Volume 29, Number 3, Fall 2007

New Jersey State Library Launches Three Statewide Marketing Campaigns in 2007

In an era when marketing is becoming increasingly critical to maintain public funding and public support for libraries, the New Jersey State Library (NJSL) has taken the initiative by launching three major marketing campaigns this year.

Three Reasons Campaign

As part of its public awareness campaign to highlight the value of New Jersey libraries, NJSL has developed and posted a video on YouTube asking people to post the reasons why they love their library. The video had been viewed well over four thousand times in just the first couple of weeks of its posting, and it created quite a buzz in the blogging community. The Kentucky Library Association used the program as model for its own Three Reasons Campaign, and indicated its intention to link to the New Jersey video.

NJSL launched a poster campaign based on the Three Reasons theme that includes placement of posters on thirty train platforms, 140 interior rail or bus cards, and several billboards, including one on the heavily traveled Route One in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The Three Reasons campaign highlights JerseyClicks, QandANJ, wireless connection, and traditional materials of books, music, and movies, while encouraging people to go to NJSL Web site to find their local library.

The state library developed companion pieces - posters, bookmarks, and rack templates - that libraries can access on the Web, print out, and distribute.

Super Librarian Comic Book Launch

As a second campaign, NJSL also managed a very successful launch of the Super Librarian comic book, The Virus - the first full-length, full-color comic book ever created, written, and produced by libraries - featuring a librarian as superhero. NJSL, in partnership with the INFOLINK (Eastern NJ Regional Library Cooperative), conceived the idea to develop the comic book from the Super Librarian character, which had first been created in an image of an earlier statewide marketing campaign. The Super Librarian comic book is designed as a literacy tool to attract new and younger customers to libraries.

The State Library and INFOLINK forged a partnership with Diamond Comics to coordinate the launch of the Super Librarian comic book with Free Comic Book Day on May 5. Nearly two hundred public libraries and numerous comic book stores across the state participated in introducing the comic book. Two special events were presented—one in northern New Jersey at Elizabeth and the other in southern New Jersey at Cinnaminson. The kick-off of the Super Librarian comic book garnered a lot of media attention, with articles appearing in local and statewide newspapers and in national trade publications. A local television station in southern New Jersey (FoxTV-29) even aired a feature on the comic book.

YouTube/Comic Contest

A third NJSL marketing campaign involves a teen YouTube Video/Comic contest, again reflecting the theme of “Why You Love Your Library.” It encourages teens and tweens to give their three reasons in the form of a comic or video on YouTube in order to win a free MP3 Video player. The first entries have already arrived, and the contest will continue to the end of the year.

This newest public awareness campaign started off with a national award even before the posters and other campaign materials for the contest were distributed to the libraries. NJSL was among five libraries in the nation honored for an outstanding YouTube library-related video production at the Computers in Libraries Conference 2007, as part of the first InfoTubey Awards.

"We are thrilled to have received this award. The State Library is committed to combining the newest technologies with traditional methods to promote our libraries. This video isn’t just about what we think of libraries, it is what our residents think of us," commented state librarian Norma Blake.

Produced by NJSL director of marketing Nancy Dowd, the video combines a rap song about libraries and photos and clips from interviews conducted at local libraries to create an exciting, fast-paced advocacy film.