Co-Branding Library Cards to Increase Memberships
San José Public Library, Calif.
San José Public Library partnered with the National Hockey League’s (NHL) San Jose Sharks to promote the value of libraries by co-branding a library card to help increase memberships and build awareness about SJPL services and member benefits. The card announcement led to a series of SJ Sharks contests and programs to attract fans to SJPL.
In 2018, SJPL introduced several fine forgiveness and book replacement programs to remove any barriers to access library services. In order to boost awareness about the access programs to those who may have stayed away from their public library, SJPL developed a marketing strategy that would attract the attention of news media, increase community outreach opportunities to welcome members back and motivate residents to visit the library to get a card and learn about the benefits and services SJPL offers.
Key Elements of Innovation
In 2019, SJPL partnered with the San Jose Sharks to develop an ongoing partnership that included a co-branded library card, social media contests to give away SJ Sharks autographed memorabilia, storytimes featuring SJ Sharks alumni and the team’s mascot and a special author visit with SJ Sharks radio broadcaster Dan Rusanowsky. The goal of the partnership was to attract new and current members to the library and bring awareness to the services and benefits the library offers by connecting SJPL to its local NHL team.
Within the first month the SJ Sharks library card was released, nearly 5,000 cards were issued. The library card announcement secured stories by three local news outlets, including national coverage on the NHL website. On the library’s Twitter and Facebook pages, the SJ Sharks posts that were created to announce the card and partnership attracted a combined total of 169,786 impressions and 6,417 engagements. Since the SJ Sharks co-branded library cards were released in February, nearly 9,000 have been issued to date.