At the risk of sounding like I’m bragging, I knew this was coming when I wrote The Revolutionary Library in April of 2011, and again in August with The Physics of Your Library Brand. I just didn’t know where it would break out or exactly when.
A library no more . . . Idea Exchange is born. Library rebranding is underway in Cambridge according to the Cambridge Times reporter Bill Jackson in his article last Thursday, February 20. The Cambridge Public Library – Art Gallery • Library • Community Center – in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada was established in 1973 by combining the separate libraries of Galt, Preston and Hespeler with a history over 100 years at that time. In 1992 renovation and expansion of the Library & Gallery in Galt included new space to house a climate controlled art gallery, a studio and greatly enlarged children’s facilities. Additional expansions over the years have created the multipurpose entity that exists today.
I’d like to say it’s an evolution,” said chief executive officer Greg Hayton. “About three years ago, we started using the slogan Ideas Unlimited. About that time we also began to take a careful look at the service provided.
“As you know, the advent of e-books, the rise of Google, all these electronic sources and services and means of conveying information have changed the approach that people take to get their information.” [Emphasis added.]
Hayton said the library board felt the need to expand services and has begun to develop much broader programming for children and adults while making a “huge effort” to integrate art as a central component.
“It’s not a separate thing sticking out on the side anymore,” he explained. “It’s central to what we do.
“Being stimulated by art is as valid as being stimulated by something you read in a book, coming to a program or hearing a concert we have,” Hayton continued.
“That led us to think we should look for a new way of presenting these changes that we’re making to the public and that led first of all to the slogan Ideas Unlimited. The second and last stage of that evolution is to do a rebranding, which removes the terms library and gallery from the terminology that we use and replace all of it under one umbrella called Idea Exchange.” [Emphasis added.]
Mayor Doug Craig thinks it’s appealing.
“It’s bringing in a new demographic of individuals other than people like myself who are part of a generation that has traditionally seen libraries as book repositories,” he said. “They’ve now become places where events take place, where people get together, where ideas are exchanged.” [Emphasis added.]
“In this case, the library has chosen to follow a rebranding exercise to help strengthen and promote its image.” [Christy Arnold, spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport]
The terms library and gallery will no longer be used by the Idea Exchange. [Emphasis added.]
Let me reiterate my comments from almost three years ago. “There is only one certainty regarding libraries in the future – they will not remain the same as they were in the past. … The LIBRARY brand must change. It is no longer BOOKS. Libraries need to actively market their changes to cause a change of perception among library customers – and the public in general – to be competitive in the marketplace.”
Two articles from August 2011 provide emphasis for the point of changing the LIBRARY image, just by changing the name and redefining the priorities to address community needs as Cambridge has done. A third article emphasizes the importance of detaching the term LIBRARY from the physical building.
• Don’t call it a library: Stevenson debuts new information center about Chicago area Stevenson High School’s new “Information and Learning Center”.
• Now’s time for library with benefits about Carson City, NV efforts to create a new “Knowledge and Discovery Center”.
• When “Library” Is Not an Action but an Old Building –A TTW Guest Post by Dr. Troy Swanson in which he reiterates; “This concern was captured by Rick Anderson in his editorial when he said, “Eventually the term ‘library’ becomes an honorific attached to a building, rather than a meaningful designation for what happens inside it.” (Journal of Academic Librarianship July 2011,37:4, p. 290)
How can the library re-invent itself and change its brand to survive in the 21st Century technology and information marketplace? How can we apply physics to library rebranding in order to move the library’s position in the information and community center marketplace?
• Each library must start with its own local library brand marketing campaign – such as “Likenomics” & Library Marketing.
• Every access point for customers to interact with a library should be a unique experience – unlike typical LIBRARY experiences – such as Digital Discovery – A New 21st Century Library Skill .
• Every library must begin to overcome the stereotypical LIBRARY perception by becoming MORE – such as The 21st Century Library is More: and other suggestions in several Blog posts that followed.
• Re-brand your local library on an incremental scale by creating “a portfolio of brands or maybe new brands for new ventures” – such as new logos for library programs that do NOT include the word LIBRARY.
• On a regional level, library consortium must conduct marketing campaigns that change the LIBRARY brand to something other than BOOK.
• On a national level, library associations must conduct marketing campaigns that change the LIBRARY brand to something other than BOOK.
• Re-brand professional publications, logos and events without the word LIBRARY.
2014 is long past time when libraries should have been responding to the change in the Information Age operating environment – if they have any hope of being relevant to their community.