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Magazines > Marketing Library Services > May/June 2018

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MLS - Marketing Library Services
Vol. 32 No. 3 — May/June 2018

Celebrating the Winners of the 2018 IFLA BibLibre International Marketing Award
By Kathy Dempsey

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), based in The Hague, Netherlands, calls itself “the global voice of the library and information profession.” It has more than 1,400 members in 140-plus countries. Each year, IFLA’s Management and Marketing Section holds a contest that “honors organizations which implement creative, results-oriented marketing projects or campaigns,” and the results of the 15th IFLA BibLibre International Marketing Award competition are in.

And the 2018 Winners Are …

This year, the first-place winner is the New York Public Library (NYPL) for its Youth Fine Amnesty campaign. This effort aimed to target and reactivate 478,000 patrons with unpaid late fees, including the 196,000 youths whose accounts were blocked because of fines.

In October 2017, the NYPL, along with New York City’s Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library, offered a one-time fine amnesty deal for all patrons age 17 and younger. The libraries publicized the deal with a multipronged outreach campaign that included direct mail targeted to young patrons, printed material in a variety of languages, a media relations scheme, and well-planned messaging. With 41,000 young people reactivating their cards, the project was considered a success. (

The second-place winner is Invercargill City Libraries in New Zealand for its Keeping Up With the Librarians magazine cover spoof project. The original Facebook post read, “It has been 10 years since the Kardashians first graced our screens. To celebrate, our social media team decided to have a totally impromptu, definitely not planned, photo-shoot.” The team re-created a semi-risqué photo of six Kardashian/Jenner women that had originally run on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter, and, according to IFLA, it became a “social media marketing sensation.” The goal was to connect with a broader, younger audience to create a sense of relevance for libraries in the digital age via pop-culture references and humor. The awareness campaign had more than 1 million Likes, 12,000 reactions, and 5,000-plus shares around the world. (, and see the original cover that was spoofed at the bottom of the following article:

The third-place winner is the National and University Library (NSK) in Zagreb, Croatia, for its Greetings From Zagreb project. The goal was to promote NSK’s digital library in an innovative way by creating a digital cultural product that combined heritage (old postcards of Zagreb), technology, and tourism. The project included developing the first mobile app by a library in Croatia along with a web portal. The campaign was aimed at locals, tourists, and the general public, most of whom were not acquainted with the library’s digitization projects. (http://pozdra,

The top winner gets 2,000 euros (about $2,450); second place gets 1,000 euros (about $1,220); and third place gets 500 euros (about $610); all monetary awards must be used to further their marketing efforts. In addition, the top two winners have their representatives’ airfare, lodging, and registration costs paid so they can attend the IFLA World Library and Information Congress/84th IFLA Conference and General Assembly, which will take place in August in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Entries and Honorable Mentions

This year’s contest drew a total of 56 submissions from around the world; 35 from academic libraries and 21 from public. China sent in the most, with 23; Russia sent five; India sent four; and Australia sent three. These countries all sent one or two entries: Germany, the Philippines, France, Nigeria, Pakistan, New Zealand, Egypt, Denmark, Costa Rica, Poland, Croatia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Sweden, Canada, and the U.S.

In addition to the top three winners, IFLA’s award jury added seven honorable mentions to complete a top 10 list:

Canada: University of British Columbia Library
BC Historical Newspapers

Germany: ZBW–Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
Image Campaign for ZBW Economists

China: Guangzhou Library
Guangzhou New Year Poetry Festival

Egypt: Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Bibliotheca Alexandrina Information for Africa

China: Chongqing Library
Night of Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Russia: Novosibirsk State Regional Scientific Library
Library on the Grass

Philippines: Metro-Dagupan Colleges Library
Words on the Walls

The IFLA BibLibre International Marketing Award is sponsored by BibLibre (, a French company that supports open source software solutions and more for libraries. It offers library marketers a window to see what their peers around the world are accomplishing.

Kathy Dempsey is a marketing consultant at Libraries Are Essential ( and the author of The Accidental Library Marketer. She’s been the editor of MLS for 24 years. Her email address is
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