Marketing Your Library to Job Seekers
Marketing Toolkit for Library Outreach to Job Seekers
Table of Contents:
- 1. Overview
- 2. Get Started
- Set goals and objectives
- A quick survey
- 3. Tell the Story
- Develop key messages and talking points
- Find the story
- 4. Reach Out to the Community
- Outreach strategies for News media
- Outreach strategies for Key influencers and decision makers
- Outreach strategies for Internal communications
- Sustain the Effort
- Develop marketing materials
Unemployment rates continue to hover at or near double digits across the nation. No community is immune. But there is help at the public library. For individuals who are unemployed, the local public library provides three tremendously valuable resources:
- The library offers online links to the most current job openings
- Computers are available at no charge at the library (key to researching jobs and emailing applications and resumes)
- The library staff provides expertise in recommending helpful resources (workshops/online research/books) for job searchers who need to develop resumes, hone interview skills and other important techniques in securing a job.
Many job-hunters know what their library offers. Many do not.
Many community leaders and potential employers understand what a valuable resource the library is to individuals who are unemployed. Others do not.
Other resources in the community—such as the local chamber of commerce, the community college, economic development leaders and others focused on the community’s economic health—likewise may not know that the local public library is a potential resource partner to connect unemployed residents to new jobs. Other community organizations can help the public library leverage resources, create efficiencies and boost impact – but only if these partners know about the library and how they can work together.
Awareness makes a difference!
2. Get Started
Set Goals and Objectives
It is more important now than ever that the community—particularly opinion leaders and potential partners—have an accurate understanding of how the public library meets the needs of job seekers in this community.
Set achievable and measurable goals. For example:
- We will compile a database of potential state and local resource partners such as the chamber of commerce, community college, etc.; from this pool we will identify at least 5 potential new community partner organizations that can refer job seekers, co-sponsor job workshops, link to the library on web sites, etc.
- We will ensure that our communications include outreach to staff, Friends of the Library groups and trustees. Our communications will include direct (emails/letters) and indirect (news coverage, marketing collateral) communication targeted to these internal audiences and supporters.
- We will regularly distribute announcements and news releases to the local news media that focus on the critical role that libraries play in the success of job seekers.
- We will measure the increased awareness of the public library as the result of focused communications in the next 12 months in two ways: 1) number of outreach contacts; 2) number of new and potential partnerships.
A Quick Survey
By answering the following 5 groups of questions, you may discover answers that will help you identify new opportunities to raise awareness about the impact of your library’s services for job seekers and that can provide content to help you customize the template materials in this on-line toolkit (including news release, talking points and communications plan).
- Has the library seen increased use of computers or library facilities (individual carrels and/or meeting rooms) related to people using the library as a resource in their job hunt? If yes, how do you measure the increase? What is the percentage increase since 2009? Since 2008 (or other meaningful date)?
- Has your library presented special programming targeted to assisting unemployed patrons? If yes, what were the programs and when were they delivered? Did the attendees provide feedback or evaluations that could be a source of information that you could share with potential partners/potential co-sponsors of future programs?
- Does your staff find that some job seekers need assistance on basic computer skills and online searches? If yes, have they developed any shortcuts or handouts to assist patrons who may be “technologically challenged”? Examples of these tools can help illustrate the breadth of the knowledge gap that the library is helping to bridge.
- Do you find that patrons who are unemployed are surprised to find how comprehensive the library’s tools are? Or, do they express confidence that the library will always be their trusted, reliable source for accurate and essential information? Brief stories as examples of user experiences add warmth to statistics in presentations and other communications channels.
- What do you consider to be the most important role of the library in meeting the needs of the unemployed in your community? Are there ways to improve what you are doing in that regard? What would help you get to the next level? This last answer is the point to reinforce in communications and to repeat in your written and spoken materials.
3. Tell the Library Story
Develop Key Messages and Talking Points
The public library is the best place to find current job postings, free computer access and expertise from staff who know the best online and off-the shelf resources
Additional supporting messages:
Awareness of the public library’s breadth of resources is more important now than ever.
Job seekers in our community rely on our public library as their trusted, reliable source for accurate and essential information
- Job seekers in this community are seeking—and finding—help at the library:
- In the last 12 months, our local unemployment figures have been reported at __ percent.
- In the last 12 months, our local unemployment figures have been reported at __ percent.
- Online access is essential for job seekers
- At the library, our computers are busy with job hunters. We have __ stations at __ branches. There’s never a time that’s not busy.
- Employers in the public and private sector – in the community and across the nation use the web as the almost universal default “billboard” for posting available positions.
- People who do not have day-to-day access to a computer (or whose budgets no longer have room for an internet subscription) increasingly turn to the library for this essential connection.
- Our staff provides hands-on assistance for patrons—including job seekers
- That means we help people develop their computer searches;
- we suggest books and articles that relate to developing good resumes and applications;
- and we provide suggestions about job interview techniques and other relevant information.
- We are excited about what we have been able to accomplish so far and look forward to working with potential partners in the community to help even more of our unemployed neighbors in the future.
Key audiences: external
- Job hunters
- Local government leaders and civic leaders (Economic Development/Chambers of Commerce/Rotary, etc.)
- Local community college leaders
- Local Employment Community Commission
Key audiences: internal
- State Library
- Neighboring public and academic libraries
- Library staff
- Library board/trustees
- Friends of the library groups
Find the Story
Find the faces of the story
- Set up a suggestion box in the computer area and ask job seekers to share their positive experience with the public library. Provide a form, which asks for their name, contact number and at least one sentence about how the library is helping individuals find a job.
- Create an online repository of these stories on the library web site. Include an email address or online submission form to collect additional stories.
- Review and select the most compelling examples and interview the individuals. (Have the selected individuals sign release forms.) Their stories can become feature items in internal and external newsletters or presentations. The individuals can be interview sources for the local media.
Get the facts
- Research the current unemployment rate as compared with other benchmarks (12 months ago/5 years ago/during the last sustained recession of 1981/82).
- Identify numbers of computers at the library, average number of hours used in a week.
- Add up the number of workshops focused on job related topics in last 24 months.
- Brainstorm other relevant facts (numbers of hours local libraries are open to serve/Library budget per capita/library budget per unemployed person in region, etc.).
- Put the facts together in a fact sheet that shows bullet point information and stats. The media really value and rely on this kind of data
4. Reach Out to the Community
Outreach strategies for news media
Refocus on the news media channel.
- You likely know the news media contacts who cover the library, but you will also want to develop a media list of local reporters and editors that cover business at local newspaper, radio and TV outlets.
- Develop template fact sheet with key stats that reporters can use as ready reference.
- Meet with local daily paper’s editorial board to introduce the scope of the issue and the resource that library is serving. Pitch story ideas to both the business reporters and the reporters who normally cover library stories.
- Contact local TV and radio news rooms and offer story ideas that relate to the library as a resource. For example:
- a library patron who found a job thanks to the help received at the library;
- or a local business leader who previously was not aware of what a great resource the library was for connecting the right candidate to job openings at the local business.
- Send monthly update news release and post links prominently on web site for:
- job seeker stats
- resources that are available
- new job search partners
- speaking engagements etc.
- Ask your Friends of the Library or Library Trustees to write letters to the local paper in praise of recent local news coverage of library-related events, tours, announcements. If the paper does not cover news that you have announced, have the letters cover the salient points that should have been covered. This strategy serves as either an echo of good coverage, or in the absence of coverage, it lets the community know a bit of the library’s good news story—especially as it relates to how the library serves job seekers.
Outreach strategies for key influencers and decision makers
Target key influencers with events.
- Create a media kit for each event, with fact sheet, news release and any other collateral material. Hand out to reporters who attend event.
- Hold a tour/demo of the library’s job-related resources to showcase what the library has to offer.
- Invite the media.
- Develop lists of local leaders and potential programming partners.
- Invite these local business and civic leaders along with internal audiences.
- Promote in advance with local media and welcome the public to attend.
- Reach out to the local business community to co-sponsor a job skills workshop (or series). Have one or more events at the library to reinforce the message that the library is at the center of the community. Encourage partners to co-promote events to their membership and media contacts.
Deliver your message in person to decision-makers.
- Develop PowerPoint presentations with a recap of the local situation and a clear story about how the library is meeting the needs for local job seekers.
- Contact the Chamber of Commerce, local government officials etc., to line up speaking engagements and get on local calendars of one group or another of key influencers at least monthly.
- Contact other job resource agencies in the community and meet one-on-one with leaders to determine common ground and how potential partnership efforts might work to the benefit of both. When an agreement is lined up, make a joint announcement of the partnership and send news release to media and to the key influencers in your database.
Outreach strategies for internal communications
Important internal communications
- Keep your internal audiences informed with special communications/previews of public announcements. Reinforce these with regular communications, such as updates on job search successes, messages in newsletters for staff, Friends and trustees, updates and briefings at regular meetings.
- Copy internal audiences on all public announcements and news releases. Send clips with email cover notes to internal audiences and to key external audience members.
Sustain the Effort
- Maintain a database of key influencers/potential partners and note particular timetable for follow-up re: potential joint programming, funding, etc.
- Collect clips from news coverage and follow up with reporters to clarify points as needed.
- Establish benchmarks:
- numbers of job seekers
- numbers of partners and outreach
- news clips on the subject before the focused communication about the job resources provided by the library was launched as compared with 3 months after and 6 months after
5. Marketing Materials
Develop marketing materials
- Produce bookmarks and fliers with job resource info and have it displayed at circulation desks and computer terminals in the library.
- Share marketing collateral with partner agencies to promote via their distribution channels. Take along as handouts to all speaking engagements
- Create a job resource link/links on your web site so that job seekers can have a reliable online source for this vital information.
- Encourage local business and job related organizations (such as the community college) to include a link to the library web site on their web links.
- Always include the library name, physical address, phone number and website, on any printed material.
- Keep your message very short.
- Make sure the message is consistent with related marketing material and handouts.
- For a bookmark, if it has more text than would fit on a billboard, cut it down.
- For a brochure, consider limiting the size so that you have flexibility to mail or distribute in desk displays.
- For a poster, keep text to a minimum (as with bookmark).
- For a handout, make font size 14 points or bigger for best readability.
Sample Bookmark text:
The latest news for job hunters is always at the library
This marketing toolkit includes graphics files for you to download and use in conjunction with your workforce recovery marketing and outreach efforts.
- Bookmark, 1 color and 1 black-and-white version
- Be sure to replace the text with your own library name, hours and URL.
- Letterhead, 2 color and 1 black-and-white versions
- Legal size letterhead, 2 color and 1 black-and-white versions
- Tabloid size (for newsletters or posters), 2 color and 1 black-and-white versions
(Note: reproductions of these graphics should include recognition of IMLS as the agency whose funding makes this possible.)
This project was made possible by the Project Compass grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.
This work is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License