Geeking - coming soon to a community near you

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We've now completed the field work phase of the "Geek the Library" pilot and yesterday we announced availability of the program for use by public libraries across the country. We learned a lot during our field work (keep your eyes out for a new membership report...), and our biggest "a-ha" moments came as we discovered just how many unique ways there are to execute this advocacy program.

Shelbyville Bookmobile.jpgThat was the most exciting part of the pilot for me--watching library staff engage with the campaign and then customize the program for outreach around funding issues important to their communities. The great library staffs who we partnered with in southern Georgia, central Iowa, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Shelbyville, Indiana, Zion-Benton, Illinois and Piedmont, Georgia had access to a full range of Geek the Library campaign materials and project support from OCLC field managers. They worked with us to test the program, but did so much more. They committed energy, time and talent, and personalized the campaign to reflect the dynamics of their communities. The programs and results were fantastic. Just a few examples:

  • The transformation of a bookmobile into a "Geekmobile!"
  • Geek posters featuring community leaders--mayors, school superintendents, business owners and what they "Geeked"--civil rights, medieval history, politics... and tropical fish!
  • Geek produce bags for use at the local farmer's market.
  • Geek-themed floats in local parades.
And now we're excited to see what libraries across the country will do to help spread the news about the need for increased library funding.

This week, the Geek the Library public awareness campaign is being opened up to all U.S. public libraries. The campaign materials help libraries engage their communities about local funding issues, and highlight the vital role they play in today's challenging environment.

Geek the Library was born out of the findings in From Awareness to Funding: a study of library support in America, and is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We piloted the campaign with nearly 100 libraries in diverse communities over the past year. The public took notice and, in many cases, took action.

We can't thank the library staff enough who partnered to test the program and make it better. And now we can't wait to see what creative, innovative, captivating, "Geeky" ideas you will put into action.

To find out more about how your library can become involved in the campaign and register to take part, visit http://get.geekthelibrary.org/.

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