November 21, 2017

Andy Woodworth | Movers & Shakers 2010 – Marketers

Library Journal March 15, 2010: Andy Woodworth, Mover & Shaker

Flavor of the Month

Move over, Cherry Garcia. If Andy Woodworth has his way, the next hot Ben & Jerry’s flavor could be Gooey Decimal System.

The 32-year-old adult services librarian at Bordentown Library, NJ, Woodworth is creator of “People for a Library Themed Ben & Jerry’s Flavor,” a Facebook group he started in June 2009 that’s mushroomed to more than 8000 members and quickly gained international media and blogging attention. (It’s been picked up by Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish, The New Yorker‘s The Book Bench blog, Britain’s The Guardian, and even the United Arab Emirates newspaper, The National.)

But don’t be fooled. Woodworth’s project has a hidden agenda—it’s part of a multipronged advocacy effort to get libraries noticed, appreciated, and funded.

“Despite it’s fun exterior and appeal, it was for a serious cause—to bring light to the budgetary woes of the public library,” says Woodworth. “This was in the midst of the Ohio library budget battle as well as [budget battles] in several other states, including Connecticut, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.”

Whether it’s through Twitter, Facebook, Livejournal, or email, Woodworth deftly uses his savvy social media skills to campaign for library causes—and he successfully reaches members of his library family far and wide.

When, for example, the Louisville Free Public Library, KY, was hit with flash floods last summer that led to millions of dollars in damages, Woodworth hosted a “Why Libraries Kick Ass” blogathon seeking relief aid.

“I wanted to raise awareness for their plight, and I thought something like this would certainly do it across the library community,” says Woodworth about his effort, which ended up getting about 75 people blogging about a common theme.

Julie Strange, statewide coordinator of the 24/7 online reference service Maryland AskUsNow!, notes that when Woodworth’s not making headlines, he’s making a difference at his library and library system. He helped to introduce a hugely popular video game collection to the Burlington County Library System, to which Bordentown Library belongs. His Job 1-on-1 program helps job seekers with their résumés, cover letters, interviewing skills, and job hunting. He’s in charge of a bimonthly Wii for Seniors program that other branches have copied. He teaches continuing ed classes to his fellow staffers. And he’s the blogger behind Agnostic, Maybe.

Most recently, this dynamo is in the middle of working on a “Friend of a Friend’s Group” wiki (bit.ly/c35UWY), intended as a resource for librarians, library Friends, and others to help advocate and raise funds.

“The cost is only time and effort, but the rewards are quite tangible,” says Strange of Woodworth’s efforts.

Stay tuned. Woodworth’s brilliant ice cream idea just might happen. Arnold Carbone, Ben & Jerry’s chief flavor guru, says, “We’ve honored rock’n’roll icons, so why not librarians?”

Leave it to Woodworth’s marketing genius to make library advocacy fun—and way cool.

Vitals

Andy Woodworth, Bordentown Library, NJ

CURRENT POSITION Adult Services Librarian

DEGREE MLS, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, 2006

COOL STUFF Studied at the University of Wollongong, Australia; on first place team of Clarion University Quiz Bowl

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