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What is the Marketing Libraries Journal?

Welcome to episode 015 of Library Figures. In each episode, we interview a new guest and hear about one of their favorite marketing strategies. In this episode we hear from Mark Aaron Polger, Assistant Professor / Outreach Librarian at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York (CUNY). He calls himself an “accidental library marketer,” and is involved in the PR Xchange Awards, the PR Xchange Committee, and just wrote a book called “Library Marketing Basics” that was published this month.

In this episode, he talks to us about the Marketing Libraries Journal, how it is edited and peer-reviewed, and the types of articles that can be found in each issue. If you are looking to change your marketing strategies based on real, raw data, we highly recommend taking a look at the Marketing Libraries Journal to begin transforming your library’s marketing!

“The data from market research is the data that drives decisions when you are planning an event, or when you are planning your campaign.

-Mark Aaron Polger

Key Takeaways:

  • The process of peer-reviewing the Marketing Libraries Journal
  • Mark believes a lot of marketers do ‘upside-down marketing’ where they market first and then look at the data after
  • Data should be at the forefront of your marketing
  • Article examples such as campaigns, using Reddit AMA for marketing, and cross-functional marketing and collaboration

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Read the Episode Below

[00:00:07] Tyler Byrd:

Brought to you by Piola, the very first patron inspired digital library branch. I’m your host, Tyler Byrd. And this is Library Figures. It’s a show about the people, data, and strategies behind some of the top performing marketing campaigns in the library industry and how they’re driving community engagement like we’ve never seen before.

[00:00:32] Tyler Byrd:

Mark, welcome to Library Figures. All right, it’s really cool to have you on the show. We met a couple years ago at ALA in Chicago at the PR Exchange Awards when you were giving out awards to all of the awesome libraries that were there that had won. And now you’re doing something entirely new that you’ve been doing the last couple years. But I don’t want to talk and give away the secret sauce. So, do me a favor, Mark. I know there’s probably one person out there who hasn’t met you from a community, or a board, or an event. But for that one person, would you introduce yourself?

[00:01:06] Mark Aaron Polger:

Sure. So, my name is Mark Aaron Polger. And I would describe myself as an accidental library marketer and an academic librarian at the City University of New York in New York City. I work at the campus known as the College of Stanton Island, which is one of the 24 campuses in the CUNY System. And for the last three issues, the last two years, I’ve been working at editor, and chief, and founder of the first marketing journal that’s related only to libraries. The name of the journal is called ‘Marketing Libraries Journal,’ also known as MLJ. And we just published our third issue. And yeah, s I’m really looking forward to chatting with you today about the journal.

[00:01:56] Tyler Byrd:

Awesome. Thank you. I’m looking forward to this, too. So, how we got you on the show is essentially a couple of our listeners has reached out and said, “Hey…” They had checked out the journal. They knew that you were the mastermind behind it and had asked that we bring you on the show to talk about it a little bit so that we could get that shared with all of our listeners. Because they thought it was going to be a great material. And after looking at it… I hadn’t seen it before, but I totally agree with them. I think what you’re doing there is amazing. I think it’s right up the ally of everyone listening to this show. Because what you’re publishing and what you’re putting out is just really great content. Before we get there though, you do a lot more than that. Yesterday as we were talking and getting to know each other a little bit better, I was impressed that you have time to do all of the crazy things that you do. You sit on a number of boards and committees. What all are you apart of right now?

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[00:02:46] Mark Aaron Polger:

[Chuckles] Okay, so I have been a co-chair of the PR Xchange Awards for the last six years. The PR Xchange Awards competition is a competition that really focuses on different libraries’ marketing materials. So, it is born out of ALA’s LLAMA division. And I would say it’s like the baby sibling to the John Cotton Dana Award which is a really prestigious library marketing awards competition, also out of the LLAMA division of ALA. So, I’ve been a co-chair of the PR Xchange Awards for several years. I’m also the chair of the PR Xchange Committee, which develops the PR Exchange events at ALA, which is… It’s on the Sunday morning of ALA.


And it’s kind of a schmorgesborg of different library marketing materials where libraries can sample, kind of like a show and tell. And that’s always held the Sunday morning of ALA. And I’m the founder and editor and chief of ‘Marketing Libraries Journal,’ which is the first open access scholarly journal devoted to the marketing of libraries. I just wrote a book, and it was published this month. The name of the book is ‘Library Marketing Basics,’ published by Rowman and Littlefield. And I would say it’s kind of like a beginner’s guide or a marketing…a library marketing guidebook for dummies.


I guess I would describe it that way. It’s my second book. It was my… I coauthored a book in 2017 entitled ‘Engaging Diverse Learners, Teacher Strategies for Academic Librarians.’ And that’s really about just trying to be entertaining in class while teaching students and making sure that they’re engaged. So, the most recent book that I wrote was really focusing on library marketing. And I would identify as an accidental library marketer because I don’t have formal training in marketing. I’ve read a lot of books and articles about marketing, specifically in libraries. But my academic background is not in marketing at all.

[00:04:54] Tyler Byrd:

Okay. And then you also sit on the board for LMCC, right?

[00:04:58] Mark Aaron Polger:

Yes. Yes. Okay, so I’ve been part of the planning committee of LMCC, the Library Marketing Communications Conference, since 2015. My role is small. I coordinate the swag swap, and the swag swap is just very similar to the PR exchange that at the conference, attendees are invited to bring their library’s marketing materials for display and to share with other attendees. So, really literally the swag swap is literally where you’re sharing swag and different kind of materials that the libraries create to promote their services and resources. So, I coordinate that as well.

[00:05:37] Tyler Byrd:

Awesome. Awesome. So, I don’t think you sleep because that’s a ton of stuff. I know writing a book alone is a huge undertaking from what I’ve been told. So, I don’t know how you do it all, Mark. That’s pretty impressive.

[00:05:52] Mark Aaron Polger:

Oh, well I’m very fortunate that my employer… I have applied for research leave in the summer, and I’m very fortunate that I was able to get research leave in the summer time to finish both books. Because I just finished it, again. And I’m just on contract with ALA publishing for a third book on library signage. So, it’s going to be a smaller book devoted specifically to signage in libraries. So, I’m very fortunate that I’m given release time to actually…to do the research. I do sleep. But I guess when you love your job, and you love the career that you’re in, it’s a huge part of my life and a huge part of my identity.

[00:06:35] Tyler Byrd:

Yeah. Yeah. No, I think you’re spot on. I think you’re spot on. That’s why it’s so important to have passion about what you do. So, hey, before we kind of move forward, I have all these before’s today, which is kind of unusual. But LMCC, that’s coming up this fall. Is there a date for it yet?

[00:06:51] Mark Aaron Polger:

It’s the middle of November. I keep on forgetting if it’s November 14th or 15th. It’s always the middle of November, and it’s going to be in Saint Louis, Missouri for the second year in a row. It’s usually historically been in Addison, Texas. But it’s moved to Saint Louis, Missouri. It’s going to be in the same hotel in downtown Saint Louis.

[00:07:11] Tyler Byrd:

Nice. Okay. We sent a couple team members down there to speak at the conference last year and the year before, but they really loved Saint Louis last year. They came back with great pictures and bragging about how fantastic it was and about how fantastic the library was that you held it in. And just were really, really impressed over all. So, I get asked all of the time from people listening to the show, should they go to ALA annual, or should they go to LMCC? And where, if they’re a marketer in the library space, are they going to get the biggest impact or the biggest bang? And honestly I think ALA is great. I love it. My wife loves coming with and seeing getting all the books. But at the end of the day, I think what you’re doing with LMCC, I think that especially over the last couple years, the content and the speakers have really kind of increased in the value that they’re bringing and the expertise. And I think that it’s really doing well. I think that’s a great conference to go to if you’re a library marketer. Would you agree?

[00:08:10] Mark Aaron Polger:

Definitely. Definitely. The conference is not only getting larger because we’ve actually grown out of a former hotel that we were in in Addison… And so the conference is getting larger, and there’s a lot of wonderful relevant speakers and presentations. And it’s really nice because the attendees come from both public libraries, special libraries, academic libraries. They could be marketers that do not have a library science marketer background or the reverse, librarians who are charged with marketing that don’t have a marketing background. So, it’s really nice to have a good mix of both marketers who work in libraries and librarians who work with marketing. So, it’s really a great mix of attendees.

[00:08:49] Tyler Byrd:

Yeah, nice. All right, so hey, let’s jump into the ‘Library Journal’ and talk about that. Because that’s cool, man. I like it. There’s three essentially editions that you’ve put out so far. Does it come out quarterly, monthly, weekly, annually? What? What’s the schedule?

[00:09:08] Mark Aaron Polger:

So, it’s an academic journal. So, when I decided to start this, I had been thinking about it for about five, or six, or seven years. And it started… And it was actually born and started in early 2017. And my goal was to publish two issues a year. So, that’s the goal. It doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes though we’ve only been able to publish one issue in a year. The peer review process takes a long time. It’s much longer than the editorial review process that would be typical in a magazine or a newspaper. So, our editorial board, we have about 35 people. And I think when there are four to six peer reviewers who are…when it’s undergoing a double blind peer review process, it can take several months before…the back and forth between the peer reviewers, myself as editor and chief, and the authors. So, that back and forth can take several months as opposed to a newspaper or a magazine, which is very quick.

[00:10:07] Tyler Byrd:

This isn’t your average newsletter. This isn’t like the Library Figures newsletter that we put out every week, which is just blog articles and content. This is an actual scientific journal where you’re doing peer reviews on all of the articles that are going into it and that you’re publishing.

[00:10:25] Mark Aaron Polger:

Yes. Yes, definitely. The entire journal is peer reviewed. The practical articles come from different columns. They’re peer reviewed. And the scholarly submissions undergo a double blind peer review. The articles are substantially longer. Scholarly manuscripts will be around 20 to 25 pages. And the practical articles might be 10 to 15 pages. But they’re longer articles. And they have a lot of data, whether it’s qualitative or quantitative data. It will constitute a study. It will actually be a study with data.

[00:11:02] Tyler Byrd:

There might be a couple people out there… I don’t imagine very many, but I was one of them. Because the… So, maybe you could help me out here. Could you explain to our audience what’s the difference between a double blind peer review and a traditional review?

[00:11:17] Mark Aaron Polger:

Oh, okay. Well, in an editorial review, that would be sort of in a setting of a newspaper or a magazine, the author will submit an article, and the editor will make changes and review the content to make sure that the article fits the scope and guidelines, and is appropriately written in terms of the content, and the structure, and the organization so that it’s appropriate for publication. And at MLJ, we have an editorial review with the different column editors. So, we have a column editor for campaigns from the trenches, technology, advocacy, as well as technology. So, there are different columns. They have a different section editor. So, the editor will receive the article, and they will actually make revisions to make sure the article is appropriate. Then the article will go through a peer review.


But it’s not double blind, meaning that the peer reviewers will review the article, and they will know the author. They will know the author. The author will not know the peer reviewers, but the peer reviewer will know the author. So, that would be a single blind peer review. Now for scholarly submissions, that will undergo a double blind peer review, which means that the author does not know the peer reviewers, and the peer reviewers don’t know the identity of the author.


So, in the case of a double blind peer review, that means that either side will not know each other’s identity, and the article is completely blinded. So, the identity of the author and all identifiers that relate to the author’s institution and anything relating to his or her study that would identify the author and identify the place of employment where he or she would work is completely stripped from the article, and the article is completely blinded so that a double blind peer review is really more… It’s a little bit more strict because we just want to be able to avoid bias and any kind of conflict of interest, so therefore scholarly submissions have an additional process of being double blind.

[00:13:26] Tyler Byrd:

Yeah. Okay, so I like that. And what I think is really interesting is yesterday when you were explaining this to me, you also kind of walked through the fact that they’re really not looking so much at grammar and writing style. That obviously has kind of its own measurement and quality level that you require. But they’re putting a lot of effort into the data and how you measure it, and how you quantified it, and analyzed it. Is that right? Did I get that right?

[00:13:52] Mark Aaron Polger:

Yeah, so all the articles are academic in nature, and so they need to be an academic tone. And really what we’re looking for is for the authors to evaluate and to analyze the data. It’s not just so much to present the data but to really discuss and to interpret the data. And that’s really what we’re looking for. So, in terms of grammar and punctuation, I can discuss that later. But that’s a different type of review that is…the peer reviewers are not responsible at that point really for punctuation or grammar. Because we have another set of volunteers who are copy editors. And some of them are professional copy editors. And they will look at the punctuation and grammar. So, those reviews are kind of separate.

[00:14:36] Tyler Byrd:

So, I think that’s neat. Because anyone who listens to this show knows that I love data and that I’m always trying to get our guests to come back and tell us about the data points, and how they analyzed them, and what they are. And so I really feel like what you’re telling me about the journal, and what I’ve seen, and what’s been posted so far content wise is you have very much the same approach and that they’re bringing data, they’re looking at that data, they’re discussing how they measured it and how they decided on outcomes, and that then you’re actually taking it an entire step further and having people reanalyze that and say, “Yes, you did a good job,” or, “That makes sense,” or, “That’s accurate,” and validating the process that that person went through to determine the data and the success. Did I describe that correctly?

[00:15:21] Mark Aaron Polger:

Yeah, I think it’s important when you’re presenting, the author needs to be able to evaluate and to think, “Well, does it support the literature? Is it different? Does it support the national trends?” What can you really say about that data? It’s not really enough to just present it. You want to be able to discuss, and analyze, and to think about…to interpret the data. It’s really about interpreting the data.

[00:15:46] Tyler Byrd:

And I think that’s cool. I love kind of geeking out on data. And I can spend hours in analytics, and spreadsheets, and surveys, and everything else. But honestly I’ve never had someone else look at how I analyze the data and then analyze it as well. So, I can imagine that’d be a little stressful. It’d be interesting to see how that kind of comes out.

[00:16:07] Mark Aaron Polger:

In the spirit of marketing, marketing… The data from market research is the data that drives decisions when you are planning an event, or when you are planning your campaign, or when you’re… Any kind of marketing process, or message, or strategy. It needs to be informed by the data. The data comes first. And then the marketing comes…the actual…the campaign comes after. A lot of times, most… I was discussing with Kathy Dempsey, who is a friend and colleague of mine. And a lot of marketing is upside down. A lot of times, people do the marketing first, and they’ll do the actual event, or the campaign, or the program first. And they’ll look at the data afterward. But that’s upside down marketing in my opinion.

[00:16:56] Tyler Byrd:

I think it’s a sandwich. I think it’s two fold. I think you’re absolutely right. You have to do the data up front and that you have to have analysis, and you have to know what you’re doing and why. But I also think it’s incredibly important that you’re intentional about it and you’re deciding how you’re going to measure the outcomes and the success up front of that campaign, and setting very specific benchmarks and data points for what success looks like. And then at the end of the campaign, analyzing it again to determine did you hit those, where were you off, and how could you improve. So, data should be throughout everything we do in marketing at the end of the day. But you’re 100% correct, it’s got to be up front. It’s got to be in the beginning. Because if it’s not, then you’re going off of what your feelings are on what might work versus what you know people are looking at, right?

[00:17:41] Mark Aaron Polger:

Right, exactly.

[00:17:43] Tyler Byrd:

Hey, all. I wanted to take a quick second and tell you about a project I’m really excited to launch this month. It’s called Piola. Piola is a digital library branch, and it’s replacing library websites. No longer is a library website just a marketing and communications portal. It really is a digital library branch where patrons are coming to find the best experience possible and really learn everything that your library has to offer, and access all of that fantastic content in a user experience just like what they’d get from a traditional branch. We’ve taken thousands of hours of research, including heat mapping, user surveys, video recordings, patron focus groups, AB testing and conversion rate optimization, content audits, and a whole lot more in order to figure out what patrons really want and expect from their public library website. We’ve rolled all of that into the best, most affordable website product possible. You can launch it in less than 30 days, and you’re not going to find anything else like it on the market today. If you’re interested because you’re struggling with your library website today, and you might want something a little bit different, I encourage you, head on over to and check it out. We look forward to seeing you there. Thanks.

[00:19:00] Tyler Byrd:

So, tell me, you have some great articles or publications… Do you call it articles, or would be…? A submission?

[00:17:41] Mark Aaron Polger:

Oh, they’re definitely articles. They’re definitely articles. And we definitely…

[00:19:12] Tyler Byrd:

What’s your favorite?

[00:19:12] Mark Aaron Polger:

Well, I guess my favorite column… I think I like campaigns. I think I enjoy campaigns because I… Campaigns are… They can be very expensive. They can be very, very, very affordable. But a campaign, to me, is a large scale series of events that have a consistent look and feel, have consistent branding, have a consistent message. And I think that in all the issues… Three issues have already come out from MLJ. And there were different campaigns that different authors wrote about from their libraries. And what’s really great about MLJ is this is a completely open access, freely available academic journal. So, that means that it’s completely free for readers, and it’s completely free for authors.


There are no author processing fees, so I definitely would invite interested marketers and librarians to submit their marketing…just some of their marketing adventures that they have done in their libraries. If they have a really, really good example of a marketing success or failure, I definitely invite them to submit to the journal. So, the three articles that I see right now in the issues that relate to campaigns… One was ‘Ask Me Anything: promoting archive collections on Reddit.’ So, to me, that would be kind of a social media campaign. And that’s really cool. That’s really cool. And that’s written by Sarah Mae from Rochester Institute of Technology. And that’s freely available for you to read.

[00:20:55] Tyler Byrd:

And that’s in the newest, volume three?

[00:20:58] Mark Aaron Polger:

Yes, volume three, issue one, and from winter 2019. And another campaign from a different university is ‘Ask a Cat-brarian: marketing library services using a cat.’ And that’s by [Inaudible 00:21:11] Utah State University as well, Jennifer Solney [Phonetic 00:21:15] from Laurus College, and Katie Richardson from Highland School District. And that was in volume two, issue one from summer of 2018. So, those are just two examples from campaigns. But I think that there’s a lot of different campaigns in public libraries as well as academic libraries and special libraries that I think readers would like to learn about and maybe be inspired, and perhaps just get inspiration.


If I do have… Oh, I don’t know if we have time. But I used to be a hospital librarian, and we had a campaign called ‘Information Take-out and Delivery.’ And it was a great information literacy campaign where we delivered library instruction in the clinical units in a hospital. It was great. It was a really great campaign, and it was not very expensive. And we had a lot of really, really great numbers and a lot of data that found that the campaign was actually very useful.

[00:22:12] Tyler Byrd:

I’m interested. I saw the Reddit one, and I haven’t had a chance to read that yet. But Reddit is big, and we use it across the board, whether it’s libraries, or it’s local community based organizations, or even e-commerce companies. It’s got so many people on it that you can really get, I think, better engagement there than Twitter. And I’ll tell you, one of the things that I’ve seen in our analytics and looking at site traffic, Reddit send a ton of website traffic. So, I think it’s a great tool. I’m interested in reading that article. Have you had a chance to kind of look it over yourself yet?

[00:22:49] Mark Aaron Polger:

Yeah. Well, as editor and chief of the journal, I have to read all the articles to make sure they meet the scope and guidelines of the journal. So, I have to read the articles, and I’m involved with the peer reviewers. And I’m also involved with the copy editors to make sure that the article is properly sited, and the article is…it really fits the mission of the journal. So, yes, I’ve definitely read all the articles, definitely before they’re published, definitely before they’re even passed on to the peer reviewers. I definitely need to be able to be well versed in all of these articles.

[00:23:22] Tyler Byrd:

Nice. So, that article, it’s an ask me anything, an AMA. So, do you recall…? I know this was back in the winter edition. So, I don’t blame you if you don’t remember back five months. Time goes by so fast, and there’s so much, especially with you, going on. Right? But do you remember that AMA…what they were talking about and what they were doing the AMA on?

[00:23:47] Mark Aaron Polger:

Well, they were…I believe they were promoting archival collections. So, I think that was the purpose of the campaign. So, it was, I think… I remember when the article came in… So, it was published in winter 2019, but I believe that the article was submitted several months in advance. Like several months before. So, I believe that the author may have submitted it maybe in the summer, perhaps the summer or the fall in 2018. And so it was quite a while ago. So, when an article is published, very often the author may have submitted the original manuscript as early as a year before. So, I think… And of course the abstract will describe what the article is about. But I believe it was promoting archival collections.

[00:24:33] Tyler Byrd:

Okay. And then as far as an ask me anything goes, that’s essentially where you are going to post a topic up at a certain period of time, and then users can actively engage and ask questions. So, they essentially type out their questions and post it. And then you’re answering them in real time. So, people get to see it and then ask variations, and then you give new answers based on those variations to the questions, right?

[00:24:56] Mark Aaron Polger:

Yes, I believe so. Yes. I just want to say that a lot of this jargon is interpreted differently. And I know we talked about that yesterday. So, there’s a lot of jargon terms in librarianship that are interpreted differently. So, I had mentioned that I am an outreach librarian. I am an outreach librarian, and my target audience is first-year students. But being an outreach librarian is different every single place you go. Like public libraries are very different than academic libraries. And I think the way that they conceptualize outreach, or marketing, or communications, or engagement I think is different. So, ask me anything… We have an ask a librarian service, as with most libraries. And so I think that different services are implemented and interpreted differently across different libraries.

[00:25:49] Tyler Byrd:

Yeah, I think you’re right. Okay, so that’s cool. And I came across anther one on the sight that was cross functional marketing, partnering to promote library services and courses.

[00:26:00] Mark Aaron Polger:

Yes, I remember that one. Yes.

[00:26:01] Tyler Byrd:

You guys have such great topics, I got to admit. Across the board, all the categories, whether it’s branding, or from the trenches, or technology. I really love the topics and what people are submitting here.

[00:26:12] Mark Aaron Polger:

I do, too.

[00:26:12] Tyler Byrd:

So, thanks for doing this.

[00:26:13] Mark Aaron Polger:

[Laughs] No, because cross functional marketing is all about collaboration. It’s all about relationship marketing. It’s all about just really making connections outside the walls of the library and making connections to different campus departments and different academic departments. So, I really, really… When Jonathan submitted that article, I thought it was just very, very, very interesting.

[00:26:34] Tyler Byrd:

I can spend the next few days just sitting here and reading all of the papers that have been submitted over the last year and a half. When’s the next issue come out?

[00:26:41] Mark Aaron Polger:

The next issue is coming out in summer, 2019. And we have a lot of submissions. So, I’m very excited to say that we have a lot of articles. Hopefully they will be accepted with minor revisions. But yeah, there will be hopefully a lot of articles. And I think we’re aiming towards the end of the summer of 2019.

[00:27:05] Tyler Byrd:

That’s awesome news. Congratulations. That’s fantastic.

[00:27:06] Mark Aaron Polger:

Thank you.

[00:27:07] Tyler Byrd:

So, if people want to find the articles, where do they go?

[00:27:13] Mark Aaron Polger:

They go to It will automatically redirect to the journal. And you can always Google it. But yeah, so it’s And again, the journal is ‘Marketing Libraries Journal.’ We are indexed under the DOAJ, the Directory of Open Access Journals. We’re also indexed under Allrex, the International ISSN, and we hope to be indexed with SHERPA/RoMEO. And of course we hope Google Scholar will eventually find us. Because we want to be discoverable.

[00:27:55] Tyler Byrd:

Yeah. Yeah, so… Okay. And then once you get to the site, you can sign up for alerts so that you get an email when the next addition comes out. Is that right?

[00:28:04] Mark Aaron Polger:

Yeah. Yeah. So, I actually joined Mail Chimp, which is a really great email marketing software. So, there will be alerts set up when new issues have been published. But I’m very active on many library listserv’s. And when a new issue is published, I will post it to 15, or 20, or more library listserv’s. So, eventually people will know because I definitely post it on the marketing… MLJ has its own Twitter account, so I definitely post on Twitter. I’m very active on the Facebook group for ACRL library marketing and outreach interest group, because I was a co-convener in 2015. So, I will definitely post on the Facebook group for ACRL’s library marketing outreach interest group. And I will just post it around. So, I will definitely post it on social media. So, people will know that the latest issue will come out. But expect to see the latest issue by the end of the summer 2019.

[00:29:09] Tyler Byrd:

I’m looking forward to getting that. And we’re going to share it, too, because I think what you’re doing is phenomenal. And I hope a lot of our listeners will pick it up and read some of these, and share them out as well. Because the more libraries that are reading this and looking at this I think the more content that you get, and the better the content gets over time because of that. And ultimately the better we all get at marketing and engaging our communities really. Would you agree?

[00:29:32] Mark Aaron Polger:

Definitely. Definitely. And I’m just so happy that you invited me to speak today on today’s podcast because I’m just very excited to talk about the journal and talk about my book that just came out. So, just thank you very much for having me on the show today.

[00:29:49] Tyler Byrd:

Yeah, thanks for joining us. Mark, is there anything else you’d like our guests to know at this point? Or about the journal or about your book?

[00:29:56] Mark Aaron Polger:

Well, I just hope that if you’re coming to ALA, Sunday is always PR day. There’s always a lot of PR sessions on Sunday. But just come to the PR exchange. Come say hi. I wear a lot of very colorful shirts that I get in Europe. And you’ll see me. I wear very, very, very, very colorful dress shirts. Come say hi. I’m very friendly and approachable. Come to the PR exchange. We have the award ceremony after. It’s a really, really fun morning. It’s always held the Sunday morning of ALA in the ALA exhibit’s hall on the Sunday morning. And it would be great to just stop by and sample some of the different libraries across the country and how they share their marketing efforts.

[00:30:41] Tyler Byrd:

Yeah. And the material… You get to speak to someone behind the campaign. You all do a great job of showcasing the campaigns and letting them engage with other libraries so other libraries can learn. I was really impressed with that. And I love the shirts. It makes you memorable, I got to tell you.

[00:30:57] Mark Aaron Polger:

Thank you.

[00:30:58] Tyler Byrd:

When you mentioned the PR exchange, I immediately knew who you were and remembered meeting you because you just have such a great personality – vibrant – and it matches your shirts so well.

[00:31:09] Mark Aaron Polger:

It’s part of my branding. It’s my brand.

[00:31:13] Tyler Byrd:

[Laughs] Awesome. It’s perfect.

[00:31:15] Mark Aaron Polger:

Thank you.

[00:31:15] Tyler Byrd:

Mark, I got a couple speed questions we ask everyone.

[00:31:18] Mark Aaron Polger:


[00:31:18] Tyler Byrd:

And you’re at a little bit of a disadvantage because you haven’t heard an episode yet. Whereas our other guests do. So, we might give you an extra couple seconds to answer. But the short answer… Tell me this, what’s a book that you’d like to read that you have not read yet?

[00:31:37] Mark Aaron Polger:

[Laughs] There’s so many that I start, and I just can’t finish because there’s so many things kind of going on in my head and also just other kinds of professional commitments. So, I don’t really have an answer. But I really, really like Jane Hamilton, and I’m really behind. And I also like Margaret Atwood. And I’m behind on a lot of those books.

[00:31:18] Tyler Byrd:

That’s all right. Yeah, so have I.

[00:32:01] Mark Aaron Polger:

And Mitch Albom. I also like Mitch Albom. Really great author. And I’m also behind on a lot of his books.

[00:32:06] Tyler Byrd:

All right, perfect. So, are you a print or a digital person? Do you like your content in print, or do you like it in digital?

[00:32:15] Mark Aaron Polger:

I think I’m print. Yes, I’m a print person. I print everything out. I think I’m old fashioned that way.

[00:32:21] Tyler Byrd:

I’m in the same boat. So, okay, tell me this – marketing source, do you have kind of a go to source to stay up to date on marketing trends, and what’s going on, and new ideas?

[00:32:33] Mark Aaron Polger:

Okay, I want to endorse Kathy Dempsey’s newsletter. So, while my journal is scholarly, Kathy Dempsey’s journal, MLS, Marketing Library Services, is a professional newsletter, and I have a subscription. It is a subscription based print newsletter. And I go to that… And it’s published every two months. And I go to that to learn and to be inspired about what other libraries are doing. I attend LMCC. Also in Canada… I’m originally from Canada, so I attend… There’s a very small conference called the Marketing Libraries Think Tank. And that’s always held in different cities in the province of Ontario. And that’s always…that’s held at the end of August every year.


And that’s a source for inspiration for learning. I read a lot of marketing books. Kathy Dempsey also have ‘The M-word, the library marketing blog.’ And Kathy Dempsey is a personal friend and colleague of mine. So, she’s also a great mentor, and I’ve learned a lot from her. So, I think it’s just reading – reading books, reading articles, going to conferences. So, I don’t only have one source. There’s a lot of sources. Andrew Colgoni [Phonetic 00:33:53] in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada has a great blog called ‘Adlib.’ That’s Adlib,, which is a branding…it’s all about branding. It’s all about different… It’s very visual, so it’s really based on design and branding. That’s also a website that I visit often as well.

[00:34:14] Tyler Byrd:

Okay, perfect. Next question, who’s someone you’d like us to have on the show that we…? Yeah, that you think would be a good fit for the show.

[00:34:21] Mark Aaron Polger:

Well, I would definitely recommend Kathy Dempsey because she’s been the editor of ‘Marketing Library Services’ for over 24 years. She is a professional library marketer. She’s an expert. She’s known as the marketing maven. I think that she’d be a great person to have on the show. She has a wealth of expertise. And she’s really my mentor, and I really, really learned a lot from her. I think that she’d be a great guest. And she has a lot to talk about. She was actually the founder of LMCC, and she was the founder and the chair of the Library Marketing and Communications Conference for the first three years.

[00:35:05] Tyler Byrd:

Awesome. I would love to have her on the show. And knowing that you guys have a personal connection, if you wouldn’t mind calling her and saying, “Hey…”

[00:35:13] Mark Aaron Polger:

I’ve already done it. I’ve already done that.

[00:35:16] Tyler Byrd:

Oh, you are…

You’re awesome. You’re awesome. Okay, last question for you – what’s your favorite library service?

[00:35:22] Mark Aaron Polger:

I think my favorite library service would be…in a library, I think Library Instruction. Because most of my job involves teaching, and I think that in the last 20 years that I’ve worked as a librarian, my job has transformed into being a classroom teacher. So, I think that in terms of the most impactful library service, I think Library Instruction, also known as Bibliographic Instruction or Information Literacy Instruction, I think is the most impactful. Teaching library users how to properly find information, and evaluate information, and use information properly and not find garbage information I think is a really, really very important library service in all libraries.

[00:36:02] Tyler Byrd:

Yeah. Yeah. All right, sounds good. Mark, if our listeners wanted to reach out to you and talk to you about the journal, or LMCC, or PR exchange, or anything else that you’re doing right now, what’s the best way to reach out?

[00:36:14] Mark Aaron Polger:

Well, just go to my website,, Just Google me.

[00:36:25] Tyler Byrd:

Perfect. And as always, we’ll put all the links in the show notes. So, if you’re looking for those, head over to the show notes or the blog post, and we’ll have them there listed for you so you can find those easily, and you’re not trying to remember them as you’re driving, or riding your bike, or working out in the gym, or anything else. Mark, it was a real pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you very much for taking the time.

[00:36:44] Mark Aaron Polger:

Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. I’m thrilled to be here.

[00:37:07] Tyler Byrd:

All right, before we head out, just a couple more quick things. If you know somebody that you think would be a great guest on this podcast, and you’d like to hear us interview them, I’d love the opportunity. Send me their name and their contact information at That’s And I’ll do the hard work of reaching out and getting them scheduled so that all of our listeners will have the opportunity to learn more from them about the great marketing strategies that they might be using. We’re constantly looking for new guests and great guests on the show, and I would really appreciate the opportunity to meet with your connections and get them up here to learn more.


Second, if you’re enjoying the podcast episodes and so far you like what you hear on Library Figures and the content, head over to iTunes. You can subscribe to the podcast to get future episodes. And while you’re there, if you could give us a five-start rating, that’d go a long way in letting us know that you like the content, and you like the show, and we should continue doing it. All right, until next time, all. I look forward to being on the air again and the next great interview we’ll have up. Take care. We’ll see you next time.

[00:36:48] Tyler Byrd:

Awesome. Awesome. We’re thrilled to have you. And before the next year’s PR exchange awards, and John Cotton, we’ll get you back to talk about those and give our guests a rundown because I think that they’re going to love that. And we got some great people out there that I think have some awesome campaigns that I want to see [Inaudible 00:37:04]

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  1. Is there a good email for Tyler or other producers of this podcast? The team at Library Land Project (Adam and Greg) would like to be considered for a future episode.

    We formed our PR agency in a library in Newton, Mass. about two years ago. Since then, we’ve been to more than 250 libraries in Massachusetts and many beyond. We use them as our office spaces, but we’ve moved well beyond that to become advocates for their importance in our communities. We have an active following on Instagram, Facebook and have been featured on both local NPR affiliates, as well as Library Journal, Boston Magazine and an article that was syndicated nationwide through Associated Press. We’ve done talks at libraries and started to consult with others on issues like co-working spaces/study rooms, construction/renovations and ballot initiatives.

    We’d like to talk about the project on the podcast – we can use our efforts as a case study in marketing and explain our mission to visit and rank every library in Massachusetts. Probably helps that we’ve both been doing PR and marketing since the early 1990s.

    We’d love to share our love of libraries with your audience.

    Thanks for your consideration.

    In libraries, (opening day at the Valente branch in Cambridge as I type),