Well not necessarily…That’s the lesson we learned at Palatine Library. We went through a full renovation on both floors of our Main Library during Covid shutdowns – the only silver lining to that challenging time. Like many libraries, door counts and program attendance went down drastically, but when we began seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, we wanted to see that reflected in our attendance.
So, our staff began to ask an important question: how do we get people back in the building?
In September 2020, Warrenville Public Library had a campaign to incentivize people to come back, so we copied that idea in part to create our own campaign that took place during National Library Week, April 3 – 9. (Thanks WPL for the inspiration!)
Our “Come Back – We Miss You!” campaign invited our community to come back to the Library and check out all the cool, new stuff we added during our renovation. As an extra incentive, we held weekly prize drawings for members to enter for a chance to win a gift card. Basically, as people came in and used the library in any way (i.e., check out anything, use a study room, attend a program, use a computer, and countless other things), they got an entry into our weekly drawing. We conducted the drawings during the whole month of April, with winners pulled every Friday. Our Friends of the Library group graciously agreed to give us funds to purchase gift cards for 5 winners each week (including 1 winner at each branch). It was our way to encourage members to come back and see us and to thank them for being faithful and frequent library users.
We promoted this campaign in our newsletter, right before a page dedicated to “30 Free Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Your Library Card.” Then, in April we put up signage in the building and at all the service desks. We also heavily promoted this on our website and in email marketing.
Our central staircase is a great place to put the entry box for members. Staff are empowered to give members an entry slip to anyone for doing anything. Our internal slogan was “Do a Thing, Get an Entry Slip!”
Our efforts to bring in more members and provide a chance for them to win a small prize was a success, with little cost and a moderate amount of work from staff. We are pleasantly surprised by the significant increases. View our final marketing report about this member appreciation month campaign.
Our guest post is from Andrea Lublink, Communications Manager at Palatine Library District.