Wind River
Library and Nonprofit Consulting
The Customer
Driven Library
Creating the
Customer-Driven Library:
Building on the Bookstore Model
Read an excerpt from
"Creating the
Customer-Driven Library:
Building on the
Bookstore Model.

"Why should nonprofit libraries look to for-profit bookstores as
models of library service? A visit to a local large chain bookstore is
likely to reveal an attractively decorated facility resembling a
"nineteenth-century library, complete with imitation oak paneling
and bookcases, leather chairs, and dark, gleaming library tables"
and "a broad spectrum of customers strolling through the aisles or
enjoying their espresso in the bookstore cafe," attending a
children's story hour or book discussion group--the latter formerly in
the purview of traditional public library service. Woodward, director
of the Fremont County Library System offers a timely and thought-
provoking analysis of the contemporary book superstore
phenomenon in order to arrive at suggestions not only for improving
library service but also for enhancing marketing and promotion
techniques by taking cues from the customer-driven philosophies of
bookstores. A welcome addition to any library administrator's
personal collection, Woodward's excellent treatise on the library-
bookstore dichotomy is recommended for all public and academic
libraries and library consultants."

"Jeannette Woodward gives permission to be a copycat in her new
book ‘Creating the Customer-Driven Library: Building on the
Bookstore Model.’ She examines bookstore successes for ways that
libraries can market their services using low-or no-cost techniques,
including how to create accessible signs, catalogs, and interior
spaces; providing a step-by-step promotion plan; and offering
effective communication through brochures and websites.”
--American Libraries

“Woodward capitalizes on the popularity of bookstores by identifying
lessons learned from their success that can benefit libraries. She
compares the customer experience in both settings and makes
several recommendations about enhancements that libraries should
consider adopting such as signage, displays, and comfortable
furnishings. In addition, she discusses the how-tos of marketing
plans, publicity and public relations, and outreach to e-customers.”
--Portal: Libraries and the Academy

Creating the Customer-Driven Library provides a blueprint for
overcoming many of these obstacles. Libraries have the advantage
of being highly individual and able to respond to the needs of their
community. By placing a high value on customer service and
identifying customer needs the libraries have an immediate
advantage. The book focuses in turn on ways of maximising this
advantage through using technology to enhance services, paying
attention to ambience and the arrangement of displays and
materials and ensuring that the signage system helps clients
navigate the library.

An extensive section on marketing leads the librarian through the
intricacies of identifying the community's needs and developing a
marketing plan that will help the library achieve its goals. The
importance of well-designed promotional material, both in print and
online, is examined in detail along with strategies for generating
publicity and positive public relations. The final sections canvass
the options for responding to the changing environment. Why not
consider establishing a library care or going into a partnership with
an existing business? How do we work effectively with volunteers?
How do we revive a library on a zero budget? And how do we face
an uncertain future?

By building on the bookstore model, Jeanette Woodward has
developed a guide that enables libraries to compete effectively,
even with a limited budget. Using the techniques outlined in this
book, libraries will be better able to build on their strengths, to make
the libraries into hubs of community activity and to ensure that
community members become lifelong committed supporters and
friends of the library.
-- Australian Library Journal
For more
information or to
Creating the
Building on the
Bookstore Model
Click here

How can libraries make a difference in their communities when
customers choose to hang out in the spacious, well-stocked new
bookstore instead? With the goal of helping libraries market their
services using low-cost or no-cost techniques, Woodward shares
practical lessons for any library's revitalization inspired by the
success of mega bookstores.

Bookstores have succeeded by focusing on the customer, and
libraries need to take a page from this playbook. While keeping one
eye on their mission—to broaden library use and increase
relevance while serving community needs—libraries can improve
customer service, looks, and functionality in ways that enhance its
community mission. Use Creating the Customer-Driven Library to:

Offer accessible, customer-friendly signs, catalogs, and interior
Identify the unique needs of your library's community—then meet
those needs
Create a step-by-step, customized promotion plan that
communicates with your market
Find cost-effective ways to connect-—from user-friendly web sites
to promo brochures
Show customers what the library has to offer and entice them to
give it a try

Libraries remain vitally important to the organizations and
communities they serve. Using these outreach and marketing
strategies, Woodward shows libraries how to “Become better than a
bookstore,” even without a hefty budget.

Table of Contents

Focusing on Success
Looking Ahead
Let's Hear It for Libraries
All Libraries Can Learn
The Library's Mission Comes First
1 Why Bookstores Are So Appealing
Location, Location, Location
The Welcoming Bookstore
Observing Customer Service
Layout and Signage
The New Bookstore Model
Food, Drink, and Entertainment
Leaving the Bookstore

2 Comparing Libraries and Bookstores
The Library's Location
The Library Exterior
Entering the Library
Visiting the Stacks
The Joyful Children's Library
Meeting Customer Needs
Behind the Scenes
Taking Our Leave

3 Focusing on the Bottom Line
The Bookstore's Single Objective
In Search of a Bottom Line for the Library
The Diversity of Library Services
The Value of Library Statistics
Equating the Bottom Line with Customer Satisfaction
Measuring the Library's Success
Collecting Only Useful Information

4 Valuing Customer Service
Checkout Desk versus Circulation Desk
Overdue Fines
Comparing Small and Large Libraries
The Stressed-Out Research Library
The Information Desk
Vast, Empty Stacks
Reference Assistance
Comparing Customer Satisfaction
The Responsive Public Service Staff
The Library's Not-So-Secret Weapon

5 Identifying Customer Needs
Changing Neighborhoods, Changing Lifestyles
Balancing Staff and Customer Needs
Does the Librarian Really Know Best?
Listening to Our Customers
Anticipating Busy Times
Fine-Tuning the Library Schedule
Full Service versus Expanded Hours
The Responsive Library
The Pulse of the Community
Learning about the Community
Reaching Younger Customers
Reaching Other Groups

6 When the System Crashes: Using Technology to Enhance
Not Defeat the Library
The Beleaguered Customer
When the Bookstore's System Crashes
Dependence on Technology
Hiring Technical Staff
Managing Technical Staff
Planning for Continuity
Uniting Technical and Traditional Staff

7 One Library, One Goal: Establishing Clear Priorities
Conflicting Library Goals
Integrating Library Priorities
Our Customer-Unfriendly Classifications
Customers Come before Theory
Automation and the MARC Record
Amazon's Catalog
Technology Requires Fundamental Changes
Customer Service and the Library Staff
Learning from Small Libraries
The Research Library's Unique Challenge
Simulating Real-World Conditions
Training Student Staff

8 What's All This about Ambience?
Bookstore Decor
Responding to Customers' Sensory Needs
Increasing Public Service Presence
Spaces Where Customers Feel at Ease
The Importance of Color in Libraries
The Psychology of Color
Color Choice Can Be Difficult
Attacking Library Clutter
Cleanliness May Indeed Be Next to Godliness
Grime As the Customer Sees It
Working with a Custodial Staff

9 The Art of Display
Arrangement of Materials
Making Materials More Appealing
Color Relationships
Getting Started
The Display Designer's Toolbox
Construction Materials
Other Materials
Display Cases
Display Cases Require Commitment
Getting Ideas

10 Finding Their Way: The Importance of Signage
The Library's Signage
Basics of Good Signage
Comparing Bookstore and Library Signs
The Right Signs in the Right Location
The Signage System
Responding to Customer Needs
Choosing the Right Words
Good Signage Needn't Be Expensive
Word Processing and Desktop Publishing Programs
Touring the Library as a Customer
A Sign System Is a Work in Process

11 Marketing Our Wares
Distinguishing between Kinds of Support
Learning to Use the Tools of Marketing
Discovering Hidden Constituencies
Developing a Marketing Plan
Begin with Your Mission Statement
Identify Community Needs
Identify Obstacles to Achieving Goals
Distinguish between Your Primary and Secondary Markets
Narrow and Focus the Goal
Identify the Competition
Establish a Marketing Budget
Establish a Time Line
Leverage the Impact of the Marketing Plan
Schedule the Production of Promotional Materials

12 Creating Promotional Materials
The Growth of Desktop Publishing
Isn't It a Lot of Work?
Competing for Your Customers' Attention
The Basics of Production
Explore Both In-House and Outsourced Options
Getting Started
Getting into Print
Make the Right Printing Choice
Get the Most Effective Publication for the Lowest Price
Make It Perfect before Printing
Protect Precious Files
The Joy of Scanning
Investigate Desktop Publishing Programs
Creating a Promotional Blitz

13 Serving the Library's E-patrons
A World of Information Providers
Creating the Library Website
Building the Site
Website Design Principles
Make Routine Maintenance a Priority
Applying Library Skills to Cyberspace
Using the Website to Achieve Library Goals
Attracting Customers
Meeting Customers' Cyber Needs
Learning from the Yahoo! Model
The Website as a Group Effort
Creating Web Pages for a Larger Site
Selecting Hardware and Software
Basic Hardware
Digital Cameras
Graphics Tablets
Finding a Host

14 Generating Publicity for the Library
Reaching New Customers
Attracting Financial Support
Creating a Publicity Machine
Getting into Print and on the Air
Crafting the Press Release
The Library as the Media Sees It
Sending Out Digital Photos
The Library Newspaper Column
Play by Their Rules
Content Dos and Don'ts
Becoming a Public Personality
Preparing for a Speaking Engagement
Becoming a Speech Writer
Forget the Orations of the Past
Coping with Controversy
Let Your Product Speak for Itself

15 Food and Drink in the Library
Clarifying Our Identity
The Library Is a Place
Learning from Bookstores
A Café May Be a Cooperative Endeavor
Legal Issues
Complexity of Operation
Sending Out an RFP
Evaluating Proposals

16 Finding the Time and the Money
Focus on Resources, Not Money
Establishing Priorities
The Public's View of the Library
Accentuating the Positive
First Things First
Achieving Visible Results
Dealing with Crisis
Reducing Hours of Operation
Paving the Way for Recovery
Creating an Effective Volunteer Staff
Expanding the Role of Library Volunteers
Responding to Change
Customer Service Training
Reviving a Library on a Zero Budget

Changing Library Needs
Facing the Uncertain Future
Reexamining the Bookstore Model
Building on Our Strengths, Confronting Our Weaknesses