Library, library, library: the power of social media

By: Lien Brusselmans

June 25, 2012

How about starting this week with a positive story?

In July 2011 Troy, Michigan was forced to close down its library due to the financial crisis. Calculations showed that a small tax increase of 0,7% was enough to save the library. Unfortunately an anti-tax group started a campaign against this idea, focusing on “taxes, taxes, taxes” rather than what this was all about: saving the local library.

It became clear the library could need some help. That’s why the book-lovers decided to form a group of their own. The core of their campaign? A Book Burning Party.

Yard signs all around town, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, ebay… The campaign was omnipresent, not in the least because of the shocked reactions.

People started debating the merits of libraries, the campaign gained national and international coverage and even made it to the city council meeting. That’s when the initiators revealed their true mission:

Should I say more? People loved it. The buzz started all over again and the campaign proved to be successful: they had changed the conversation from “taxes, taxes, taxes” back to what it was all about: the library. This became even more clear on voting day: the library won by a landslide.