May 24, 2022

NPR Airs Four Minute Segment on OCLC's "Geek the Library" Campaign

The segment (produced by Vermont Public Radio) aired on National Public Radio’s (NPR) All Things Considered Program yesterday.

A splashy new campaign moves to update the image of public libraries. “Geek the Library” isn’t just aimed a patrons but at potential funders. It shows off the many services libraries offer to many kinds of patrons.

From the Transcript:

NINA KECK: Most of us can remember a song or a jingle our libraries used to get us to come in and check out more books. The Online Computer Library Center is a nonprofit organization that helps libraries around the world. It says what libraries really need is a marketing campaign designed to promote better funding. So with more than $6 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the center hired advertising giant Leo Burnett.

Charley Wickman, who was part of that creative team, says, first, they had to blast through all the stereotypes.

Mr. CHARLEY WICKMAN (Executive Vice President, Leo Burnett): Oh, a library. Well, it’s that quiet place, and the newspapers are on those long wooden poles, and there’s rows and rows of books and whatever. They kind of have this thing in their mind.

KECK: To jar those thoughts, Wickman says they paired sophisticated photographs of library patrons with a quirky catchphrase: Geek the Library.

Mr. WICKMAN: You might put geek and library together as, yeah, the library is a place where, like, geeky people go. But when we broke that mental synapse and said, no, no, no, no, the library is a place where cool people go to get their geek on about whatever it is they geek on, and that’s the thing that made it jump off billboards. That’s the thing that made it jump out of posters. That’s the thing that made it change the way people thought about the library, and it got a really quick reaction

Direct to Audio and Transcript

Direct to Geek the Library Web Site

Direct to Full Text: Geek the Library: A Community Awareness Campaign (February, 2011)

Geek the Library, a community awareness campaign designed to highlight the value of public libraries and inform the public about critical library funding issues, positively changed community perceptions about libraries in a pilot, according to a new OCLC membership report. The report, Geek the Library: A Community Awareness Campaign, offers a comprehensive overview of the pilot campaign completed in 2010.

“The pilot experience confirmed our hope that Geek the Library can not only get people’s attention, but that it can activate an interest in local library funding,” said Cathy De Rosa, global vice president of marketing for OCLC, a nonprofit library cooperative. “The campaign is bold, it’s fun and it gives libraries a unique opportunity to connect with the public and start important library funding conversations.”

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.