss application creation.  Most of the literature I found discussed the creation of mobile websites and web applications by various libraries.  These articles included things like best practices, development options and possible functionality.  Mobile websites and web applications tend to be more popular amongst libraries because they are simple to write and require less resources (Haefele, 2011).  To locate my resources I searched through various library and reference journals such as Library Technology Reports, The Reference Librarian, and Reference Services Review. To gain a more technical perspective I review technology and computer science sources available from the 2010 Ninth International Conference on Mobile Business, IEEE Software, and Pervasive Computing. The articles below represent what I feel are three essential articles for our project.


Haefele, Chad. (2010). One block at a time: Building a mobile site step by step. The Reference Librarian, 52:1-2, 117-127. Retrieved from

This article highlights the best practices for libraries that want to develop a mobile website created during the development of the mobile website for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill libraries.  Although we are not conceptually designing a mobile website, the best practices for website development highlighted in the article transfer easily to best practices that can be used in application creation and design.  The article is not the most recent article when you consider the changes in the last two years for mobile devices and development but the information is still very pertinent and covers functionality and technology that is now offered by many libraries.


Hanson, C. W. (2011). Chapter 3: Mobile Solutions for Your Library. Library Technology Reports, 47(2), 24. Retrieved from

Hanson’s article is essential to our project because he discusses mobile functionality and technology available to libraries today and possible implementations for the future.  It is important to understand what mobile technology and functions libraries use.  This understanding will allow us to focus on what technology has worked for libraries, what can be improved, and to create an application that is functionally compatible with what libraries already offer through their mobile sites.

Gavalas, D. & Economou, D. (2011). Development Platforms for Mobile Applications: Status and Trends. Software, IEEE, 28:1, 77-86. Retrieved from

Since we are conceptually designing an application that might eventually be created, I believe it is necessary that we include a more technical source in our literature review.  This article is great because it discusses what development platforms are most popular and which tools and resources are available for those development platforms.  This is article is not too technical but technical enough to give our group a better understanding of the lexicon of mobile application development.  We do not have to be computer science experts but it is important that we know what is out there and how to discuss it.

Using apps to bring attention to libraries

For our project, the archives and special collections special interest group has decided to craft a proposal for a mobile application. This app, called Stack Tracks, will highlight libraries and provide information about their collections, as well as integrate with Google Maps or similar geographic information system technology to help users locate libraries that are nearby or on a certain route. We developed a list of topics that relate to different aspects of this project and divided them between us. In this post, I would like to outline my ideas for Stack Tracks, explain why I feel it is important, and share some articles that I found that I think are essential to read when considering using apps and other technology to bring attention to libraries.

A goal of Stack Tracks is to bring attention to libraries by highlighting unique features or services, and increase access to library collections—either by serving as a gateway to other, more in-depth apps and sites related to the libraries it identifies or by encouraging people to visit the libraries in person. This is important for a number of reasons.

First, as Dahlkild (2011) noted, increased interest in the concept of the digital library, or “the library without walls,” has heightened “interest in the library as a physical space” (p. 33). This app will take advantage of this in two ways. Because libraries have long been symbolic centers of learning, many communities have invested considerable time and money in erecting library buildings that are architecturally significant or which have become iconic landmarks (Dahlkild, 2011; Lamster, 2012; Latimer, 2011). Librarians also are becoming “experimentariums” (Niegaard, 2011, p. 177), using space and offering services in ways that are experimental, experiential, and innovative. Stack Tracks will draw people’s attention to architectural wonders and innovative environments alike.

As more library holdings become connected and books digitized and easier to find, it is special collections that continue to make libraries unique (Sandler, 2006). In addition, there has always been an element of the “curiosity cabinet” (Gwynn, 2011, p. 51) in the notion of a library, with many libraries owning or housing unique artifacts and artwork. By featuring these rare documents, collections, and unique artifacts, Stack Tracks will be increasing awareness of items that may have been long ignored or of which many people will have been unaware (Boyer, 2010; Morris & Davis, 2011).

By highlighting the rare and innovative, Stack Tracks will encourage people to consider the effort and thought that go into preservation and planning at libraries (Boyer, 2010). As such, it may work toward reversing stereotypes of librarians as outdated and overly preoccupied with rules and regulations (Radford, 2003), or as mere technicians, and of libraries as warehouses for books (Fernandez, 2009; Garrison, 1972-3).

Ultimately, projects like Stack Tracks are important because they increase awareness of libraries, archives, and collections (Boyer, 2010; Wong, 2012)—part of our effort to live up to the American Library Association and the Association of College and Research Libraries’ expectations that librarians understand “the importance of effective advocacy” (ALA, 2009, 1H) and that they promote “appreciation and use of special collections” (ACRL, 2008, 11.M-N)—and because they encourage people to visit libraries in person. Craig (2011) noted that “materiality, machines, people, presumptions, and multiple players of culture are part of the essential dimensions of any record” (p. 214); viewing a rare document in person rather than onscreen makes history real (Boyer, 2010). We need to encourage people to take advantage of libraries, archives, and special collections because they contain evidence of our past and provide “an account of the present for the future” (p. 233). Stack Tracks will join the efforts of other libraries and librarians to increase online and physical access of our shared heritage. At the same time, we want to remain true to libraries’ heritage as spaces of independent inquiry (Lilburn, 2012); while creating and distributing the app via mainstream commercial platforms is most realistic at this juncture, hopefully non-commercial alternatives will develop and increase the app’s reach.

For my portion of the literature review, I sought articles that focused on using apps and social media technologies to promote libraries. To locate relevant research, I used the University of Washington libraries to review prominent journals like Library Trends, Library Quarterly, and Library Journal, as well as conducted searches in Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts; Library and Information Science Abstracts; and Library Literature & Information Science. Here are the articles that I found most essential as background for this project:

[Note that if you are unaffiliated with the University of Washington, the article links below may not work]

Boyer, D. (2010). From internet to iPhone: Providing mobile geographic access to Philadelphia’s historic photographs and other special collections. The Reference Librarian, 52(1-2), pp. 47-56. Retrieved from

In the context of describing a project by the Philadelphia Department of Records to create a mobile site and app of historic photos and records, this article shows the potential of an app focused on special collections to increase access to holdings, use GIS technology to provide context, build interaction with the community, and increase collaboration with other institutions. Boyer also describes some of the challenges the project faced in creating the site and app, and offers guidelines for other organizations thinking of starting a similar project.

Lilburn, J. (April 2012). Commercial social media and the erosion of the commons: Implications for academic libraries. Libraries and the Academy, 12(2), pp. 139-153. Retrieved from

Although this article does not speak to using apps to increase awareness of special collections, I feel that it is an essential read for anyone thinking about whether or not to use social media and other technologies in promoting an academic or public library. Lilburn presents the other side of the story, so to speak, by pointing out that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are owned by private commercial companies, as are sites like iTunes that sell and promote apps. This raises important questions about whether this undermines the library as a place of open access. He asks, “what does it mean for libraries to establish a presence on proprietary platforms…How might libraries continue to offer an alternative to commercial space if we willingly participate in it?” (p. 145). I think the last question is most important. I’m not convinced that libraries can afford to ignore social media and other new technologies, but is there a way for them to participate that preserves the commons?

Wong, S.H.R. (2012). Which platforms do our users prefer: Website or mobile app? Reference Services Review, 40(1), pp. 103-115. DOI: 10.1108/00907321211203667

While taking place at a Hong Kong university, the experiment to determine whether users prefer a mobile site to an app that Wong describes in this article still has relevance to the US. Wong provides some useful and interesting statistics about mobile app use in the US, explains the advantages and disadvantages of apps and mobile sites, and contains tips and strategies useful for others considering building and promoting an app.

Bonus! Here are three other, short articles worth checking out:

Morris, C., & Davis, M. (2011). Expanding effective 21st century access to historical and academic materials: Examples, strategies and implications. Collaborative Librarianship, 3(3), pp. 154-156. Retrieved from

This article contains an anecdote about the success of the British Library’s iPad app that articulates a key reason for using mobile technology: to increase access and awareness. As Morris and Davis note, “many of the books displayed in the app may not have been viewed for over a hundred years. More than 60% of the titles in the app are not available elsewhere online, and prior to release, a researcher or casual reader would have had to get to London, make a Reading Room appointment and request books to review onsite” (p. 155).

Fernandez, J. (September-October 2009). A SWOT analysis for social media in libraries. Online, 33(5), pp. 35-37. Retrieved from

This brief article contains a general SWOT analysis of social media in libraries and points out the potential of social media to reverse stereotypes about librarians, by letting people see that “libraries are run by real people for real people with information needs” (p. 36).

Rapp, D. (February1, 2012). Apps: What do patrons want? Library Journal, p. 27. Retrieved from

This infographic illustrates the results of a recent survey conducted by Library Journal about what services patrons would like to have in a library app.

NYC Municipal Archives Boon

A few weeks ago, New York City’s Department of Records debuted its photo database–nearly 1 million images of NYC that date back to the mid-1800s. I’m sometimes wary of massive digitization projects (if you haven’t, take a look at Google’s awesome/terrifying digitization flubs at The Art of Google Books), but the NYCDR’s project has turned out well. I’ve been gawking at old images of the city for several days now. Have a look!

Blog recommendation: New & Noteworthy Collections from UCI

As I was searching online I came across this blog from the Langson Library at the University of California, Irvine, and thought I’d share it as an interesting example of a blog specifically dedicated to sharing items and collections from the archives. I especially like how, in some posts, they highlight a specific research situation and how the archivists were able to assist the researcher with something from the library. It really looks like the librarian puts a great deal of time, thought, and effort into this blog. Well done!