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Enrich Your Life magazine

Queens Library

Innovation Leader: James A. Keller, Chief Marketing Officer, james.keller@queenslibrary.org

Problem Statement

Our department wanted to relaunch our existing newsletter, Library Matters, in order to make our publication the foremost nonprofit publication of its kind. Our former magazine was too stale and corporate-looking, and we knew we needed a dynamic, contemporary magazine that would more closely reflect our theme line, Enrich your life. We also wanted to tie it into an online publication. Given these specifications, our team had several objectives in mind. We were determined to have a magazine that not only looked better, but also contained more meaningful articles.

Innovation

After we developed our communications objective, outlining the changes we wanted in both content and design (making the magazine more readable, graphically exciting, and fresh; incorporating more relevant articles for our customers), we discussed hiring an outside designer to handle a redesign. Ultimately, we did everything inhouse (except for printing), saving significant costs. We solicited feedback from both staff and customers, and ensured we had board approval before proceeding with our redesign. We also performed market research, gathering nonprofit newsletters and popular magazines.

For the prototype, we focused solely on design, since all content revision would occur with the premiere issue. The prototype included the following innovations: title, cover template, table of contents, masthead, article categories, headline style, typeface, colors, footers, photograph shapes and styles, and pull quotes. We used full bleed throughout the magazine, taking more advantage of color. For consistency of branding, we named the magazine after the same title as our recognizable theme line: Enrich your life.

Progress

We have received national recognition for our magazine. In October 2009, we received a Platinum PR Awards 2009 Honorable Mention in the external publications category.

Internally, we have also received enthusiastic reviews throughout our library system, with library managers, directors of departments, and others telling us how much they love the new title and look of Enrich Your Life. We have also received positive feedback from our external constituents, including a satisfied reader who wrote, “Enrich Your Life is a giant step forward from Library Matters. Easier to read, colorful and informative, Enrich Your Life is also fun to read.”

One of the best indicators of how well our publication is increased circulation: copies are moving quickly through the libraries. While we try to provide each library with ample copies for their public, we consistently receive calls for additional copies.

We are producing a magazine that is far superior to our previous version for a minor increase in cost. We are keeping our customers better informed of all the benefits of Queens Library, and are reaching more readers than ever.