The Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library serves the nearly 23,000 people
of Guilford Township, Hendricks County, Indiana. More than half of these
hold a library card. Although the county, as well as the city of Plainfield
where the library is located, have been growing, over the last three years
the library’s budget has been falling due to property reassessment
and a shrinking assessed valuation for the township.
Even with the increase
in population, the customer database has remained consistent for the last
few years, indicating
that the library is actually falling behind the national average
regarding community utilization. Many of the customers have lived
in the area all of their lives, but for the influx of new residents,
it has been difficult to find out about the library and its services.
library offers a wide array of services and programs to the community,
including information services in all
formats for library use or to take home, computer access, recreational
reading, early literacy training for parents and life-long learning
opportunities for all ages. Statistics show that customers check
out books and use the Internet in large numbers. However, they
do not attend library programs in large numbers.
One reason for this
may be that today, community libraries in general, and the Plainfield-Guilford
in particular, find themselves competing with many other entertainment
and information outlets for the attention of their customers.
The Internet has made a profound change in the way people obtain
and the proliferation of available television channels and movies
on DVD tend to keep people busy and away from the library. To
compensate for this, libraries have added computer capabilities
and video departments
with tapes and DVDs to check out. Hendricks County families have
numerous activities competing for their time such as organized
sports, dance classes, shopping, eating out, and many more. Library
is hard pressed to compete with these popular activities. In addition,
bookstores, many with conversation areas and coffee bars, have
become a competitor for libraries, too.
In light of these challenges, libraries have found it necessary to reinvent
themselves in order to compete for the attention of customers and continue
to be of benefit to the community. They are redesigning their programs and
services and finding better ways to get the word out to potential customers,
with the ultimate goal of increasing library use so constituents will get
more for the tax dollars they provide to maintain the library system.
the library’s position in the
community, the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library board
understood the need not only to expand its programs and services
but also to find creative ways to let the public know about them.
To assist in the library’s efforts, MillerWhite
recommended development of a pledge and positioning statement, and
used its proprietary protected formula, Unlocking the Power of Your
Pledge® to accomplish this. In evaluating the discovery from
the MW Fusion® report completed for the library, research performed
by MillerWhite and the library’s business goals, several key
factors were evident: 1) the library needed to become more marketing
oriented; 2) the library needed to expand its products and programs;
and 3) the library needed to have more of an active culture (as
opposed to passively waiting for customers to come to them).
on this, the pledge recommended for the library was: “The
Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library is your convenient,
physical and mental destination point for discovery, education
and entertainment.” The pledge is an active statement
that is meant to be used within the organization to help tie
all marketing actions with a common thread and to help the staff
on making the library experience one of discovery, education
and entertainment every time they come in contact with a customer.
tagline developed from this pledge – the statement meant
for external marketing purposes – was “Where the
journey begins!” This tagline suggests that coming
into contact with the library is the beginning of a journey, a
that begins whether you are at the
library or are accessing it
on the Internet; that like education, it is the first step to
in your life; and that the journey will continue every time you
contact the library for programs
The library’s new brand won staff support because it put into a simple
statement the purpose of what they do every day. They can reaffirm the pledge
by asking customers: “Did you discover what you were looking for?” “ Did
you learn something new?” “Did you have an enjoyable experience?”
This new organization culture forms the basis
for public relations efforts that tell the library’s story.
The pledge and tagline provide the foundation for the creative aspect
of the library’s new advertising and interactive media programs.
the new brand is communicated through these efforts, and as
the integrated marketing plan is implemented with
new programs, products and services, the results can be measured
in increased use of the library by its customers.