SAN FRANCISCO, April 13 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — At the start of National Library Week, Bay Area libraries are launching an unprecedented marketing campaign to reintroduce communities to their local libraries. Taking its cue from “Got Milk?” and similar industry image-raising efforts, the Free2 Campaign is designed to raise awareness of the central role libraries play in people’s lives and how libraries are meeting increased demand for a new host of services, from Internet access and video games to health care information and dance classes.
The Free2 Campaign will be an 18-month effort involving interactive and traditional advertising, sponsored initiatives, special events and promotional activities at 165 library locations in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa counties. According to Luis Herrera, City Librarian in San Francisco, the campaign will help dispel clichés about libraries while promoting how such vital democratic institutions keep adapting in the digital age.
“Thanks to libraries, we are free to do so much,” he said. “We surf the Web. We can compete with friends in video games. We discover new worlds. We transport ourselves to other times and places through good books. We research new business ideas. We learn English as a second language. We attend lectures, panel discussions, author readings and more. We connect with friends and family. The library is an amazingly empowering place to connect, learn and play.”
Implicit in the campaign’s core concept, Free2, is a question for library customers and supporters: What are you free to do — or be — thanks to your local library? The campaign is launching with the Free2Contest, inviting audiences to describe, in 25 words or less, how they are “Free2.”
Ten grand prize winners will be chosen and announced in June, plus be eligible to be featured in future campaign ads. Entries can be made online at WeAreFree2.org through May 15, 2008.
Some notable names have already shared their ideas on how they are Free2, including:
— California Senator and Assistant President pro Tempore Leland Yee, who represents San Francisco and San Mateo. Senator Yee considers libraries a place where we are “free2make history.”
— David Talbot, founder of Salon.com and author of Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years. Because he was “free2wander” at Bay Area libraries, Talbot pursued his “career as a journalist, researching and writing articles and books – and even doing the deep-well information drilling I needed to launch my own media business. Libraries are writers’ temples!”
— Craig Newmark, the Web entrepreneur behind Craigslist.org, who appreciates how libraries are “free2make things better for everyone.”
“The Free2 contest and campaign is a chance for us to invite more dialogue about how libraries can continue to grow, improve and help meet our communities’ most pressing challenges,” said Herrera. “It’s also a chance for us to take our marketing to the next level in a way that allows us to celebrate libraries and give back to our communities.”
The marketing campaign is the first of its kind for a library system in California, with thousands of ads, fliers, posters and stickers appearing across the Bay Area, from Oakland and San Francisco to Pleasanton and Livermore down to Saratoga.
The ongoing marketing campaign is spearheaded by the Bay Area Library and Information System (BALIS), Silicon Valley Library System and Peninsula Library System, representing 165 locations in the Bay Area. Upcoming activities, events and special features will be highlighted on the campaign’s Web site: http://www.WeAreFree2.org.