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Reconnecting our libraries with popular culture

The challenge

Civica’s fourth annual Libraries Index is a comprehensive list of Australia and New Zealand’s most borrowed books. This list of stories that Aussies and Kiwis can’t put down, produced in partnership with the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), is published during Library and Information Week. We were tasked with finding a new way of promoting the index to demonstrate that libraries are still important cultural hubs across Australia and New Zealand.

The insight

We discovered a key pattern in the data, with more than one-third of the most borrowed books heading to the big screen. This showed similarities between the tastes of book lovers and movie buffs. Australian stories were particularly popular, with three of the top titles slated for adaptation. This gave us a proof point to demonstrate that libraries are still highly relevant, housing the very stories that influence pop culture.

The strategy

We developed a media release centred on the prevalence of Aussie stories in Hollywood. The release highlighted local novels headed for the big screen including Nine Perfect Strangers, The Dry and Truly Madly Guilty. We pre-recorded Radio Release segments with ALIA spokesperson Sue McKerracher, highlighting the key findings of the Libraries Index. These were featured across national, regional and local community radio broadcasts including ABC Radio National. We also pre-pitched to key media targets and generated two key pieces of print and online coverage in The Sydney Morning Herald. Both stories were syndicated across additional Fairfax publications.

The result

Our story angle helped double the amount of coverage secured by the Libraries Index compared to 2018. We secured 18 pieces of online, print and broadcast coverage with a total reach of 36.8 million. Most importantly, we provided a fresh perspective on the relevance of libraries. We also highlighted Civica’s commitment to providing these libraries with the technology needed to keep pace in an increasingly digital world.