The collective experience of customers creates a reputation for the library. A reputation will become known to the administrators who fund the library and to the library community—students, faculty, the public, taxpayers, and so on. What kind of reputation does a library have? How well does that reputation match the one that library staff desire or think the library has? If the library wants a better reputation, what is it doing to improve its reputation? These questions need serious consideration. Librarians need to consider how to better describe the benefits of their service to the administrators who fund them.
Complementary to reputation is brand image—a strong one sets the organization apart from (and above) its competitors. When staff think about the brand of the library, they should be thinking about the entire customer experience—everything from the website to social media experiences to the way they answer the phone to the way customers experience the staff. A library’s brand, therefore, is the way its customers perceive the organization. Building a brand is just like building a reputation in that the organization needs to prove itself repeatedly in order for people to put their trust in the organization and to become loyal customers. At the same time, to gain community support, libraries need to tell the community about the various services that are available and to do so in a way in which the public will listen and respond positively.