Valerie J. Gross


 Transforming Our Image  Overview

Libraries Part of America’s Education Enterprise

  Libraries across the country and beyond are ushering in a new era.
Recognizing that the public library in America was originally established as an educational institution, these libraries are taking steps to regain that esteemed status.
How are they accomplishing this? They are repositioning their libraries as a key component of the education enterprise, alongsideand as important asschools, colleges, and universities.

See example: "Celebrate Community: Crestview Library Ahead of National Trend," by Brian Hughes, Crestview News Bulletin, 09/29/15


What are people saying about

Transforming Our Image,

Building Our Brand:

The Education Advantage?

"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

  "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."

—Brian Bannon, Commissioner, Chicago Public Library

Image of Valerie J. Gross
The Education Advantage. As libraries from all U.S. regions and across the globe implement the "Libraries = Education" strategy described in Transforming Our Image, they are finding that their inherent value is no longer questioned. They no longer need to constantly explain why they are important. No one looks at them anymore with a puzzled expression, asking, “Tell me again what you do?”  

Instead, these library systems enjoy heightened respect in their communities and optimal funding. This is because they are now accorded the same enduring worth assigned to other educational institutions.

Implementing this powerful approach is simple. It does not require that libraries change anything they do. Just what they say.
Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage explains this vision—what it is, why it works, and how to implement it.

Those in the library profession have the power to dispel—permanently—all misperceptions about libraries, and be fully valued for what they do. How? By 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. 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 "Libraries = Education" 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.


  • Redefines libraries in a new, innovative way that conveys their true worth
  • Demonstrates how to heighten any library's visibility and stature
  • Aligns the library with what the community values most: education
  • Teaches how to incorporate value-enhancing words into everyday lexicon
  • Presents marketing strategies that can immediately be integrated into your work
  • Provides guidance on introducing the “Libraries = Education” philosophy and strategic vocabulary concepts to your staff, board, elected officials, and community


“A 21st-century library model, with a position, doctrine, purpose, and curriculum worthy of study and consideration by every library in America, if not the world.”

"2013 Gale/LJ Library of the Year: Howard County Library System, MD,” by John N. Berry, Library Journal, June 15, 2013, p. 33.

(See Invited Presentations)

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