February 17, 2018

What Makes My Heart Sing!

This summer, as Ohio libraries faced an unprecedented reduction in state
 funding, one of the keys to our successful  response to that crisis was a
 unity of force:  all 251 libraries — through the guidance of Ohio Library Council — presented a coherent, cohesive, consistent message to our public. The essence of marketing.

The experience left me scratching my head:  why can’t libraries get together more and share our resources for the greater good of all? Too often we focus on our individual communities — which is important — but in doing so lose the leverage that comes from the power of many.

So I was intrigued when I heard about what is happening in Colorado. The libraries of that state have come together to share in a statewide marketing campaign that uses a consistent message about library value. Makes my heart sing! 

Based on the findings of the OCLC study, From Awareness to Funding, the code-named Butterfly Team is working with the agency that created the outstanding Wyoming State Library campaign. The campaign will be launched in November and I can’t wait to see what they unveil. 

I often hear libraries citing Starbucks or other retailers as examples of what libraries could/should do. Those retailers have assets that dwarf those of individual libraries. But we could get close to those examples and go farther if we pool our resources. So I’ll report back as soon as the campaign launches.

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.



  1. Instead of moaning and groaning about shrinking budgets, libraries should innovate with new ideas and initiatives like the one launched by Cleveland Heights Public Library that helps businesses and the library at the same time. See http://www.latsign.com – great concept.