There are two goals for academic libraries when it comes to exposure. The first is to market the library and its resources, and ensure all students know what is available to them. The second, is to advocate for the library. This means reaching faculty members, the board of directors and anyone else of influence. In both cases, market research is a powerful tool to achieve the results you want.
Advocacy for the academic library doesn’t focus on current and potential users the way that marketing does. Rather, advocating for the library is about reaching influencers that can influence the funding, attention and support that the library receives.
Who counts a decisionmaker? Everyone who has some sway that impacts the library.
This can include affluent individuals, your school's Board of Directors, Student Senate and the like. Some of these people may not use the library often, but that doesn’t mean they can’t impact it. In fact, some of the most influential decisionmakers on and off campus may not visit or use the library at all.
Advocacy is an important part of your overall strategic plan for your library because it…
- Increases decisionmakers’ understanding of the value of the library and thus, the amount of funding you receive.
- Garners support for policy changes that will improve the library’s environment, resources, practices, etc.
- Helps you determine the marketing tactics that best suit your library.
That’s where, you guessed it, market research comes in. One of the best ways to gain the attention of busy decisionmakers who are invested in the bottom line of the university, is with numbers.
If you can provide reliable data on the following topics, you are in a position to succeed in advocating for your library:
- Trends in student learning processes.
- Resources students are using more often.
- Research on industries that are in demand with students and faculty now and that will be in demand in five years.
- Technologies that will impact the way the library serves the campus, and technologies that students and faculty will need in the future.
At BCC Research, we want to be your partner in success. Our library offers reliable, easy-to-consume data to help you advocate for your library and get all of your requests fulfilled.