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OCLC receives additional funding for U.S. public library awareness campaign; Geek the Library reaches 24 states

OCLC’s Geek the Library community awareness campaign, piloted in 2009 and 2010 and now available to all U.S. public libraries, has received an additional grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The supplementary $726,000 provides ongoing campaign materials and field support for libraries currently running the campaign, and allows OCLC to work with additional public libraries that sign up by March 31, 2012. Funding ensures that participating libraries can use the campaign to reach their local communities through June 2013.

“We are so pleased to be able to continue to support libraries as they roll out the Geek the Library campaign across the country,” said Cathy De Rosa, Vice President of Global Marketing for OCLC. “It is so important to continue to build awareness about the vital role libraries serve in their communities and the urgent need for funding. We are grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their ongoing and strong support for libraries, and their partnership on the Geek the Library program.”

Since launch, hundreds of libraries across the U.S. have enrolled to run local Geek the Library campaigns—and more than 100 new campaigns have kicked off since the pilot ended. Participants are embracing the campaign, and are enthusiastically customizing content and actively involving their communities.

“[Geek the Library] was a huge celebration of the library and what we do that’s never happened before. It spoke to everybody—especially young people. This made us seem interesting and cool,” said Library Director Angela Semifero of the Marshall District Library in Marshall, Michigan, the first library outside of the pilot group to wrap up its local campaign. “The campaign helped teach the community that the library is there for everyone. It has made it easier to go out there and tell people about what the library needs. They now see the library as a part of them and an important part of the community.”

Many participating libraries are able to connect with their communities on a very personal level.

“The campaign puts a stamp of personalization on the services and materials that public libraries offer, and this is so important as we strive to diminish that stereotype of libraries as archaic institutions filled with dusty books,” said Andrea Legg, Extension & Technical Services Manager from Tuscarawas County Public Library System in New Philadelphia, Ohio. “By encouraging patrons to share what they geek with us and by reminding them that we support what they geek, we’re helping to redefine our public library as a place that cultivates our patrons’ personal interests. It results in a much more meaningful, interactive experience for our customers.”

Participating libraries receive an initial kit of Geek the Library materials, such as posters and stickers, plus additional kits as the campaign progresses, along with access to a comprehensive online guide to implementing the campaign. This resource features pages of advice for each phase of a local campaign, printable documents, art templates and images, a forum to share ideas with other participating libraries, and a blog that features ideas and updates weekly. Field managers also provide assistance in planning and roll-out, and are available to respond to questions throughout the campaign period.

Geek the Library has a national campaign presence with its website,, and social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Geek the Library was developed based on the results of OCLC’s research published in From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America. The research and pilot campaign were also funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Libraries can get more information about implementing the campaign locally at

About OCLC
Founded in 1967 and headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, OCLC is a nonprofit library service and research organization that has provided computer-based cataloging, reference, resource sharing, e-content, preservation, library management and Web services to 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories. OCLC and its member libraries worldwide have created and maintain WorldCat, the world’s richest online resource for finding library materials. Search on the Web at

OCLC advocacy programs are part of a long-term initiative to champion libraries to increase their visibility and viability within their communities. Programs include advertising and marketing materials to reinforce the idea of the library as relevant, and market research reports that identify and communicate trends of importance to the library profession. For more information, visit

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