Marketing Library Services


Publication analysis

About the publication

Title: Marketing Library Services

ISSN: 0896-39081


Purpose, objective, or mission: Marketing Library Services (MLS) emerged in 1987 and is the longest-running publication that regularly delivers how-to articles and case studies for marketers in all types of libraries. They’re written by practitioners from around the world and curated by a respected expert who has 25+ years in the field. These detailed, vetted articles deliver more value than the brief ideas and advice offered via social media.2

Target audience: Information professionals in any type of library who need to learn to do better marketing, promotion, and advocacy.3

Publisher: Information Today, Inc.4

Peer reviewed? No.5

Type: LIS trade.6

Medium: Print and online.7

Content: MLS covers strategies and tactics for all marketing-related topics: advocacy, outreach, branding, segmentation, social media, funding initiatives, long-term campaigns, assessment, ROI, partnerships, promotional materials, program publicity, communications, PR, advertising, etc. Subscribers will also benefit from interviews with marketing masters, conference coverage, book reviews, and news.8

Frequency of publication: Six times a year (January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, November/December).9

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines: The editor of Marketing Library Services, Kathy Dempsey, does not accept blind submissions; instead, it is preferable to email her first (see Editor below) with an article idea, so that she can see if it fits in with upcoming issues, or whether or not something similar has already been published. In a personal correspondence she asserts that if the topic is something useful to Marketing Library Services readership, she will send the author a desired length and deadline. Writers will be sent guidelines, and all graphics (photos, charts, etc.) must be in color and high resolution.10

The site itself says very little about submissions. Editorial communications should be directed to the editor, Kathy Dempsey, at

Types of contributions accepted: From a correspondence with the editor: “Marketing Library Services covers a wide range of marketing-related topics, including these: advocacy, outreach, programming, fundraising, event planning, dealing with the media, getting votes for library issues, proving your value, making good promotional materials, community promotion, online promotion, winning related awards, studying demographics for target marketing, innovations, surveys and focus groups, strategic communication, etc. And, of course, true marketing (plans for full campaigns).” Also, “in addition to the case studies, Marketing Library Services carries news, reviews of books and videos, conference coverage, and links to library articles and culture.” 12

Submission and review process: Authors first should send correspondence to Kathy Dempsey stating their idea. Because Marketing Library Services is published often, timely articles are strongly recommended. Also, authors must have been directly involved in the projects they are writing about, and must write in the first person. Ms. Dempsey states that authors’ specific titles do not matter.13

Editorial tone: Marketing Library Services should not be written in third-person or academic tones. The newsletter’s tone is conversational, professional, and should inspire readers. According to the editor, “Articles should be written as if you’€™re sitting down with a colleague and explaining your project over lunch.”14

The editor will correspond with the author about this after the author’s idea has been accepted.15

Style guide used: Associated Press.16

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

Marketing Library Services is a very good resource for LIS authors interested in writing on community outreach and marketing of library services. Many topics can fall under this umbrella, so it is important for potential authors to be creative and open in how they frame their content.


Audience analysis

About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: Marketing Library Services has 700 subscribers. Most of these are in North America, but some are in Europe and in other English-speaking countries.17

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: Because the content of the newsletter is in English and about a broad topic (marketing), the geographic location of the newsletter’s readership is assumed to reside across the United States. There are some readers from outside the United States, but because marketing can be culturally specific, those readers are likely already doing the work of cultural translation. English is used entirely throughout Marketing Library Services and, for the most part, readers are American or from Europe.18 Because of this spread, colloquialisms should be avoided (as in most professional writing).

Reader characteristics: According to Kathy Dempsey, the editor, most of the readership is comprised of librarians who market for their organization, while others are managers and directors. She also states that some are professors specializing in marketing. Because Marketing Library Services readership is comprised of professionals directly involved in marketing, it may be safely assumed that jargon specific to marketing is fine. As well, because this is a trade journal, readers will be interested in practical information. Kathy Dempsey states from a personal correspondence that, “MLS is written for a wide horizontal market that covers all types of libraries: public, academic, special (medical, gov’€™t, etc.), corporate, and to a lesser extent, K-12 school. It welcomes article queries from all of these librarians. What they all have in common is the need to promote their services. Many case studies about how one lib accomplished a goal can be used as models to doing similar things in other types of libraries. Articles on projects that have this ability to be widely replicated are especially valuable.”19

Readers of Marketing Library Services work in many types of libraries, so it may be safely assumed that they all value libraries’ continuing prosperity. That said, this does not mean that their values are identical. However, the newsletter’s tone is conversational, not argumentative. Articles written arguing strongly for one thing or another probably will not fit in Marketing Library Services.20

Conclusion: Analysis of reader characteristics and their potential impact on authors

Marketing Library Services is a newsletter informing LIS professionals the best practices and valuable ideas regarding LIS marketing. Professionals reading this newsletter are looking for good ideas and solidly practical plans and instances of good marketing. Marketing Library Services is not a dry tome of theoretical research written in an hermetic tone. Nonetheless, most of the readers are deeply engaged with marketing their organization, and are working professionals whose time and attention is valuable. Writers should consider their readers as interested colleagues who are deeply interested in successful programs and campaigns, and how they may learn from writers’ experiences and implement similar strategies in their own organizations.

Last updated: June 29, 2019


Show 20 footnotes

  1. Proquest, “MLS: Marketing Library Services,” Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory, accessed June 29, 2019,
  2. Information Today, Inc., 2019, “Marketing Library Services,”
  3. Information Today, Inc., “Marketing Library Services.”
  4. ProQuest, Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.
  5. ProQuest, Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.
  6. ProQuest, Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.
  7. Information Today, Inc., “Marketing Library Services.”
  8. Information Today, Inc., “Marketing Library Services.”
  9. Information Today, Inc., “Marketing Library Services.”
  10. Dempsey, K., 27 June 2019, personal communication.
  11. Information Today, Inc., 2019, “Subscription & Editorial Info,”
  12. Dempsey, personal communication.
  13. Dempsey, personal communication.
  14. Dempsey, personal communication.
  15. Dempsey, personal communication.
  16. Dempsey, personal communication.
  17. Dempsey, personal communication.
  18. Dempsey, personal communication.
  19. Dempsey, personal communication.
  20. Dempsey, personal communication.

    Knowledge of LIS subject matter: Readers of this newsletter have a high degree of LIS subject matter. Marketing Library Services caters to the LIS profession, so references to library specific trends, ideas, and concepts will be well received and will not require a high degree of explanation. However, because the readership is broadly based across the LIS professional spectrum some terms and knowledge specific to one group may not be appropriate for all readers.[21. Dempsey, personal communication.

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