Marketing a City Library in the Face of Negative Attitudes

Document Type




Publication Date



International Academy of Business Economics

Source Publication

International Journal of Business Strategy

Source ISSN



Marketing research was employed to understand the shortcomings of an underutilized city library. It was then used to build an integrated marketing campaign for a ballot initiative to build a new city library to unite public and private actors. Secondary literature and focus group research with residents of diverse urban neighborhoods were analyzed to shed light on the experience of library space by city residents. Results showed that residents were concerned by the limited hours for special programming, unsavory characters surrounding the existing library, and an outdated public building. Further complicating the issue was a perception the library had become outdated by new information technology. These concerns were incorporated into a multi-media campaign to promote a ballot initiative to fund a new, state-of-the-art urban library. The campaign work included education, communication and publicity – power point presentations to community groups, print flyers and other educational materials to promote the benefits of a new library, distributed through door-to-door communication, and local media. This research-driven campaign is a case study to showcase how integrated marketing communications can be used to address public concerns and misunderstandings to the benefit of the community. In Fall 2011, the city mill levy passed, despite a national political climate of anti-taxation efforts. Construction of the new library is underway.


International Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 15, No. 1 (March 2015): 39-48. DOI.

Kim Young was affiliated with Montana Sate University - Billings at the time of publication.