The Library Outreach Casebook. Ryan L. Sittler and Terra J. Rogerson, eds. Chicago: Association of College & Research Libraries, 2018. 214p. Paper, $56.00 (ISBN: 978-0-8389-4873-6). LC: 2018-043645.

Susan Vandagriff


One challenge of discussing outreach is that it takes a different shape in every library, a reality that The Library Outreach Casebook represents through a spectrum of experiences, ideas, and approaches. Editors Ryan L. Sittler and Terra J. Rogerson have compiled 20 different case studies in outreach and marketing for libraries. They note in the introduction that the book is intended to serve as a companion to the forthcoming title The Library Outreach Cookbook by providing readers with a taste of the scope of outreach and marketing efforts going on at other libraries. Unfortunately, Sittler and Rogerson’s introduction misrepresents the true value of the volume they have assembled. Although they promise to “describe and address universal problems that all librarians face” and suggest taking an “all of the above” approach to the advice contained therein (vii), casebooks are inherently limited. The situations described are unique, and the solutions and innovations employed are likewise constricted in their applicability. Librarians will not walk away from this volume with clear-cut solutions or formulas to deploy. The programming, marketing, and project management systems described should not all be attempted by any one library. Even knowing this, it is easy to see how Rogerson and Sittler have created something of great value in this collection: a book where librarians can witness the critical thinking and problem solving of other libraries. The value of this work lies in its capacity to inspire similar ingenuity in its readers, who—facing an entirely different set of challenges at their own institution—are better prepared to brainstorm solutions and be more familiar with the tools available because they have heard the stories of others.

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