Adukt non-fiction and the Kupe murals

Adukt non-fiction and the Kupe murals in the library at Te Ahu

I want to encourage you all to find more ways to promote your libraries for free.  Clearly, for most of us there is little choice in this since our marketing budgets are all but non-existent. When I brought out my first book in 2008 I invested in John Kremer’s weighty tome, 1001 Ways to Market Your Books. I joined Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Gaia. I began to blog in earnest. I created press releases, made videos and, of course, took advantage of my radio connections to record audio for the radio and the internet.

I found out early on that a key premise in marketing is that customers need to see or hear something on average at least six times before making a purchasing decision. We are all inundated with countless messages daily vying for our attention and subconsciously we filter most of these out, for self-preservation, presumably.  We in libraries need to find ways to reach people and gently bypass the filters they carry.

As Laurinda said in her keynote speech, libraries are essential services, just as are hospitals, roads, water and schools.. We don’t need to convince people of our relevance but it is clear that targeted, comprehensive and multi-pronged promotional campaigns are effective in drawing patrons to special events we  hold and to libraries in general.

What follows is really just a summary of key points in the presentation I made at the LIANZA conference in Hamilton. But there are examples of audio clips I made which play on two radio stations in our area for absolutely no charge. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to do something similar. There is also a link to a press release which made the front page in our local award-winning paper, the Northland Age. It champions a local hero in our area.

When I interviewed master carver Duncan Kapa, a key player in the development of the Maori exhibit at Te Papa, he made what I consider to be a vital point. He said that it is not enough to be an artist in today’s world; you have to promote yourself as well. That is certainly the case for authors and I suspect it  is for librarians and libraries as well.

I hope you derive inspiration from the notes that follow. We can all do more to raise the profile of libraries in the eyes of our users. Multiply your efforts by turning press releases into blogs and radio promos into emails. There are no failures. If one event isn’t well attended, the promotion you’ve done for it might just help someone to cross their filter threshold and come to your next special offering.

Finally, do take a moment to view the one minute video below about our beautiful new multi-function community centre in Kaitaia. Te Ahu means ‘the meeting place’. Perhaps I’ll meet you there one day. I would like that, very much.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me on (09) 4089455 Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays or Saturdays in the Kaitaia Library or email me at

Promote Your Library for Free

1. Why would we do this?

-What does a modern library represent?

-Who and what are we competing with   for the time of visitors to the library?

-What budget is there for promotion?

2. How are we going to do this?

3. An important principle of marketing:

The need to see or hear something at least 6 times before making a purchasing decision

4. The same principle applies to getting visitors to library events and to the library in general

5. Cultivating relationships with the media:

-Make it easy for reporters and editors because like many in today’s working world the press have a lot on their plates.

-Make it fun! Make it interesting!

6. What are the options?

-A press release for a specific event
-A library column
-A few words for a side panel
-How about writing about a volunteer or a regular patron (being of service)
7. The press release
-Format: Look closely at your local paper and create in a similar way
-Do your research
-Make it fun
-It doesn’t have to be long
-Provide a photo
Here’s a link to one I wrote that made the front page of the Northland Age:
8. The Column
-How frequently?
-How long (often determined by the editor)?
-Make it manageable; make it human; make it positive
-Kaitaia Library Lore
-Books and Bytes (See and follow my current column on )
9. Let’s talk about radio
-Record short mixed promos (in the studio)
-Weekly what’s on at the library (over the phone)
-Get interviewed
-Really ambitious? Create your own show.
10. Examples of short mixed promos:
Renew online
Recommended reading
Donations accepted
E books
Chess in the library
Here’s a general one for our library. It was recorded before we moved to Te Ahu. Our opening hours have changed since that time.
11. Content on Radio
-Be prepared
-Intro and outro
-Intro example: Kia ora, this is Miss Librarian with What’s on at your local library
-Outro examples: 1. Until we meet again be happy, be healthy and keep on reading 2. Until next time have the best day you’ve ever had.
12. Multiply Your Efforts
-Create a blog; same or similar content to column and press release;
-Automatically send content to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites
-Weekly ‘What’s On’ email
-What’s Happening’ book marks
13. Posters
-Be creative and have fun with Word and Publisher
-Use photos of people to make it personal
-Create black and white A6s to sit with posters
A few examples of our posters:
My colleague Chris made this beauty.

My colleague Chris made this beauty.

Weekly Chess poster 2013

260713 Hip Hop Battle

14. Identify Your Target Audience
-Seniors: newspapers, Age Concern newsletters, posters
-Pre-school: call your contacts in local pre-schools, follow up with emails, posters
-Primary and intermediate age: email school information to put in school newsletters, contact home schoolers, posters
15. Be a Joiner
Again, it’s about relationships.
16. Be Active, Not Passive

Anything’s possible. Give talks at Rotary, Lions or BPW. Invite the Governor General. We participate in our local Age Concern Expo every year. Attend polytechnic and/or university open days. Always have membership forms available to give out.

17. Does Duffy Work for You?

18. Opportunities are everywhere to talk  up your library

Even in a hot spring

19. An Important Principle of Marketing:

The need to see or hear something at least 6 times before making a purchasing decision.

20. Do Something Every Day

-A post on Facebook
-A poster
-Encourage staff to talk up events with patrons
-Email some person or group that might be interested
-Text blast
21. There are no failures.  Just keep moving forward.
22. It all helps build the buzz about the library.
23. The library is as a place to contribute to peace in our communities.
24. With Imagination anything’s possible in your library.
Branch Librarian Helen Yuretich as the Snow Queen - Storylines 2013

Branch Librarian Helen Yuretich as the Snow Queen – Storylines 2013


Chess in the library. Bringing all ages together.

Chess in the library. Bringing all ages together.


Bilingual story time with our wonderful volunteer Waikarere

Bilingual story time with our wonderful volunteer Waikarere



Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: 

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101


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