Document Type


Publication Date



Purpose: This research identifies which marketing activities libraries are using to promote electronic resources and examines how libraries are measuring the successes or failures of their marketing plans.

Methodology: This research analyzes the literature published in library science on marketing techniques for electronic resources in use at libraries; the corpus is composed of 24 documents published from 1994-2009. The literature is qualitatively analyzed to determine the techniques in use, the libraries’ goals, targeted groups, budgets, and assessments of their marketing plans.

Findings: Thirty-eight unique marketing techniques were discovered in the 24 documents consulted for this research. The four most popular techniques were patron training in a group setting, flyers/brochures, emails to patrons, and surveys. Libraries were generally unclear about stating the goals for their marketing plans but were able to easily identify the target of their marketing efforts. Budgeting was inconsistent among libraries included in this research; nine libraries reported having either no budget for marketing or did not mention budgeting in the article. Assessment was the weakest part of the marketing plans, with four libraries not documenting an awareness of the need for assessment and seven libraries noting an understanding of the need to evaluate their plan but unsure how to do so.

Value: Based on this analysis it is clear that as libraries engage in marketing activities they should make themselves aware of general principles before beginning their plan. Special focus should be given to selecting activities that match the goals of the marketing plan and choosing an appropriate evaluation technique before beginning the marketing activities.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Kennedy, Marie R. 2011. “What Are We Really Doing to Market Electronic Resources?” Library Management 32(3): 144-158.