How can public libraries thrive in 2020 and beyond?

Oh, public #libraries - what a decade it has been. #Libraries are long standing institutions wrought in tradition. But for those of you who don't know, libraries are actually very #cool #community #hubs that don't just house books. Libraries have become places where you can find not only books, but music, movies, programs, events and so much more. The biggest challenge libraries have faced is competing (yes I said competing) with their commercial counterparts (aka Amazon and Audible). One of these reasons is that libraries (most of them) refuse to see themselves as a business. But they ARE! There are key differences of course; libraries are not for profit. They support the communities they reside in. Libraries don't have customers (they have patrons) - but that is where the differences end. The truth is, is that libraries need to increase their patron base (or customer base) in order for them to justify their municipal or federal budget, and possibly even justify increases in these budgets. We all know that libraries are often time overlooked by funding - but it would behoove any government to increase funding if libraries can prove their value. Welcome to 2020.

So how can #libraries "prove" their value? One word: #analytics. Using technology and using in library systems (know as Integrated library systems) these institutions need to focus on what is happening to their libraries. Additionally, one key factor in growing and improving analytics, is growing engagement, support and value with their customer (or patron) base. #Marketing is generally where I would suggest libraries to start.

Most #Public #Libraries are considered non-profit (in Canada they are) and in the US, most often libraries that are not considered non-profit, have a #503c attached to the library via a Friends and Family Foundation. Based on that alone, most all libraries have access to a Google Ad Grant. The Google Ad Grant is a #nonprofit #grant that provides qualifying non profits $10,000 per month in free search marketing. Most libraries don't know this - well now you do. Don't know how to set this up? Contact us as we can assist.

The other suggestion I have for libraries looking to generate some additional revenue is getting into the #ecommerce game. Did you know that #ecommerce is a great (and cheap) way to get additional revenue from an already existing marketplace? Most libraries have an engaged group of patrons - the opportunity to generate residual income is immense. Brand Street Agency can assist your library in developing an ecommerce website that sells anything from T-Shirts, to Book Bags, to Notebooks, displaying your library's logo - without every ordering or needing to ship out any products. It's called #print-on-demand and it is a powerful way to create some excitement for your libraries' fundraising as well as continue to #brand your logo to your patron base. The most beautiful part of this new way of merchandising is that the library does not need to bother with actual merchandise, or shipping - everything is made "to order". What does that mean? When a patron visits your Library Ecommerce store, and make a purchase, the order is directly sent to a printhouse that prints, and ships the order direct. The print house charges the library's Credit Card with the Wholesale value, and the library retains the difference between the retail and wholesale value (or the spread). Learn more about how Brand Street Can help your library with this today!

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