Company Milestones

Here's a snapshot of the story behind Chris Olson & Associates. We start with Chris' experience, after completing her bachelor's degree at Temple University in Art History, and working 6 months as a circulation clerk for the Abington Public Library in Abington, PA.


A U.S. Department of Interior serials inventory project introduces Chris to the OCLC network and the wonders of computers & electronic information and MARC cataloging


After studying public library services for her M.L.S., Chris found a part time position with an electrical engineering firm to setup their library. She managed to pick-up engineering on the fly and maintained a one-person library.


Chris expanded her technical services skills at the NASA Scientific and Technical Information Facility as Product Manager for the 13 NASA NALNET libraries. Began studying for a graduate business degree at night.


Chris assumed the most challenging position of her career as Manager of Information Services at the Electromagnetic Compatibility Analysis Center. After 2 years of reinventing a “liberry” into a full-fledged information service, Chris was burned-out. While taking a course in marketing management to meet one of the requirements for her business degree, she realized that much of what she had done to reinvent her library was based on marketing management strategies. It proved to be a turning point in her career.


Chris helped to build the Ada Information Clearinghouse for the DoD ADA Joint Project Office. She initiated a virtual newsletter called ADA Today on the Arpanet and envisioned the world-wide community of ADA software engineers to be a knowledge clearinghouse.


Hired as an Expert Consultant for the National Cancer Institute, Chris worked on the development and implementation of the PDQ database.

She tested her new-found marketing skills on a successful national rollout campaign for the database. For her graduate business degree thesis, Chris conducted a survey of special librarians to identify levels of marketing that was being incorporated into library management activities. She taught two marketing seminars at the Special Libraries Association conference and began to realize that she was not the only librarian who was interested in applying marketing tools to library management.


Chris left the National Cancer Institute to begin Chris Olson & Associates and to be a marketing consultant to libraries.


A “cold” sales call to the National Library of Medicine proved to be a fortuitous meeting. Chris received a contract to design and write the documentation for the new software package, Grateful Med. The work of the Chris Olson & Associates team received a a Blue Pencil award in 1986 at the National Association of Government Communicators conference. Chris and her associates updated and enhanced the Grateful Med package annually for 10 years.

Grateful Med Packaging


Chris became Adjunct Lecturer with the College of Library and Information Services at the University of Maryland where she taught a graduate course in marketing management to library school students for several semesters.

The Marketing Unit in the Middle Management Institute of the Special Libraries Association was developed and taught by Chris for five years.


While attending an American Library Association annual conference “Swap and Shop” session, Chris was thrilled to see the open exchange of marketing ideas among libraries. She introduced the idea of sharing promotion ideas and sample materials in a similar session at the next Special Libraries Association (SLA) conference Marketing Section meeting. Coordinated by a dedicated group of librarians, the Swap and Shop session at SLA conferences was a highly attended event for over a decade.

Needing to reduce the amount of time spent away from her office on seminar trips, Chris began writing and publishing Marketing Treasures, the newsletter that provided ideas and tips on how librarians could promote their library services.

Marketing Treasures Collage


Chris and a design associate designed the logo and wrote the brochure for the Martin Marietta Business Information Center. The logo was selected for publication in the 5th edition of American Corporate Identity, 1989.


Chris wrote the chapter “Marketing Considerations for the Business Library” for the book, The Basic Business LIbrary: Core Resources, 2nd edition, edited by Bernard Schlessinger, published by Oryx Press.

After 5 years, the time had come to take Chris Olson & Associates from a one-person consulting practice into a marketing firm with numerous, talented associates. Sporting a newly redesigned logo, and displaying examples of design and marketing projects Chris Olson & Associates had their first exhibit booth at the Special Libraries Association conference in New York City.

Macintosh computers were introduced into design and production projects, helping Chris and her associates to enter the world of computer-based design and publishing.


Publication of Assistant Editor began. An electronic filler service for editors, it provided original articles and clip art for library newsletters every quarter.

Assistant Editor



Chris Olson & Associates wrote, designed, and produced the PDQ User Guide and its ancillary materials for the National Cancer Institute. The guide was awarded “Best of Show” at the 1991 Southwestern Ohio Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication competition. The PDQ Quick Reference Guide received the “First Place Award” in the 1991 Blue Pencil Competition sponsored by the National Association of Government Communicators. The enhanced packaging created by Chris and her team for the Grateful Med package was recognized with a second place award at the Society for Technical Communication meeting.


Chris created, compiled and published her first volume of Olson’s Book of Library Clip Art, with 200 original graphics for libraries in print and computer graphic file formats.

Olson's Library Clip Art Vol. 1

In the Spring, she and her associates won the Blue Pencil Award from the National Association of Government Communicators for design and production excellence of the Guide to the Scientific Information Services of the National Cancer Institute.

National Cancer Institute Scientific Info Guide


The second volume of clip art, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Images and Symbols, is released, and the Volume 1 in the series is reissued as electronic graphic files on computer disks.


Chris Olson & Associates celebrates their 10 year anniversary! Chris gives her first overseas presentation in Rome, Italy to NATO librarians.


The first place Clarion Award was given to Chris by the Women In Communications for the design and production of the Beilstein Information Systems direct mail brochure.

Beilstein Brochure

Volume 3 of Olson's Library Clip Art is published with 280 seasonal library images.


Chris Olson & Associates launches their web site in May, while the world-wide Internet web site count was still listed in the thousands.


Chris and an associate publish the popular article " Overworked? Understaffed? Don't Stop Marketing!" in the March issue of Information Outlook (92 KB). The final volume of graphics is published. Volume 4 in Olson's Library Clip Art is released with 150 Popular Library Images.


With the help of an associate, Chris undertakes the reinvention of the Knoll Pharmaceutical Company library. Working closely with the library staff and management, the venture proves to be an intense and rewarding 5 year project, including the creation of a new information service called InteliQuest and the first company-wide intranet.

Knowledge Center Intranet Homepage


The Special Libraries Association Swap & Shop competition reviewers selected the work of Chris and her associates for three First Place awards in the categories of web site design, promotion campaigns, and brochure design.


While preparing for her talk at the Computers In Libraries conference, Chris saw the potential role internet communities could play in library promotion and communications activities. To test her idea, she started the Library Marketing Village.


With more than 1,000 original library graphic images from various clip art endeavors, Chris creates and launches the LibraryClipArt web site, offering original color library graphics on a per image basis.


Chris leads her first virtual seminar over the internet on the topic of communicating value. More than 200 individuals from around the world listened to the Special Libraries Association-sponsored presentation.

Chris' Virtual Seminar in 2002

Updated 1/3/03