Geek the Library – Expanded

I took time last month to listen to a PLA web-cast Geek the Library: Putting Theory into Practice.  While a long presentation, well worth the time and I’m excited to hear that the State Library wants to participate.

Geek the Library: Putting Theory into Practice
Geek the Library is a public awareness pilot campaign implemented in select communities in Iowa, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. After several months, the results of the pilot are in. Were we able to increase awareness of the need for public library funding? Get the full scoop, and find out how you can implement Geek the Library in your community.

Notes from an information webinar about Geeking in Kansas with Jennifer Johnson.

<rant>I do wish webinar facilitators would remind people to MUTE their mics so we don’t hear every bump, burp and side-conversation. </rant>


  • People don’t know how libraries are funded or that most funding is local.
  • Library support is unrelated to using the library. Support is an attitude.
  • A strong librarian = a well supported library.  Perceptions of the librarian are highly related to library support.  Involved, advocate, passionate!
  • Library’s seen as a “transformational force” are well-funded.  Job training, early childhood literacy, teen programming.
  • Key to increasing funding support is to change the conversation and perception of the library from “services and information” to the library as a place that provides transformational opportunities for the community.
  • Transform ideas about the library from Information to Transformation, from Institution to “critical infrastructure”, from Past to My Future

The Campaign – advertising group out of Chicago and OCLC test drove 3

  • Geekthelibrary won out – got the most buzz – got people talking
  • “Igeekvampires” – a mix of famous  and regular people.
  • Advertising – online banners, news and radio, billboards, inserts
  • Public relations – newspaper articles, radio interviews, event coverage, magazine stories
  • Community Events – events out in the community – farmers market, county fair, business expos, parades, homecoming events – take geekthelibrary booth out and TALK to people
  • Library Events – posters, displays, bulletin boards, screen savers, summer reading/adult reading programs, banners, “Igeek” ornaments for a holiday event – integrate into existing activities
  • Tools – postcards, stickers, thank you notes, budget presentation on the geek theme – Ames Iowa
  • Online – facebook (15,000 followers), twitter, web site, surveys
  • Phase 2 – ads and promotions – more serious and begin talking about transformational things the library does – job, future, community, new ventures – how libraries inspire and “help everyone achieve their potential,” assist, promote community, champion small business, etc.

Successful Campaign – multi-faceted approach

  • advertising, events, grassroots programs, allow people to “express their personal ‘geek'”, social media, direct engagement with decision makers/funders in the community
  • Library needs to be its own best PR machine
  • Passionate Librarian the KEY to success!  Janet from Shelbyville, IN – wearing a geekboard that people could write on!
  • Consistent, persistent and committed and have a willingness to speak up!

Geeking in Kansas:

  • OCLC provides the materials – posters, inserts, ad copy, press release help, table skirts, banners, t-shirts, stickers, access to the campaign management center (online best practices, templates, support)
  • Field support – help, ideas, training, webinars, planning, budgeting, writing and graphic design
  • Libraries can participate on several different levels.
  • Should be cost-free, but if money is available – spend it on advertising.
  • Campaigns run from 5 to 9 months.
  • Will present at KLA
  • Janie and the State Library are working to get Kansas-related billboards (Kansans or Kansas-themes)
  • Participants will get a merchandising kit



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