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Advocacy: From Awareness to Funding, the next chapter

Geek the Library, a community-based public awareness campaign, now open to all U.S. public libraries

Funded by a $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, OCLC has developed a community-based public awareness campaign designed to highlight the vital role of public libraries in today's challenging environment and to increase local library support.

The Geek the Library campaign introduces the word 'geek' as a verb and encourages the public to talk about what they 'geek'—whether it's engineering, superheroes or art. Campaign messaging illustrates the fact that everyone is passionate about something—everyone 'geeks' something—and that the public library supports it all.

The awareness campaign strategy is based on findings from the 2008 OCLC report, From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America . It utilizes a broad range of marketing, advertising and advocacy techniques to reach the audience identified in the report as "probable" library supporters—a group of regular voters who are likely to support library funding initiatives, but who are not fully committed.

Working with local library leaders, OCLC piloted the public awareness campaign with a selection of libraries and library systems in southern Georgia and central Iowa, as well as additional communities in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Campaign efforts launched in summer 2009, and official field support and tracking ended in April 2010.

The awareness campaign is now open to all U.S. public libraries. Interested U.S. public libraries should visit for a detailed campaign overview and to fill out a short form for more information about adopting Geek the Library. Libraries and library systems that decide to implement the campaign locally will receive initial training and ongoing support, and full access to all campaign material.

Geek the Library

Interested U.S. public libraries should visit for more information. Also, learn more about the campaign at the official consumer Web site: and social networking sites such as: Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube.