Thursday, December 08, 2005

Libraries finding a niche as community builders

Every marketing success story involves people finding a niche that they are uniquely able to fill. In the case of Los Angeles public libraries, that niche is the role of community-builder. A local news article describes how LA libraries have achieved a 70% boom in usage over the past 10 years. Despite seething racial tensions and a destructive arson fire that damaged over a million books, the libraries have experienced a renaissance due to sound market research, creative programming, and a lot of hard work! Librarians initiated more than 180 neighborhood meetings to assess what the community would like to see in their new library buildings and designs. Once built, librarians took to the task of addressing the most pressing of its patrons needs: a sense of community. One way they did this was by initiating "Coffee and Conversation," a library program that invites anyone to stop in and talk about what's hot in the news. Librarians also help new immigrants adjust to life in LA by offering popular citizenship classes and collecting needed foreign language materials. Matching up needs and services is marketing in a nutshell, which is what this article touchingly illustrates.

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