Tuesday, September 29, 2009

geeking the library.

Hmmm. More on the promotional toolkit/ready-made marketing front. From OCLC comes "geek the library" - "a community-based public awareness campaign designed to highlight the vital role of public libraries for individuals and communities, and raise awareness about the critical funding issues they face."

I first heard the term at the National Book Festival in D.C. this past weekend. Iowa's booth at the Pavillion of the States featured a lot of glossy print promo with the geek slogans. When I got back to work this week, , I received a press release over the inpublib listserv from the Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library (Indiana) that they have been chosen to participate in the pilot. This must mean that they're in they're second stage of the pilot. OCLC says that in early 2010 "OCLC will disseminate the awareness campaign materials and messages, along with information from the pilot campaigns, in order to support libraries across the country in their own community awareness efforts."
The awareness campaign was apparently supported by the 2008 OCLC report "From Awareness to Funding," which is on my reading shortlist now.

I'm excited that an Indiana library is participating; I hope we get lots of opportunities to see this program in action. Collaborative promotion is increasingly hot right now and libraries, with their limited budgets and yet penchant for sharing, might do really well with this.

Of course, there's the question whether this type of standard (i.e. not tailored) messaging is more powerful than our need to brand. Are marketing materials developed for mass use (like all the libraries in a state, for example, or all public libraries in the US) are powerful enough to overcome the fact that they don't incorporate an individual library's brand. Would my public library benefit from a Truth-type campaign or is it too general to mean anything for my users and our library funding?

I ask because I'm very interested in somewhat localized collaborative promotions, like the effort in Wyoming and Hawaii's current advocacy effort to save public libraries from closing. Maybe these are the happy medium between mass and localized awareness campaigns? Dunno.

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