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External Marketing Campaign

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External Marketing Campaign

Salt Lake City Public Library, Utah

Communicating the Library’s Value | 2020

Innovation Summary

Until now, we've never done a full scale ad campaign. Work began in 2019, with the first phase rolled out in Spring 2020 at the beginning of COVID-19 closures. With this campaign, we're using photos to communicate that the library offers more than books, and foster a sense of community and discovery. Tactics include banners, web ads and transit ads.

Problem Statement

Polls show that awareness of the library is high and favorable, but there is little awareness of non-traditional library services. Main challenges are visually showing the relevancy of the library, a limited budget and adapting for COVID-19 closures only weeks before the campaign launch. We pivoted our photos to be COVID-friendly, as the first tactic was a large transit buy. We incorporated the URL into a sub-tagline, “Your City Library, 24/7," and focused on promoting e-books and audiobooks.


We staff a full-time photographer to use high-quality photos in our marketing. For authenticity, patrons and staff served as models. We call the campaign “(Blank) More," and chose Play, Connect, Listen, and Dream More to exemplify what we offer. Ads show a variety of ages, situations and diversity. We set up nine photoshoots with different interpretations of each word. For instance, the images for “Dream More” are a ballerina in the stacks, a musician recording in the Creative Lab and a girl in a homemade cardboard rocket.


Our ads appear throughout the city. The anticipated outcome is to increase awareness of library services beyond books. We want more people to visit our buildings, attend programs and use online services, but we also want non-patrons to understand that libraries are essential and add value to the community. An outcome that wasn’t part of the original intent, but became necessary, is to continue to hold public support even though we did not circulate materials for three months and had our doors closed for just over six months.