Gale Names Auraria Library Winner of the ‘Out-of-the-Box’ Marketing Contest

Library Skates its Way to Victory with Unique Campaign

Farmington Hills, Mich., Nov. 13, 2012 — Gale, part of Cengage Learning and a leading publisher of research and reference resources for libraries, schools and businesses, today announced that Auraria Library in Denver, Colorado is the winner of the Out-of-the-Box Marketing Contest, launched in September at R-Squared – The Risk and Reward Conference. Auraria Library will receive $5,000 from Gale to make its marketing idea a reality.

“At Cengage Learning we took a risk by supporting a radically different type of conference and our reward has been seeing all of these amazing ideas developed,” said Nader Qaimari, senior vice president of marketing, Cengage Learning. “We were impressed with all of the submissions, but we felt that Auraria Library’s campaign really connected with its core audience in a unique way.”

In line with the immersive spirit of the R-Squared Conference, where librarians learned how to reinvent themselves and strengthen their role as vital parts of their communities, Gale asked conference attendees to develop out-of-the-box marketing ideas for their library. Submissions were evaluated on their originality, whether they were exciting, different and risky, as well as the actionability of the idea. Auraria Library’s campaignBooks and Boards was selected as the winner.

Auraria Library, a tri-institutional library serving three separate institutions of higher education in downtown Denver, wanted to create a campaign that would resonate with their active urban students. The “Books and Boards” campaign does that by leveraging Colorado’s action sports culture, specifically skateboarding – it’s one of the top three states for skateboard parks per capita and the sport has exploded on the Auraria campus. Using the money from Gale, the library will purchase 200-300 professionally-built skateboards. The skateboard graphic will be determined through a graphic design contest, which will create a buzz about the project well before the boards arrive on campus. The boards will be given away to high school students, incoming freshman and at other campus events.

“We are so excited that Gale has recognized our innovative campaign – to use skateboarding as an opportunity to rebrand and reconnect with our active students,” said Joseph Sanchez, instructional designer who wrote, directed and skateboarded in “Books and Boards.” “We wanted to promote a radically different image of the library and with this contest money we’re going to be able to do that.”

Five finalists were also recognized for their unique and risky campaigns including:

  • Cedar Rapids Public Library “Brain Drain” – Leveraging the popularity of a local famers’ market, the library proposed covering storm drains in the area with images of children swirling down drains promoting the slogan “Avoid Brain Drain – Visit the Library” with a URL for a special landing page.
  • Texas A&M University LibrariesCome Ride With Us – They proposed buying a “super” golf cart to not only connect the six libraries on their campus, but to use it as a tool to engage with students on many levels – delivering books to them, driving them to class, participating in “Aggie” sporting events, riding in parades and generally getting to their students wherever they are.
  • Library of Virginia “Marketing to a Captive Audience” – To pique the curiosity of people unaware of the library, they proposed placing custom printed toilet paper in public restrooms of nearby colleges, museums, hotels and restaurants. The paper would include quotes from the “Wrong Side of History,” teasers about upcoming library programs, QR codes to the LVA Mobile App and other digital resources.
  • Boyd County Public Library – “Seeking Lost Love” By sending out parodies of personal ads the library hoped to target an audience of younger singles who often don’t use the library at this life stage. Tactics included creating magnetic decals that say “For a Good Time Call” with the library’s logo and phone number and place them in bathrooms of local bars, clubs and restaurants; placing personal ads in the classifieds for “Library seeking New Readers;” and creating accounts to match readers’ interests with compatible books.
  • Springfield-Greene County Library District We Speak Your Language – In an effort to make patrons more comfortable using the library, they proposed moving away from the Dewey Decimal system to a new classification in which the library would have “thematic” neighborhoods. Using temporary graffiti to “tag” their local neighborhoods with codes that coordinated with the old Dewey system, they hoped to foster discussion among community members and encourage them to “break the code.”

For more information on the winning campaign or any of the finalists, visit the contest website here or contact Kristina Massari at [email protected].

About Cengage Learning and Gale

Cengage Learning is a leading provider of innovative teaching, learning and research solutions for the academic, professional and library markets worldwide. Gale, part of Cengage Learning, serves the world’s information and education needs through its vast and dynamic content pools, which are used by students and consumers in their libraries, schools and on the Internet. It is best known for the accuracy, breadth and convenience of its data, addressing all types of information needs – from homework help to health questions to business profiles – in a variety of formats. For more information, visit or