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staff development, library management


This paper discusses the essential prerequisite for a state-of-the-art academic library in marketing and promoting its services today and into the future: library staff with particular personal and professional attributes. Using the experiences of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and City University of Hong Kong (CityU) libraries, the authors describe in what practical ways library management can prepare and support staff to market the library product effectively. Libraries are facing unprecedented change. Two trends in particular are highlighted in this paper, since they directly affect the physical and virtual usage of libraries: First, there is a new generation of computer-literate young people who always resort to the Web for any first, and indeed last search for information. Second, this generation seems to have developed new study habits, and is now more interested in sharing together in an interactive and informal environment. To be able to adapt continuously to the changing environment and attract new generations of readers, library staff members not only need to offer a wider range of facilities, but also need to engineer a fundamental change in their approach to service delivery. Librarians need to be effective and proactive in marketing. It is posited here that marketing is not the same as publicizing; it is not simply telling their communities how good their libraries are, and hoping people will come. The right people are crucial in making any implementation a success. Professional librarians and library assistants need to be recruited and promoted to ensure the future place of the library in the hearts of its community of readers. Library management needs to work hard at supporting outgoing and lively staff in this profound cultural shift, by developing and honing their marketing skills. In focusing on ever-evolving interaction with, and surveys of, users, in constantly re-engineering provision, and learning from service outcomes, any library will secure its place and its brand-name as a dynamic learning engine for both its readers and its staff.

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2006 IFLA Management and Marketing Section's Conference

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