Skip to content

Superhero Librarians!

November 2, 2011

(This post has been slightly edited from it’s original weekly-school-discussion-board-post-format for blog-friendliness.)

One of the service core-benefits my group for Library Marketing examined in one of our assignments was Instant/SMS reference via mobile devices and the web.  For this assignment, I’ve identified teenagers and young adults ages 14-22 as my target costumer market.  This is based on numbers from The Nielsen Company that identify consumers ages 18 and younger to 24 as taking up almost 75% of the total texts sent by age in a one year span (Duryee, 2010).  The Nielsen Company’s blog post on the subject reports approximately 3,500 texts sent by teens ages 13-17 and 1,500 texts sent by teens ages 18-24 during the second quarter of 2010 (The Nielsen Company, 2010).  Marketing a traditional library service like reference/reader’s advisory that is now accessible in a very modern way (instant messaging and text messaging via mobile device) serves to educate a new generation of users regarding what role the library can play in their lives.

The core benefits to the service our group identified were convenience for both the patron and the staff member.  The patron doesn’t have to place a phone call or come into the library, and the staff member’s workflow isn’t drastically interrupted, even when giving a quick response.  These are additional core benefits to the general benefits associated with patrons seeking help with information needs rather than going alone.

I propose using a slogan/brand wrapped around the concept of librarians as superheroes swooping in to assist patrons via their mobile devices.  This idea isn’t new in the library world (, but I would base it off of my 2010 Halloween costume (pictured to the left). A series of short, potentially somewhat cheesy comics could be published in school newspapers and on student-run school websites (with the invitation that they go viral via social media) and dramatized for college radio.  This allows for a variety of reference interview scenarios to be quickly presented and resolved, all the while promoting the service.  It also takes advantage of the virtue of inseperability, as described by Andreasen and Kotler (2003), as the staff providing the service are closely tied to the service itself.

With this kind of brand, the slogan could also be used as the librarian character’s catchphrase, adding to the whimsical nature of the genre adoption and easy inclusion in promotion material.  Alternatively, a slogan could play on the concept of signaling for help (e.g. The Bat Signal).  The opportunity to adapt a variety of established franchises to this model is there. Ghostbusters? I ain’t afraid uh’no prof. Superman? Faster than 4G; more powerful than Google; able to scale gigabytes in a single keystroke! Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman? Friendly Neighborhood Librarian!

The chosen slogan for this kind of marketing campaign would depend on the mythos established for the super librarian character.  My favorite is still the Bat-franchise adaptation.

Original Photo by Flickr’s Matthew Pardon and used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.


Andreasen, A. R. & Kotler, P. (2003). Strategic marketing for nonprofit organizations (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Duryee, T. (2010, August 24). The demographics of texting and talking in the U.S. Retrieved from


The Nielsen Company. (2010, October 4). U.S. teen mobile report: Calling yesterday, texting today, using apps tomorrow. NielsenWire. Retrieved from

One Comment leave one →
  1. Becca permalink
    February 2, 2012 1:06 pm

    Sweet Costume 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: