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Barrie's public library wins prestigious American award

An undated image of the Barrie Public Library (Google Images) An undated image of the Barrie Public Library (Google Images)

The Barrie Public Library was awarded a 2024 John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award for marketing and public relations excellence.

The Barrie Public Library received this award for their 2023 membership drive, an organization-wide Discover Opportunities campaign with the goal of signing up 10,000 new members by the end of 2023.

The campaign included marketing promotions, targeted outreach at schools, events, collections updates and public service initiatives.

In doing so, the library reached its goal in early October, welcoming 12,476 new members by the end of 2023.

"I am absolutely thrilled that the Barrie Public Library has been recognized by the American Library Association in this way," said Lauren Jessop, CEO of the library. "Our membership campaign was a true team effort across the entire organization. Everyone brought their energy and passion, and together we surpassed our goal by 20%."

The John Cotton Dana Award provides up to eight $10,000 (US) grants for libraries demonstrating outstanding public relations and strategic communications efforts.

"We are truly honoured to be selected for a John Cotton Dana Award," said Melissa Foster, manager of Marketing and Communications at the Barrie Public Library.

"Our team worked hard on the campaign last year, with efforts including social media promotions, radio advertisements, e-newsletters, direct mail pieces, and our Share the Library Love contest.

"I'm proud of what our team contributed towards the goal while raising awareness of the value of a library card. To be recognized on an international stage is very exciting," Foster said. 

On the American Library Association's website, a press release about Barrie's Discover Opportunities program states, "From planning through implementation, Barrie Public Library's library card sign-up campaign was fun and built upon community spirit and personal connections. Their campaign forged connections within the community through referral cards that were well-designed and truly had the community 'sharing the love' of their public library. They were savvy with staff utilization in this multi-channel campaign. Their ongoing evaluation and monitoring led to updating goals and invigorating staff for a highly successful campaign." Top Stories

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