For immediate release | April 28, 2016

Gale Cengage Learning Financial Development Award recipient named

CHICAGO — The Rod Library at the University of Northern Iowa is the 2016 winner of the prestigious Gale Cengage Learning Financial Development Award. The award is presented annually to a library organization for exhibiting meritorious achievements in carrying out a project to secure new funding resources for a public or academic library.

Rod Library developed a crowdfunding campaign sponsored by the University Foundation’s new platform. Several of the committee members were impressed that they were able to surpass their financial goal and noted that 76 percent of the library staff contributed to the campaign. The committee thought the video developed for the effort was clever and creative and they liked that the branding allowed for a viral PR component. The Rod Library is commended for how clearly they explained their fundraising efforts, why they needed the campaign and how they planned to accomplish their goal. The committee also noted that crowdfunding for a library marks a moment in time that was worth marking and considering.

One of the committee members wrote: "Using a crowdfunding vehicle is, in my mind, an innovative approach, at least at this point in time. … I also like the fact that they evaluated their attempt to use crowdfunding at the end of their application which would inform any future attempts using this type of fundraising tool.”

This is the first year the Rod Library has used this approach, both with a crowdfunded project and with a tongue-in-cheek video that is unlike what is typically used for fundraising with the Foundation at the University of Iowa. They used a wide variety of electronic marketing to bring their efforts to the attention of potential donors and maintained ongoing updates to supporters about their progress. All in all it seems clear that they enjoyed learning about this new platform as a way of fundraising, but are careful to point out that it takes considerable attention to develop the project and maintain it.

Members of the 2016 Gale Cengage Learning Financial Development Award jury were Annie Zeidman-Karpinski, Chair, University of Oregon; Linda Kopecky, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee; Dani Porter-Lansky, Florida Atlantic University; Dominique Turnbow, University of California, San Diego; Clara Bohrer - West Bloomfield Township Public Library.

The Gale Cengage Learning Financial Development Award will be presented at the ALA Award Ceremony and Reception on Sunday, June 26 at the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando.

The deadline for submission of applications for the 2017 Gale Cengage Financial Development Award is Dec. 1, 2016.

Guidelines and forms are available on the ALA website.


Cheryl Malden

Program Officer