TitleOutreach & Promotion Librarian Request Date2012-11-30
RequestorKenning Arlitsch Phone6978
Campuses Bozeman Billings Havre Great Falls FSTS Extension MAES
Cross Depts  
Proposed Dates Start: 2013 End:  
MSU Library proposes the creation of a professional position dedicated to marketing, promoting and communicating the role and activities of the Library to the MSU community. A position dedicated to marketing and promotion will allow the Library to make a more concerted effort to educate faculty, students, staff and the community about the services, physical spaces, and print and electronic collections available to them through MSU Library. This should result in an increased use of library resources which enables the library to become even better stewards of the economic resources bestowed upon them by the taxpayers and legislature of Montana.
The creation of a marketing and promotion position in the Library will meet objective S.3 under the Stewardship goal, Economic Resource. Increase and effectively allocate resources in support of the MSU Strategic Plan. The Library serves as a physical and virtual hub for intellectual curiosity. In FY 2012, 839,157 people entered the library to check out a book, seek research assistance, work on group projects or enjoy a cup of coffee with a classmates or professors. Over 418,000 users visited and viewed 1,000,000 pages on the Library’s website to access information and resources. While these numbers may be impressive, there is a not insignificant portion of the MSU community who does not utilize the resources offered by the Library. Promoting and marketing the library in a more strategic and systematic manner should result in increased usage of the library thus producing a higher return on investment from library resources. This ultimately enables the library to become even better stewards of the economic resources bestowed upon them by the taxpayers and legislature of Montana.
Funding Type: One-Time Only Funding Base (3-yr Recurring) Funding
  FY13 FY14 FY15 Base ($) OTO Startup ($)   FTE;
Salaries       46000     
Benefits       15037.40       
Materials & Supplies              
Contracted Services              
Other Operations              
TOTAL 61037.4   
Please comment, if necessary, regarding cost and requirements.
Describe the Proposal

The important role that the Library plays in the academic pursuits of students and creation of knowledge by faculty is recognized by many.  However, there are groups within the MSU community who are not aware of the myriad of resources and services that the library provides.  A marketing and promotion position would allow the library to identify these groups, target library information to them which should results in increase in the use of library resources. 

For several years, the Library has recognized the need to improve its efforts at marketing and promotion.  However, with a limited and stretched personnel, marketing and promotion has not been incorporated into any role descriptions.  Efforts at marketing and promotion have been unstructured and disjointed.  In 2010, the Library produced a tactical plan for the future direction of the Library.  One of its goals was to Establish a Pervasive Culture of Promotion of the Library’s Services and Collections. Objectives for this goal include

  • a) organizing human resources to support cultural and promotion activities 
  • b) consistently brand the Library’s resources and services
  • c) use all appropriate communication channels to increase users’ awareness of the Library’s resources, services and events and
  • d) promote special and digital collections to members of the MSU community.


While promotion and marketing is a task that everyone in the library can participate, successful marketing and promotion is dependent upon having a significant portion of one’s position/role description dedicated to its execution.  In essence, human resources dedicated to promotion and marketing need to be met before the other objectives of the goal can be adequately met. This would allow the Library to develop a cohesive plan for marketing and outreach efforts.

The marketing and promotion position would be tasked with developing a marketing communication plan and serve as the point person for its execution. In addition, they would consult with other Library personnel in the development of a Library marketing toolkit.  This position would establish relationships with potential stakeholders who would benefit from the library resources available to them.  The position would also be tasked with developing promotional materials.

Describe the broader impacts and benefits of this proposal

One of the major benefits to this position is that it would allow us to increase the return on investments from library resources which will ultimately make the library even better stewards of the economic resources allocated to it.

However, there are broader impacts and benefits.  Increasing awareness of library services and resources can have significant impacts on student retention and academic success.  Studies have been conducted that demonstrate the potential impact of library expenditures on collections and student retention [1],  the role that library employee / student enrollment ratio has on student’s retention and graduation rates[2] and how students who use the library and its resources may have higher GPAs than non-library users[3].  Promoting and marketing library resources to students may help MSU in achieving some of its objectives for the Learning goal. 

Anecdotally, the Library has found that the reason students don’t use the library isn’t because they don’t value it.  Rather, they don’t use the library because they are unaware of the services and resources it provides.  A position dedicated to library marketing and promotion can go a long way in increasing student awareness.

[1] Mezick, E. M. (2007). Return on investment: Libraries and student retention. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 33(5), 561-566. Retrieved from

[2] Emmons, M., & Wilkinson, F. C. (2011). The academic library impact on student persistence. College & Research Libraries, 72(2), 128-149. Retrieved from

[3] Goodall, D., & Pattern, D. (2011). Academic library non/low use and undergraduate student achievement. Library Management, 32(3), 159-170. doi:

Implementation Plan
  • March 2013 – Write position description and PVA and submit to Human Resources for Approval
  • May 2013 – Begin recruitment
  • July 2013 – Hire marketing and promotion specialist
  • September 2013 – Inventory of current promotional and marketing efforts by Library
  • November  2013 – Marketing communications plan developed
  • January –June 2014 – Implement marketing communication plan
  • July-August 2014 – first round of assessment
  • September 2014-June 2015 – Continue implementing marketing plan
  • July-August 2015 – second round of assessment
  • September 2015-June 2016 – Continue implementing marketing plan
  • July-August 2016 – third round of assessment
Assessment Plan

1.The Library can use many existing metrics to begin assessing the effectiveness of the marketing plan. This metrics would demonstrate use of library services and resources. These can include

  • gate counts,
  • reference transactions,
  • library instruction sessions,
  • database and e-journal usage and
  •  website visits.

2.A value of library resources and services can be conducted on an annual basis (example:  This can be used to demonstrate the return on investment and ideally each year our ROI should increase.

3.Pre and post survey conducted to measure constituents’ use and knowledge of library services and resources.

4. Report on new relationships that have been established within the MSU and Bozeman communities

If assessed objectives are not met in the timeframe outlined what is the plan to sunset this proposal?

Eliminate position.

Department Head: Brian Rossmann (
Dean/Director: Kenning Arlitsch (
Executive/VP: Martha Potvin (