Start a Revolution: Stop Acting Like a Library

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"But this is how we've always done it!" Objections to taking a fresh tack are about as common as budget shortfalls, and the two are more closely related than you might think. At the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library in Arkansas, Bizzle and his colleagues defied common practices by using creative risk-taking in marketing and outreach to transform their library into a dynamic institution that continues to grow and thrive. Here they recount their story, sharing techniques for success alongside a provocative marketing philosophy that will spur libraries to move beyond their comfort zone. Focusing on creative ways to pull patrons in rather than just push the library out, this book


  • Steers libraries towards defining their brand, explaining why it is crucial to meeting the needs of their users and potential users
  • Offers strategies for getting stakeholders on board and engaged, including how to address budgeting concerns
  • Demonstrates the importance of the library's website as the digital "main branch" of the library, with guidance for creating and promoting it
  • Details the systematic marketing campaign undertaken at the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library, encompassing both traditional and new media channels such as billboards, posters, newspapers, TV and radio, and mobile technology
  • Takes the mystery out of how to use social media platforms as public awareness tools, complete with detailed strategies and step-by-step instructions
  • Shows how to pull it all together into a manageable campaign through strong leadership and teamwork

By the time readers have finished this book, they'll have a roadmap for revolution at their own institution.


Foreword, by Nancy Dowd
Prelude: The Jonesboro Story
Chapter One: The Digital Library
Chapter Two: Going Mobile
Interlude: Crooked Valley Regional Library
Chapter Three: Facebook
Chapter Four: Facebook Advertising (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Mark Zuckerberg)
Chapter Five: Marketing in the "Real World"
Chapter Six: Making Pretty Pictures
Chapter Seven: Convincing the Decision Makers
Chapter Eight: Start Your Own Revolution
Appendix A: Twitter, by Ned Potter
Appendix B: Pinterest, by Josh Tate
Appendix C: More Convincing the Decision Makers, by Carson Block 

Ben Bizzle

Ben Bizzle is cofounder of Library Market, a consulting firm. Previously he was the director of technology at Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library in Jonesboro, Arkansas, where he focused on virtualizing library resources and extending the library's reach beyond the library itself. He was a 2013 Library Journal Marketing Mover and Shaker and part of Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library's 2013 John Cotton Dana Award-winning creative team. Prior to his library career, he spent seven years as a technologist in the healthcare industry.

Maria Flora

Maria Flora is an award-winning journalist and writer who resides in Brookland, Arkansas, with her husband, also a writer, and their two Australian Shepherds. She has raised two children, including a librarian.

"There is a lot of food for thought in this book. The chapters are detailed and offer real-life examples, and each chapter ends with summary points so readers can refer back and review the highlights … this book offers good, enthusiastic advice, backed up by experience."

"Humor plays a big part in the author's marketing strategy, and he provides examples of how his tactics have reached new users ... Highly recommended and especially useful for public libraries, but all libraries will find the marketing strategies for public awareness and support of programs valuable."
— Library Journal

"Without doubt, marketing is the toughest job for us modest librarians. If we can't all hire our own Ben Bizzles, we can purchase this book and milk its wisdom until we need to buy another copy to replace the one we have worn out."
— Catholic Library World

"As a guide to developing a fresh perspective on libraries, this book will benefit librarians in all service areas … not only does the book lend solid, pragmatic advice, it is an enjoyable read."
— Technical Services Quarterly