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Students work with Reading Public Library on marketing plan

This is the front of the Reading Public Library
Reading Public Library

Penn State Berks students are getting real-world marketing experience, working with the Reading Public Library on creating a new marketing plan to help the nonprofit organization meet the evolving needs of its customers.

It all started when Jim Shankweiler, Lecturer in Business Administration, was looking for ideas for his Project Management course, and he was invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Reading Public Library’s “popUP Library,” a 7,000-square-foot facility on Penn Street in Reading, which is serving its customers while the library’s main location on 5th Street in Reading is closed for renovations for four months.

Shankweiler met with Kate Thornton, Marketing Director for the Reading Public Library, and together they decided to present the marketing plan as an assignment to his Project Management course. Thornton visited the class in the beginning of the semester and spoke with them about the library’s mission and goals.

The class, which is composed of two sections and thirty students, will work throughout the fall semester to redefine the role of the library and how it can best serve its customers in this digital information age. They will work in teams to develop three or four proposals, which they will present to the library’s board of directors in December.

In addition to the work being done by the Project Management class, another class will be working on research relating to the marketing plan.

Shankweiler’s Project Management course has a history of tackling real-world challenges. Past class projects have included student teams choosing a company and developing a plan to enhance its operations. In 2012, two Berks students created a shipping and packaging process that would allow The Whoopie Pie Company to transport their product across the country without freezing. The Whoopie Pie Company is in the process of implementing their suggestions.

For more information about the students working with the Reading Public Library, contact Shankweiler at 610-396-6327 or via e-mail at JPS23@psu.edu.

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