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Read to Me Take 2

Toledo-Lucas County Public Library
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Problem Statement

According to a 2010 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids only spend 25 minutes a day reading. “Time spent with every medium other than movies and print increased over the past five years: 47 minutes a day increase for music/audio, 38 minutes for TV content, 27 minutes for computers, and 24 minutes for video games.” The most challenging audience to reach within that segment is teens. Since music and dance are a huge influence among that age group, we decided to get 13-to 18-years-olds involved by taking our popular “Read to Me” jingle to a new level. We saw the natural connection to encourage teens to become reading role models for younger children, and we hope that they will also see themselves as readers.


The Library’s Marketing Department developed an exciting partnership with WTOL-Channel 11, our local CBS affiliate and Owens Community College. The project, dubbed “Read to Me Take 2,” gave local teens a chance to try out to be in the next Library television commercial. Channel 11 ran commercials on air and on their Web site, WTOL.com, to encourage teens to come to the Owens Performing Arts Center on Saturday, February 19 to audition. Several Call to Action commercials were filmed to promote the contest. Former Toledo resident and Disney Star Alyson Stoner agreed to be in one of the spots where she tells local youth, “I started in Toledo, come on – you can too!” WTOL and the Library worked with Alyson (on-line) in Hollywood to film her segment of the commercial. During the audition, contestants were required to sing the Library’s Read to Me jingle in front of a panel of three judges. Some teens even chose to dance or bring their guitars. Viewers were then able to see the auditions on WTOL.com and select their favorite performers. The next Read to Me commercials, featuring the winning participants, will air in mid-April. The partnership has received a lot of attention by mirroring the TV shows American Idol and Glee. Social Media was used throughout the contest: buzz chatter on Twitter before and during auditions, postings on the Library’s Facebook page and Library Web site.


Our media partner, WTOL-Channel 11 reported a total of 410,706 page views/impressions to the contestant portion of their Web site with 102,917 votes cast for the contest! Local high schools even posted messages to VOTE for members of their student body on the marquee signs outside their buildings. We are now in the process of partnering with a local musician and choreographers to produce a Hip Hop, 50s style and Acoustic-Pop versions of the folksy children’s song. Teens will practice, record and perform for commercials to be produced in late April, 2011.