Marketing activities and usage in Historically Black College and University libraries 2000--2008

Janet Walsh, Tennessee State University


The academic library has experienced overall growth and decline based on demographics, technology, and convenience, yet several problems face academic libraries today including: (a) perceived relevance, (b) market share, and (c) competition. The purpose of this study was to explore marketing activities and library usage in HBCU libraries. The following research questions were explored: (a) To what extent, if any, did information use cause gate counts, reference transactions, and print circulation statistics to grow or decline in HBCU libraries between 2000-2008? (b) What specific marketing activities were employed by HBCU libraries to influence information needs, information seeking, and information use amongst patrons? (c) To what extent, if any, is there a relationship between marketing strategies and information behavior as indicated by print circulation statistics, gate counts, and reference transactions? (d) Is there a significant difference in information use as indicated by print circulation statistics, gate counts, and reference transactions based on total student enrollment? ^ Data were gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Academic Library Survey, and the Academic Library Marketing Activity (A.LM.A.) survey, which was developed by the researcher. Data on library usage transactions (i.e., print circulation statistics, gate counts, and reference transactions) were extracted from NCES for 95 HBCU libraries. Data on the marketing activities at HBCU libraries were received from 43 participants who responded to the A.L.M.A. survey. The marketing activities from the A.L.M.A. survey were coded and categorized into one of three groups: distribution, communication, or motivation. ^ Results revealed both growth and decline over the 2000-2008 period, and significant marketing activities involving distribution methods. Print circulation statistics and reference transactions showed marked decreases, while gate counts showed significant growth overall. The most important conclusion regarding marketing activities showed that email and announcements were the preferred method of promotion of library activities and resources. The results revealed no statistically significant difference between marketing activities and library usage. The findings of this study suggest several possibilities for expanding library usage and marketing activities including: management of existing library traffic and incorporation of evolving technology for outreach and promotion. ^ Keywords: HBCU libraries, library usage, marketing in libraries^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Marketing|Library Science|Education, Higher Education Administration

Recommended Citation

Janet Walsh, "Marketing activities and usage in Historically Black College and University libraries 2000--2008" (2012). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3508210.