Make Space for Reading: Animated Reading Experiences
Kent Libraries “Get Kent Reading”

What is the aim of this project?

As part of a county-wide campaign to ‘Get Kent Reading’ we wanted to trial some slightly ‘braver’ advertising to non-users within specific audiences.
To do this we did a trial in two rural areas in Kent called Tenterden and Headcorn where issues and memberships were in significant decline. We researched the gaps in audiences at the libraries in those two towns using mosaic profiling tools and our internal data. Our aim was to trial a series of advertising campaigns to those groups whilst monitoring the visitor numbers at both libraries to see if any impact was noticeable.
We identified young children, older teenagers and young adults as being priorities for the two libraries in question.

What did you do?

We then created adverts we felt would motivate our target audiences – or at the very least get their attention. As you can see we wanted to focus on the outcomes that reading can give people – escapism, adventure, freedom, excitement etc. – whilst making the visuals eye-catching and different to the more conservative approach we would traditionally have taken. For young adults we also wanted the adverts to focus on some of the digital offers we have as we know from non-user research that many a) don’t have time to visit the library and b) don’t know about the downloadable offers we have.
As budgets were limited the collateral consisted of posters at carefully selected community areas (i.e. for children it was nurseries, schools, dentists, doctors, football clubs etc.). The biggest spend was on large billboard style posters at the two train stations which are situated in the town centres and serve young commuters as they head to London. We also did leaflet drops that featured the visuals along with some special offers to new housing estates in the areas.

What was the outcome?

After around 9 months of the campaign we recorded significant results at Staplehurst Library – where visitor figures and issues increased during the trial. We noticed less impressive results at Headcorn. We feel that this was due to a number of factors but mainly the fact that the library there is not in a very accessible location (Staplehurst is close to shops and parking whereas Headcorn is not visible and more ‘off the beaten track’) and has limited opening hours – making the offer much less attractive.
Overall, as a campaign to specifically increase reading and issues in the trial areas, we had most success with Staplehurst. The difficulty, as with any printed campaign, is around being able to directly attribute the advertising to the statistics (i.e. would an increase in visitors at Staplehurst have happened anyway?). We did had some verbal feedback from new customers who said they had seen the adverts in town, so we know it had an impact on some – but for future campaigns more work on this would be ideal.