Reading’s on the Rise at the St. Louis County Library
“Studies have shown that families who start reading aloud to their children at birth help strengthen language skills and build vocabulary,” shares Jennifer McBride, Communications Manager at the St. Louis County Library. This knowledge motivated the library to introduce its “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” campaign, which encourages families and caregivers to read 1000 books with their young children before they enter kindergarten.
The library is also engaged in a multi-year capital improvement campaign called “Your Library Renewed,” which aims to fund new facilities, upgrade existing structures, and enhance library programs and services.
Both programs have increased library usage: Since launching the “1000 Books” campaign in August 2016, over 6,000 children have registered for the program, and new and renovated locations are seeing new library cardholders and significant increases in circulation and program attendance.
Steps for Success
- Start the planning process early.
- Set clear goals.
- Get staff buy-in.
- Communicate with staff.
- Create multi-layered marketing campaigns.
- Gain substantial media coverage.
Multi-layered marketing has also helped the library promote their Boopsie® mobile app, a product from Demco Software that makes library resources accessible on smartphones. As McBride describes, the library promotes their app “via digital signage in our branches, on the St. Louis County Library website and our social media channels, with paper flyers in our branches and at outreach events with instructions on how to download the app, and through word of mouth advertising from staff to patrons.”