Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand
The Education Advantage
by Valerie J. Gross
November 2012, 169pp, 7x10
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-59884-770-3
$50, £38, 44€, A68
eBook Available: 978-1-59884-771-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Those in the library profession have the power to permanently dispel all misperceptions about libraries, and be fully valued for what they do. How? By simply adopting a new approach that applies carefully selected words to enhance their perceived value, and to position libraries as the provider of what the world values most: education.

This book describes a groundbreaking concept that enables public libraries—and librarians—to become indispensable by following a "Three Pillars" educational approach, and by replacing traditional terms with powerful, intuitive, value-enhanced terminology that everyone understands.

While there is no question that what librarians and library professionals do is critically important, the ways in which these roles and responsibilities are described can mean the difference between being valued as essential to the community or considered optional. Something as simple as a choice of words can determine what is valued—and consequently what gets funded, and what gets canceled.

Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage examines how the “Three Pillars” approach harnesses the power of language to enhance respect, generate increased perceived value, and garner funding. The power stems from positioning all that library professionals do under three, easy-to-remember “pillars,” and replacing typical library terms and phrases with bold, value-enhanced terminology that commands value—language that people outside of the field can immediately understand. This book is essential reading for public library staff members at all levels of the organization, especially those in leadership roles; and its root concepts are applicable for all other library types as well.

Valerie J. Gross, MM, MLS, JD, has served as president and CEO of Howard County Library System (HCLS) in Maryland since 2001. A passionate promoter of libraries, Gross has led the repositioning of HCLS as a major component of education, which has heightened respect, increased funding, and driven significant increases in annual usage statistics, achieving for HCLS the prestigious status as best library system in North America from the continent's 21,000 public and academic library systems (2013 Library of the Year, Gale/Library Journal). She is recipient of the 2012 and 2010 Public Libraries Feature Article Contest award and was honored as a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2004. Gross holds master's degrees in music and library science as well as a doctorate of jurisprudence. Her published works include several articles in Public Libraries and Children & Libraries, the Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children.


"Informative and approachable, this resource offers many suggestions to better help the public understand the role of libraries. This, in turn, helps with funding and more."—VOYA, April 1, 2013

"I was completely blown away. Gross articulates exactly how public libraries should be presenting themselves to the community for what we are already doing. A passionate treatise of our educational value. "—Laura Raphael, Readers' Library Department, Central Library, Tulsa City County Library, Oklahoma

"The best change initiative for public libraries that I can remember."—Barbara Dimick, former Director, Madison Public Library, Wisconsin

"[A] 21st-century library model, with a position, doctrine, purpose, and curriculum worthy of study and consideration by every other library in America, if not the world.” —Library Journal’s June 15, 2013 feature article by John N. Berry, “2013 Gale/LJ Library of the Year: Howard County Library System, MD,” p. 33.

"Applying the Transforming Our Image words and attitudes resulted in our receiving budget increases when every other library in our area continued to see dramatic funding cuts." —Delane James, Buckham Memorial Library Director, Chair of the Public Library Division of the Minnesota Library Association

"I am reading Transforming Our Image and I can’t put it down. I’m writing notes like crazy. It makes absolute sense. This will be our foundation from now on." —Mindy Kittay, County Librarian, County of Mendocino Library District, Ukiah, California

"This is an excellent resource for rebranding libraries and everyone in the library field should read it. In fact, we at the Chicago Public Library made it required reading for our entire leadership team."— customer
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