Connecticut State Library
Love Your Library & Barnes & Noble
Over $30,000 worth of purchases were made with Love Your Library vouchers in the first-ever Connecticut statewide library fundraiser with Barnes & Noble on Friday, December 2nd and Saturday, December 3rd. Librarians, book sellers, authors, publishers, and patrons pulled together, bringing not only funds, but much-needed publicity to Connecticut's libraries, library organizations, and the iCONN program.
Total purchases equalled $30,032.75 - a figure that is particularly impressive for a first-year event in a state with only twelve Barnes & Noble stores. Love Your Library will receive a twenty-five percent donation of those sales. This means that over $7,500 will go to the Connecticut Library Consortium (CLC). The net proceeds will be contributed by CLC to iCONN.
Love Your Library was the result of a groundbreaking partnership between the CLC, the Connecticut State Library, and the Connecticut Library Association. The events and partnerships surrounding Love Your Library created positive publicity for Connecticut's libraries. The librarians' list of recommended titles for holiday giving headlined section D of The Hartford Courant on the week of the event. The article promoted the Love Your Library fundraiser. It also mentioned and described the Connecticut Digital Library (iCONN) project. iCONN built on this publicity by distributing its bookmarks at all Barnes & Noble locations in Connecticut.
There were also a number of public events held in conjunction with Love Your Library days. The Enfield Public Library teamed up with the libraries in Suffield and Somers and ran popular children's title-themed activities such as games related to Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket. Children's librarian Sherelle Harris, Head of Branch Children's Services, was the featured reader at storyhour in the Norwalk Barnes & Noble. The Manchester Public Library also provided librarians to read to the children at the Manchester Barnes & Noble. At several Barnes & Noble locations, wish list tables were set up so that local libraries could get copies of titles donated to them by the public. Manchester and South Windsor's public libraries even teamed up to create a joint wish list table at their local store.
In North Haven, Barnes & Noble hosted the celebrated Dr. Bernie Siegel, an author known for his compassionate approach to medicine and healing. His talk and book signing was accompanied by special iCONN brochures on the Health & Wellness Resource Center (which feature such appropros resources as online encyclopedias of cancer and alternative medicine). In Danbury, the authors of the Murder, She Wrote series spoke and signed copies of their latest book. The author of children's book Double Pink held story hour at the Manchester Barnes & Noble on Saturday.
The events were preceded by Thursday's blitz of eight Barnes & Noble stores by author Anne Margaret Lewis, who signed copies of her new holiday book - Has Anyone Seen Christmas? Twenty-five percent of the sales of that book went to Love Your Library, even those copies sold on Thursday. The publisher of Has Anyone Seen Christmas? also donated radio advertisements and one free copy of the title for each public library in the state to go along with the event (the books will be distributed via C-CAR once received).
Post-event wrap-ups show great satisfaction with the events among the state's libraries. Love Your Library not only raised money and awareness for iCONN, but it also gave public libraries an opportunity to do outreach of their own. The development of an attractive logo by CLC's graphic designers, which was built on the "Love Your Library" theme, along with the customized vouchers and posters put together by the same team gave the event a distinctive identity that was embraced by libraries of all types throughout the state. iCONN staff came up with the www.loveyourlibrary.com website design (based on iCONN's existing website design) and mounted it on their server, while CLC purchased and pointed the domain name to that site. CLC, CLA, the State Library, and WebJunction - CT all featured Love Your Library on their websites, as did many Connecticut libraries and library networks. Through the joint efforts of these many entities, the event was a great success.