The Free Library and Website Advertising

By Alix G. Tue, February 5, 2013

In a few short weeks, you will notice limited commercial advertising on the Free Library’s website in an effort to generate new income that will support Library services and innovations. Below are basics about the program:

Why is the Free Library pursuing website adverting? Over the past five years, our budget has become increasingly tight and we have needed to look for new streams of funding to complement the operating dollars provided by the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In response, our new Strategic Plan charges us to strive for increased private support to supplement this public funding. Library leadership and the Boards have determined that website advertising is a key part of this plan.

What will we see on the website? The website advertising plan allots for banners and sidebar advertising. The Free Library will ensure that all advertising is appropriate for Library audiences.

Do other non-profits allow advertising on their websites? Yes. Libraries, public radio stations, public schools, and many other non-profit organizations are seeking new sources of funding in tough economic times, and this often includes on-site and website advertising.


I really hope that the ads will be clearly marked. For people who don't know much about computers or internet, ads could be very confusing!
Tim - Philly Wed, February 06, 2013
Thanks for your comment. We are ensuring that the ads will look very commercial in nature so that there will be no confusion between them and library content.
Alix - Free Library Wed, February 06, 2013
Will you allow authors to advertise their books on your website?
L. Allen Stovey - Flint, Texas Fri, February 08, 2013
We are currently using an ad network service to run advertisements, so only ads that are part of that service run on the site at this time.
Alix - Free Library Fri, February 08, 2013
This is grim news indeed. While I understand that the library is having trouble funding its many programs and services and must find ways to continue offering them, I think the decision to allow advertising on the website is regrettable at best. It's nothing short of tragic for our democracy that we're so increasingly beholden to the private sector for support of the essential institutions of our society. Private support is always calculated to generate private profits and satisfy private needs, while congesting our social and cultural environment with unneeded and unwanted messages and hidden persuasions. Let's not forget that the current financial crisis was brought on by the rapacity and bad judgment of the financial sector, whose misdeeds remain unpunished. I suppose we'll have to choke down these ads for now, but that should motivate us to have a vigorous debate and discussion of the enduring value of essential institutions such as our public libraries, and the need to support them by public rather than private means.
Thomas Carroll - Philadelphia Sat, February 09, 2013
Taking a second look, I see that you've posted the notice about allowing commercial advertising onto the library website on some but not all pages. Why not also post this notice on the main page? On the catalog pages?
Thomas Carroll - Philadelphia Sun, February 10, 2013
Andrea Hansberry It think that everyone that work is doing a good job there just keep up the good work I'ev attend some of the computer workshops there at the and it turn out good for me.
Andrea Hansberry - Philadelphia Mon, February 11, 2013
This is so sad. I wish the ads could at least be in some way enriching. The ad that popped up when I went to log in to my account was for a credit card offer, which seems very predatory to me. As one commenter said, why not advertise books? (Or schools? Or museums? Or at least locally-owned businesses? We have plenty of colleges & museums in the area- has nobody approached them to see if they would be interested in underwriting the website?) I understand the need for the library to financially support itself, but I don't think that means it needs to sell out to the same generic credit card & mortgage ads you see everywhere. The library website has the volume of traffic & the super-local audience to be able to market itself to a better class of advertisers than that.
megan - West Philadelphia Tue, February 19, 2013
Keep up the hard work your site is doing well. I am impressed!
Kenneth Ford - Johnson City Fri, February 22, 2013
It makes all the sense in the owrld to pursue web advertising when you havea as much traffic as you receive on these pages.
LiveIntent - New York Sat, February 23, 2013
YOu have a great platform here for web advertising. It makes all the sense in the world to make money from your traffic. Good content development will help you figure out what you can sell on your pages. Along with a bit of good old fashioned market research, and keyword analysis.
Kenneth Ford - Johnson City Sat, February 23, 2013
Many publishers have a huge yet largely untapped resource: newsletter advertising.
LiveIntent - New York Sat, April 06, 2013

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