Kids! @ your library® tool kit - sample communication plan
This sample plan is offered as an example of how you might approach a campaign targeting kids. The goal is to deliver a simple, clear, and consistent message. The more people see and hear it, the more likely they are to remember it and act.
The strategies outlined are only suggestions. We hope they will inspire new and better ideas. Many things you already do fall under the campaign umbrella. Depending on the size of your library and community, you might want to start with one or two grades and build from there. Or, you may focus on a particular group such as low income or immigrant families.
The plan is your roadmap to success. To turn it into action, you will want to flesh out the strategies, assign responsibility, set deadlines, and establish a budget.
Somewhere Public Library
Our library has great children’s services. These services are well used, but there are still many children who don’t use them. Some come from low income or bilingual homes where parents are not aware of what the library has to offer. Some parents have outdated images of the library. Some prefer the competition—the Internet, bookstores, or other libraries. Some children are too busy with sports, music, and other activities.
Helping children to read and learn for a lifetime is part of our library’s mission. We propose to raise public awareness about what the library offers and to position the library as a leader in providing education and enrichment for children. We will focus on children in grades x-x.
· Every school-age child will use the library.
· Parents will understand the library’s key role as a source of education and enrichment for their children.
· Other youth-serving agencies will seek out the library as a partner.
Taking their children to the library is one of the best and most important things parents can do for their children. The library is a place for kids to read, learn, and have fun. It is a place that families can enjoy together with no out-of-pocket charge. And there are librarians to advise and guide kids in learning and exploring.
There’s so much to see, so much to do @ your library®.
Internal: Staff, Board, Friends, Foundation, Volunteers
External: Kids in grades x-x
School administrators, teachers, school library media specialists
Organizations that serve or work with children grades x-x
Objectives (Year I)
· The number of juvenile cardholders in grades x-x will increase by 15 percent.
· Juvenile circulation will increase by 10 percent.
· Participation in summer reading by x-x graders will increase by 20 percent.
· We will enlist at least one partner organization in reaching out to children and their parents/caregivers.
1. Identify what print materials and promotional items you will need and how you will distribute them to your target audiences. ALSC offers free logos, line art, and a printer-friendly poster and bookmark, all with the “So much to see, so much to do” theme.
2. Identify what kind of support will be needed, i.e. refreshments, prizes, incentives, funding, and prepare a list of potential sponsors. Also, identify opportunities for recognition and other benefits they will receive.
3. Recruit a campaign chair—a sports figure/media personality—and other well-known people to lend their support.
4. Introduce the campaign and its key message to all staff, board members, Friends, Foundation members, and volunteers. Encourage them to tell their families, friends and neighbors, and ask them to help spread the word.
5. Ask youth-serving agencies such as the Y or Boys and Girls Clubs to be partners in the campaign. Call first and follow up with a letter or email. Invite their input and provide regular updates.
6. Sponsor a “So much to see, so much to do” (or other tagline/key message) festival for kids with activities/refreshments for their parents. Develop a “So much to see, So much to do” (or other tagline/key message) monthly calendar of programs for kids and their families, e.g. ice cream social, movies on the lawn, Family Fun Nights. (See Good Ideas.)
7. Collect testimonials/positive comments from kids and their families. Ask in advance for their permission to use their comments to promote the library. Post them in the library and on the website. Quote them in presentations and publicity materials.
8. Listen and learn. Ask why people don’t use the library. Is it lack of transportation? Poor English? Fear of fines? Try to identify obstacles and give feedback to appropriate staff for consideration/action.
9. Reach out to school officials. Start at the top with the school superintendent. Also meet with principals and school library media specialists. Host a coffee or brunch for teachers or attend in-service meetings to remind them of what the library offers, especially new materials and services.
10. Visit the classrooms of your target group to read to the younger students and do booktalks with older students. Distribute library card sign-up information.
11. Develop a media calendar for sending news items to newspapers, radio, and TV. Suggest four feature stories (one a quarter) about how the library serves kids and families, e.g., website resources, afterschool homework help, family night programs, etc. Invite local newspapers and/or TV to take photos or film at special events.
12. Make a special effort to reach out to bilingual and low income families. Provide materials in their language. Provide announcements for faith communities and school bulletins. Start a group for mothers/others interested to help them learn how they can help their children in school and how the library can help them. Consider whether you need to partner with another organization to provide childcare, or provide a progam or storytime so that the mothers can participate. Have a translator, coffee, and treats. Encourage those mothers to tell their friends.
13. Sponsor a float in community parades with your key campaign message prominently displayed.
14. Sponsor a library card sign-up drive directed at kids during National Library Card Sign-up Month in September or other, more convenient time.
15. Compile a list of homeschooling groups in your area, and invite them to the library for a tour and demonstration of helpful resources.
· Compile evaluation forms to provide at programs/events.
· Collect anecdotal stories by word of mouth or through the library website; compile other feedback.
· Did the quality and quantity of media coverage meet your expectations?
· Did you accomplish your objectives?
Begin to plan for Year II.