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Amnesty Campaign

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Amnesty Campaign

Los Angeles Public Library, Calif.

Communicating the Library’s Value | 2017

Innovation Summary

The Los Angeles Public Library created its “LAPL Misses You” amnesty campaign to pardon patrons with overdue books or unpaid fines. The primary objectives were to recover overdue materials, generate goodwill and increase library use by allowing people to clear fines and use their library cards again.

Problem Statement

The library implemented its amnesty campaign to address the needs of both the community and the library. “LAPL Misses You” —launched near Valentine’s Day—took a lighthearted approach to recovering overdue items and to welcoming back patrons whose library access had been blocked. With slogans like “Nothing can keep us apart (not even late fees),” the campaign stressed the importance of reuniting books with shelves and community members with the library.


Innovation

Highlighting the positives, clever messages like “Our love is blind (to overdue books)” emphasized the library’s open-arms approach and made the amnesty program wildly popular. The library utilized several elements to spread the word in English and Spanish: printed materials, screensavers on the library’s 2,700 computers, a web page, social media, display ads on city buses, PSAs on LA’s television channel and several radio stations, emails to patrons, messages on check-out receipts and press releases.


Progress

The amnesty campaign generated stories in more than 20 media outlets, including local and national print, television, radio and blogs. Altogether, LAPL pardoned more than 13,000 patrons whose library privileges had been frozen. Amnesty resulted in 64,633 overdue items returned, including 4,115 lost items; 13,701 patron cards unblocked; 7,297 new library cards issued; and $682,936.99 in fines and fees waived. As for the goodwill “LAPL Misses You” generated with patrons and the community, that’s priceless.