Eighteen Publicity Hounds who responded to a question in my ezine had lots of ideas for Tia Dobi of Los Angeles, California, who wants to promote a multi-state group of public libraries. “The majority of fliers and pamphlets generated are distributed within the confinements of the library. So nobody on the outside sees them,” she said.
From Soni Pitts of Poplar Bluff, Missouri:
Sounds like a job for the ever-popular essay contest. Instead of the old standard topics, such as “Why I love my library” or “Why books are my friends”, you be more creative with subjects like “What would life be like if libraries didn’t exist,” “How would my life be different if I were my favorite book character” or “What 3 books do I think our President should read and why.”
Instead of coming up with a cash prize, the library could get donations from local businesses (products, services and coupons) to offer 2 or 3 “community gift bundles” (with publicity for the businesses involved) and the winners could also be assigned honorary “fellowships” for the year. They would be guests of honor at main library events, have a shelf of their favorite books/authors grouped together in one place as the “John Doe Library Fellowship Reading List” and appear in the library newsletter, holiday cards and so on as a “friend of the library,” much the way honored authors are so honored by universities.
From Kitty Werner of Waitsfield, Vermont:
I was asked by the Board of Directors of the Rutland (Vermont) Regional Library to create a “murder mystery” night as a fundraiser for the library. Not only did the library make a wad of money, but the PR was outstanding! We had more people attend than were expected and we were packed. We even had the local ambulance arrive right on schedule to pick up the “dead” body. We used books, slightly pulled from the shelves, related to the subject of the mystery as clues, and gave everyone the run of the place. It was a delicious time!
From Michelle Tennant of Saluda, North Carolina:
Set up music at lunch and invite local company employees to come hear music while they eat lunch. All media will cover the “Lunch Lullabies at the Library” since it’s a free event for the public. Have the network of libraries do it together. You might even get a corporate sponsor, if you like. At best, you’ll get front page coverage; at worst you’ll just get the calendar. Often times, musicians will do this for free. Just put out a big can and announce that the musician is just getting paid in tips. There was something like this in Cincinnati when I used to work downtown. I loved going there for lunch. They would section off a piece of the library that was “food friendly” and people loved it.