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Teen Card Design Contest

Pierce County Library System
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Innovation Leader: Judy T Nelson, Director of Youth Services, jnelson@piercecountylibrary.org

Problem Statement

Teenagers make up approximately 10% percent of the population of Pierce County. Pierce County Library System wanted to engage and involve teens with their library and see it as more than a way to get their homework done. This is crucial to sustaining PCLS’s growth and building future library supporters.

Innovation

PCLS decided to find a way to make teens’ library cards something they could identify with. PCLS offers several card designs that individuals may choose from, including a Spanish card and a targeted for the preschool set. In 2009 PCLS created a contest for teenagers (ages 12-18) to design a library card. Online voters selected the winning entry and a PCLS graphic designer made the design into an autographed library card that any age customer could request. The card was released to the public late 2009 and marketed to teens and all ages throughout the 2010, during the annual library card drive, school visits, and local teen programs and activities. The teen-designed card has a limited time of availability—two years, thus becoming a collector’s item. Then, this year, in 2011, teens will compete to design another card.

Progress

A total of 110 teenagers submitted entries and 1240 voted online for the winning design. The second contest will take place in late spring 2011. In 18 months almost 30,000 cards have been handed out and an additional 5,000 were ordered to last until the new card design is released in September 2011. PCLS will track the number of overall cards issued and the number of teens who trade in their old cards for the new design.