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KCPL and Knox County Schools team up on Summer Reading Program PSA's

Knox County Public Library System
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Innovation Leader: Mary-Pom Claiborne, Director of Marketing, mclaiborne@knoxlib.org

Problem Statement

Knox County Public Library is extremely underfunded for a system its size. In order to achieve better success within its community, the library has developed important partnerships to expand its reach. For years, the Public Library and Knox County Schools operated in tandem, but without much interaction. Recently, important inroads between the two organizations have been forged. With summer reading loss being a critical issue for returning students in the Fall, Knox County Schools proactively worked with Knox County Public Library to engage as many students as possible in the library’s summer reading programs.

Innovation

While PSA’s for summer reading are not inherently innovative, the approach to produce them with Knox County Schools as a partner is novel. The Superintendent of Knox County Schools directed his communications department to work with the Library to develop a message directed at middle school boys who are at the highest risk of summer reading slide. By partnering, the message was much stronger. Summer reading was elevated to a more critical level when actively endorsed by the school system.

Progress

Participation in Knox County Public Library’s summer reading increased by very solid numbers last year. The children’s program increased by 11% but the big news was the teen readers increased by 44%. It’s difficult to say that the PSA was a direct cause of this increase, however, it was certainly an influence.