Tag Archives: promotion

Library A to Z launches today

It’s just over a year since the Library A to Z was first put down on paper – a list of words that reflected the wide range of library services and positive outcomes those services generated. We wrote about it here. Since then, after teaming up with Andrew Walsh to run a crowd-funding project to expand on the original idea and turn it into something more than just a list of words, a set of great promotional and advocacy materials has been produced, including fantastic illustrations by Josh Filhol, posters, cards and a book emphasising the message of the the Library A to Z. The book features a chapter written on behalf on Voices for the Library, along with library users quotes taken from the Voices for the Library site. The Voices team are very pleased that these quotes are being shared outside of our site, as they will help spread the important message that libraries remain relevant in the 21st century.

The Library A to Z is now officially ready to launch and it wouldn’t have been possible without a large number of people helping it reach this point. This includes those who helped create the original list of A to Z words; the 155 financial backers (including major sponsor The Library Campaign); everyone who has shown their support in promoting the A to Z and encouraging people to get involved; the Voices for the Library team; Josh who created the fantastic illustrations that are the centre piece of the A to Z; Aidan who helped with the poster design; and most importantly Andy, who has put in so much hard work from the original discussion we had at Library Camp last year up until the launch.

Even though the materials created by this project have been available for anyone to freely download for a few weeks from the new site at http://libraryatoz.org, the Library A to Z is officially launched this week (17th November).

To highlight the intentions for the launch take a look at the beginning of the book chapter. It leads with:

Over the past few years we have witnessed severe cuts in library service budgets resulting in the reduction of services, most notably by closures, shorter opening hours, staff cuts and the replacement of library staff with typically unsustainable and fragmented volunteer-run services. Cuts are often made in the name of austerity measures, yet in austere times libraries are of particular importance to the disadvantaged in our communities.

For many people the word “library” conjures up images of books and not much more. Although books remain a core feature and are beneficial in many more ways than commonly understood, libraries have a much wider and more significant reach than books alone.

For these reasons politicians at both local and national level (including leading ministers in Government) will be receiving copies of the Library A to Z book and other campaign materials during launch week. The intention is to show them that properly funded and professionally run library services help transform society in many ways, including the improvement of literacy and reading skills, enabling access to digital services, supporting economic growth, promoting wellbeing and education.

Supporters of library services have also been encouraged to send copies of the Library A to Z book and other A to Z materials to their local politicians and media to help spread the message.

At this stage around 90 books have been sent out to politicians and media organisations.

As well as using the materials in this context, the intention is also to encourage library services and their supporters to use them for promotional purposes. For example, editable posters have been created for each letter, so that local information can be added to them. As I have mentioned earlier all of these materials – book, posters, cards, illustrations – are available for you to download and re-use for free.

Whether we are encouraging support from politicians and policy makers or using the materials for promotions in libraries the message remains the same – libraries have so much to offer that most people aren’t aware of. This is a great opportunity for you to let them know.

The launch is being promoted to national and local news and media organisations to raise the profile of libraries. Social media is also being used during the launch to spread the word about the Library A to Z. The hashtag is #LibraryAtoZ.

It would be great if we could encourage you to help spread the message about the Library A to Z during this launch week in whatever way you can.

Library A to Z update

It’s been over a month since the Library A to Z Kickstarter was funded and we just wanted to update you on how things are progressing. So far, the illustrator Josh Filhol has finished the art work. In the end he managed to produce illustrations for every letter, even those that didn’t have many words against them. The illustrations are vibrant and are going to look great in the book and on the other advocacy resources. Content for the book is also coming together nicely and Andy is in contact with designers for promotional items such as posters. We don’t have a definite timescale for when the resources based on the illustrations will be available for download, but we’ll make sure we announce it when it happens.

"W" (by Josh Filhol)

“W” (by Josh Filhol)

The final figure for the Library A to Z is £4,543 (225% funded)

The Library A to Z crowdfunding closed today after 4 weeks and we’re really pleased to say that, thanks to the generosity of 155 backers, it has exceeded the initial goal of £2,000. The final amount was a fantastic £4,543, which means that the following has been funded:

  • £2,000 covers the costs of the illustrator, Kickstarter and card processing costs, legal deposit copies of the book, and the initial rewards including postage and packing.
  • £2,500 enables the production of a series of posters using the illustrations and makes them available for anyone to download under creative commons licence, edit if wanted, and to print for use in library advocacy.
  • £3,000 enables a pack containing books, posters and other materials to be made up and sent out to at least five different press / media organisations pushing the positive message about libraries. Backers will prioritise who we send them to (and will happily send these out internationally as well as within the UK depending on the geographical spread of our backers).
  • At £4,500 each person with a pledge of £20 over above will be sent an assortment of 5 greeting cards with images from the Library A to Z. It would be great if backers could send at least one of these to a local politician (your local councillor perhaps?) to ask about support for libraries in your area.
It seems such a long time ago that the initial A to Z list was crowd sourced at Library Camp East and it is fantastic that it has turned into something that so many people have thought was a great enough idea to support. Thank you to everyone who has pledged or shared the idea wide enough for this to be funded, including The Library Campaign, whose £1,500 pledge gave the crowdfunding a huge boost.
Huge thanks also to Andy who came up with the idea of crowd funding this, found an illustrator and set up the Kickstarter.
Now we move on to putting the book together, and as we do this over the next few months we’ll keep you updated on our progress.
Library A to Z illustration by Josh Filhol

Library A to Z (Josh Filhol)

Library A to Z Kickstarter funded to 190%

Fundraising for the Library A to Z is not yet closed, but with one week to go it is already 190% funded. On Monday, after three weeks, we’d reached around £2250 with 120+ backers, but The Library Campaign showed their support for the project by becoming the main sponsor and pledged £1,500, which is fantastic, and gratefully appreciated,. As is the £2250 all of the other individual backers have also pledged. This means that the current total pledged stands at just over £3,800! This funding means that the full colour book, posters and cards will be produced, along with press packs featuring this material. We still have a week to go and further stretch goals we can achieve, dependent upon the money we raise. We’re already wondering if we can reach £4500, and if we did how much more we could achieve with this project.

A huge thank you to everyone who has generously pledged and promoted this project.


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The Library A to Z Kickstarter is 90% funded

As you will know from the last blog post, a crowd-funding initiative has been set up by Andy Walsh to raise money to produce a full-colour visual A to Z around positive activities and services libraries provide. To make this happen £2,000 needs to be raised by 28th May. The great news is that thanks to the generosity of so many people it has over £1,800 pledges in the first 2 weeks – over 90% funded. In fact it was 25% funded after the first day and 75% after the first week, which is fantastic and thanks to all who have pledged money to support it. However, it does mean that we still need to raise almost £200 in pledges to meet the minimum target and for it to happen. There’s no limit to the maximum amount we can raise, so we hope it will keep going past the £2,000 level.

As well as raising the extra funds we would like further contributions for the A to Z. Some letters, such as K, Q, X, Y, and Z don’t have many words associated with them, so it would be helpful if people could suggest more to fill the gaps. The original list is here.

Andy has also created flyers about the crowd-funding initiative to share with people, so if you are attending any library (or non-library) events over the next 2 weeks and are able to spread the word by passing on some leaflets that would be great.

Thank you once again for all your support and pledges for this project.


Edit: We are now up to 95% funded!

The importance of promotional activity

We have written often about how statistics often inform (or, more accurately, misinform) council decisions about library closures.  Should a small rural library have a slight dip in visits, councils will subsequently consider it ripe for closure and a great opportunity to save money – regardless of the actual needs of the local communities they serve.  Reliance on visits alone is, as has been demonstrated before, a misleading measure of the service itself.  That said it is not a measure that campaigners should ignore, if anything it should be used to their advantage.  Methods for counting visits aren’t very reliable and easily open to manipulation by library users.

However, councils are also willing and able to manipulate the statistics where required to tip the odds in their favour come the time for consultation.  Take, for example, the events in libraries and the materials produced to promote them.  Author events and other such activities are often hosted by public libraries to help draw in visitors.  This is particularly the case during the Summer Reading Challenge, a promotion designed to encourage children to read and one that often relies on events and promotional activity to encourage children to complete the challenge.  There is one problem with promotional activity however, it costs money.

Frank Turner at Lancaster Library

Frank Turner performing at Lancaster Library as part of the ‘get it loud in libraries!’ project. Events such as these drive up awareness of the library, but need promoting. Image from Lancashire County Council.

Whilst cutting promotional activity may seem like an insignificant saving at first, it can actually lead to much bigger savings further down the line – ultimately what the councils are trying to achieve.  If libraries, for example, were forced to curtail promotional activities there would, obviously, be an impact on visits.  Events and promotional activities drive up visits, often attracting people who would not usually use the library.  Take the Summer Reading Challenge.  Promoting that event throughout the summer encourages children to sign up and take part.  Given that the Reading Challenge requires three return visits in order to complete it (and receive the certificate of course!), one can see how vital promotion of the Reading Challenge is in terms of attracting visits.

And it isn’t just the Summer Reading Challenge this affects.  Author events are also a big driver of library visits.  Often an author event can attract people to the library who are not ordinarily members, but are interested in the author themselves.  If they are not aware of such an event (via a press release in the local paper for example), then obviously they will not attend and there will be a subsequent impact on library visits.  Reduce or prohibit promotional activity therefore, and there will be a subsequent decline in visits.  And we know what a decline in visits leads to.

This will to drive down promotional activity and limit the nature and scope of promotional activities is all the more disturbing when set against the backdrop of the 1964 Libraries Act.  The Act clearly states:

“It shall be the duty of every library authority to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof…. of encouraging both adults and children to make full use of the library service.” [emphasis mine]

If library authorities are not promoting activities or events within your library network, they are not ‘encouraging’ adults and children to make full use of the library.  Encouraging people to use the library requires promotional activity and this is fundamental to the delivery of a comprehensive and efficient library service.

So, whilst the initial cut in promotional activity may not itself save huge sums of money, the impact of such a cut undoubtedly will.  Cut the promotional activity, cut the visits, cut the libraries.  But a cut in promotional activity does not mean that an event cannot be promoted.  In the age of social media, any one of us can promote an event and share it with hundreds, thousands, millions at the click of a button.  If the councils won’t do it, then it is up to us to step up and do it for them.