It’s no secret… love a good conference.
I am energized by spending a few days in a new city, away from my normal work. I feel inspired listening to keynotes and taking notes in breakout sessions. I enjoy meeting new people during networking events, especially when you discover that those new friends face the same work challenges.
A good conference can be an amazing, life-changing, work-affirming event.
But there are so many conferences for library marketers, it’s hard to know which one will be the best fit for you and your budget. That’s why I publish this list every year.
I’ve picked these conferences based on the value for the cost, the relevance to our work in the library world, and the reputation of the organizers.
There are some new conferences on the list this year and you’ll know which events are new because of the big red NEW at the beginning of the listing. I’ve also added some international conferences for my non-U.S. readers.
If you see a price marked “early bird”, be sure to visit the conference website to see when that special ends.
Please let me know about great conferences in your area or country so I can add them. Include the conference URL and your recommendation in the comment section. I’ll cite you as my source.
You’ll notice I didn’t list ALA. That’s because the agenda is not yet public. Bookmark this post and come back later in the year to see if I add ALA and any other conferences to the list.
The Best Conferences for Library Marketing
NEW: Edge 2020
February 27-28, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland
I’m honored to be among the guests asked to speak at this gathering. The Scottish Government believes it is vital that adequate library services are in place across Scotland. At this conference, you’ll learn about the commitment that local authorities have to maintaining quality, innovative library services. The gathering was started by the City of Edinburgh Council to share and discuss future developments. The full conference ticket, which includes overnight accommodations at the hotel, refreshments, lunches, and a Gala dinner, is £395.
NEW: Digital Summit Series
March-December 2020 in 23 cities around the U.S.
Library marketers often feel like we’re at a disadvantage as we try to create engaging experiences on our websites and in social media. These conferences will help you bridge that gap. They include breakouts and keynotes from some of the top minds in marketing. You’ll get practical takeaways and ideas. Plus, the price is right–just $245 for the basic pass. And the roster of nearly two dozen cities means most of you won’t have to travel far to attend.
NEW: Coding for Libraries
March 8-11, 2020
This conference is a gathering of technologists who largely work for and with libraries, archives, and museums and have a commitment to open technologies. The main conference fee is $375 through Feb. 10. Then the price goes up to $450.
Government Social Media Conference
March 24-26, 2020
This is the perfect event for anyone who manages social media for government agencies like the library. Join more than 1,000 marketers to learn about video production, building trust on social media, social media policies, analytics, podcasting, and a ton more! The full ticket registration is $795 and the deadline to register is Feb. 21. It includes breakfast, lunch, and a virtual pass. The virtual pass by itself costs just $225, and gives you access to video or audio recordings of most sessions along with speaker slides–a great deal for budget-strapped libraries.
NEW: Digital Marketing Conference Series
May-November 2020 in 16 cities throughout the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Asia
Similar to the Digital Summit Series, these conferences include sessions on customer loyalty, web experience management, usability and design, customer engagement, social media marketing, targeting and optimization, video marketing, data science and big data, web analytics and A/B testing, email marketing, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, search engine optimization, paid search marketing, and so much more. A main conference pass costs $497 through May 7.
August 18-21, 2020
Inbound bills itself as “the conference to unite curious professionals with big-name and break-out industry thinkers, high-octane events, and boundless education sessions.” Each year, they book more than 250 speakers to help you learn about the latest in engaging marketing, plus they have a heavy emphasis on reading and authors (the 2019 conference featured a book signing by Educated author Tara Westover.) An all-access pass cost $999 until March 16.
Content Marketing World
October 13-16, 2020
CM World has tons of sessions for marketers of all levels and interests. There are sessions on SEO, internal communications, video, social media, strategy, and artificial intelligence. It is the place to see the best marketing minds in the world. I always get incredible new ideas from this conference. The networking potential is amazing. Super early bird rates for the main conference are $1099 and end March 30, then the price goes up to $1299 until June 30. I know that’s steep for most libraries. However, if you email the organizers and ask for the nonprofit discount, you can get a percentage off the Main Conference ticket. That brings the price into the affordable range, about $800. There are also all-access and special industry forums that cost extra if you have the budget.
NEW: Nonprofit Storytelling Conference
Oct. 29-31, 2020
This conference is for anyone who wants to learn how to use better storytelling to increase engagement for the library through direct mail, social media, special events, outreach, or to raise money for any of your fundraising arms. An early bird ticket is $695 through March 31.
Library Marketing and Communications Conference
November 5-6, 2020
My favorite conference of the year. This is an amazing opportunity to learn so much about marketing, communication, public relations, social media, and outreach in academic, public, and special libraries. The sessions explore issues that are important for this niche of library work. The conference includes time for attendees to network and to discuss mutual challenges. This year’s registration price is not yet set, but it will be within budget for most libraries.
You may also want to read this: How to Have the Best Library Marketing Conference Experience Ever! The Library Marketing Show: Episode 31
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