Save Our Libraries campaign

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What is the Save Our Libraries campaign?

sol-pacThe Save Our Libraries campaign was launched to educate and persuade voters in the Hazleton Area School District to approve a referendum that would dedicate library funding as a separate tax on property tax bills in the three counties the library system serves. The Hazleton Area Public Library is the library of more than 70,000 residents of the 16-municipality Hazleton Area School District. The main library in Hazleton and four branches in the Valley, Freeland, McAdoo and Nuremberg serve the informational, educational and recreational needs of all district residents.

Project and Goals

The Hazleton Area School District wanted to separate library funding from the district’s general budget. To do so, the district needed voter approval of a referendum, which asked if a dedicated tax for the library should be enacted. The Hazleton Area Public Library had previously worked with Precision Design on the library’s “Renewing A Classic” capital campaign. Leaders of the library’s Political Action Committee again approached our agency for help in getting the referendum passed.

Challenges

  • To develop a message on the importance of local libraries and their relevance in today’s high-tech society.
  • To reach voters with the message and educate them, ensuring their “yes” vote in the election.
  • To combat the perception that the referendum would increase taxes.
  • To create a campaign that would reach people throughout three counties.
  • To get people to the polls to vote in a primary election with no major local, county, state or national contests being held in that election cycle.

Solutions

  • Precision Design mounted a full-scale campaign to ensure passage of the referendum in just two months. We met weekly with library officials to guide them through all the steps we advised during the course of the campaign.
  • We created a name for the campaign – “Save Our Libraries” – and developed an identity that was carried through all campaign materials.
  • To promote the cause, we designed and produced printed materials that included posters, yard signs, brochures and bookmarks. The bookmarks, which were available throughout the campaign, were also distributed to voters as they entered polling places throughout the Hazleton area. We also recommended to library officials that they encourage supporters to write letters to the editor to advocate a “yes” vote on the referendum.
  • All campaign materials directed viewers to the website we designed, where we provided more information on the message as well as ways for them to get involved.
  • To take advantage of the growing power of social media, we created a Facebook page for Save Our Libraries, which included news articles, daily posts and more. Many fans shared the Facebook page and posts with their friends, enabling us to reach an even broader audience.
  • We leveraged our media connections to secure billboard placements, newspaper advertisements and a television show at no cost to the library. As Precision Design felt strongly that the library is a community asset, we donated the space for placement of posters in the Laurel Mall.

Results

  • On Tuesday, April 24, more than 60 percent of pollgoers voted “yes” on the measure.
  • Many voters noted they had come out specifically to vote in favor of the referendum because they had seen campaign materials and believed in the message.

Responses to the Campaign

"We never could have done it without Precision Design. Thank you for another professional and classy presentation to the public. The message was acknowledged and our efforts succeeded. Thank you also for keeping us energized and positive!"

- Jeffrey Gicking, chairman, Save Our Libraries Political Action Committee

Call 570-455-3533 to learn how we can help.