Greater Victoria library wins award for Change Your Mind campaign

The Greater Victoria Public Library is the winner of one of eight awards recognizing outstanding marketing and public relations.

It’s being recognized for its Change Your Mind campaign, launched in August 2017 along with a new website. The goal is to let people know what’s available through the library system, both physical libraries and the virtual branch, accessed via mobile phones and tablets.

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The campaign encourages people to change their minds about what they think they know about the library.

“The power of libraries to make a significant impact on people’s lives is unique,” said Deborah Begoray, Greater Victoria Public Library chairwoman.

“This campaign shows how libraries transform communities, making them stronger, more resilient and more inclusive.”

Each winner of the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award receives $10,000 from the H.W. Wilson Foundation. The award is managed by the Library Leadership and Management Association division of the American Library Association. The competition is open to North American libraries.

Vancouver Public Library was also a winner for efforts to encourage patrons to enjoy its redeveloped rooftop garden, along with other quiet spaces.

The Greater Victoria Public Library’s initiative was developed by staff and features a graphic design of a smiling friendly brain.

It included signs at branches and material on the library system’s web page and on social media.

An online quiz invites people to discover what type of brain they have — for example, creative, curious or adventurous — then offers up a custom list of books and resources, including a library card. So far, more than 32,000 residents have taken the quiz.

The library also partnered with Vancouver Island-based Serious Coffee, which has outlets from Victoria to Campbell River and on the mainland in Powell River, printing 400,000 beverage sleeves with the Change Your Mind theme.

“This campaign reaches beyond our traditional user base and beyond library walls,” said Maureen Sawa, chief executive of the Greater Victoria Public Library.

“Conversation about discovery, curiosity and human potential are taking place in coffee shops, on social media, on the bus and wherever people connect.”

Two weeks after the new website was introduced, the number of patrons connecting to the virtual branch with their mobile phones or tablets increased by 20 per cent, the library’s 2017 annual report says.

The average amount of time on the virtual branch rose to two minutes and 30 seconds, from 46 seconds, it said.

With 12 physical branches, the library saw a total of 6.669 million visits in 2017. Of those, 2.4 million were in person, with the remainder online, the report said.

A total of 98,223 people attended programs, while 3,204 programs and events were held in 2017.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

On the internet: gvpl.ca/change-your-mind/

Quiz to “pick your brain type” and get custom book lists: gvpl.ca/yourbrain-quiz/

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