Browse the Stacks, Not the Racks: Black Friday @ Your Library

ImageYou probably don't want to think about how many "shopping days 'til Christmas" there are, but it's a good idea to plan now for the holiday season at your library.

Take for inspiration the "Black Friday at the Library" campaign run by the Lester Public Library (Two Rivers, WI) last year, in what director Jeff Dawson said, "What began as a tongue-in-cheek idea to raise visibility in an un-library-like way became a very successful marketing campaign" which included these "deals":

  • ... a “doorbuster” (a short-term, super-low-price deal). We decided to offer 50% off fines from 10 a.m. until noon.
  • We decided to offer three all-day deals. The first was a Buy One, Get One Free deal from our perpetual book sale. With bargain prices already set at 50 cents for hardcover books and 25 cents for paperbacks, we were looking to raise awareness of the ongoing book sale rather than to make money.
  • Our second deal was the chance to check out one extra DVD for free. Our normal limit on DVDs is seven at a time, but on Black Friday, patrons could take home eight.
  • Our third special promotion was a “guess the pod” competition... The DVD cases on the shelves are empty, so when patrons choose a title, they have to bring the cases to circ for check out. ... So for each DVD a patron got, he or she had a chance to win a $1 Off Fines coupon for future use by guessing which pod the disc would pop out of.

Jeff quantified the success of their event with these figures:

In terms of real numbers, I compared Black Friday stats to those of regular Fridays in 2013. Our average Friday door count was 426 patrons; on Black Friday it was 745, a 43% increase. The average Friday haul for fines was $43.32; on Black Friday it was $243.04, an 82% increase. The average Friday income for the perpetual book sale was $5.25; Black Friday’s total was $61.35, a 91% jump.

Read the whole 2-page article to get details on their newspaper ad strategy, see the ads they ran, and figure out if you'd want to do something like this at your library.

Take note: "Black Friday" (the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the U.S, often regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season) falls on November 28th this year.

P.S. Information Today has made all the articles in their Sep/Oct 2014 issue of Marketing Library Services free on their website.

Get more ideas at ‘Tis The Season: Ideas for Public Library Holiday Campaigns for ways your library can help the less fortunate in your community by running holiday giving campaigns to collect donations for the needy. As Tiffany McClary says, "Holiday giving programs are a meaningful and important way to establish connections with your community."

Black Friday Ads for — Lester Public Library?, pp. 4-5 of the Sep/Oct 2014 issue of Marketing Library Services
‘Tis The Season: Ideas for Public Library Holiday Campaigns from New Jersey State Library's It's Time to Rediscover Your Library

image credit: Harris County Public Library's Facebook page via The Wisconsin Library Association's Facebook page