Wisconsin Says “Cheese!”

Library Snapshot Day ups awareness

June 1, 2010


Wisconsin Libraries Say Cheese! A Day in Pictures” is part of the ongoing Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries, a statewide effort to create a collective voice for Wisconsin academic, public, school, and special libraries. The campaign focuses on developing and communicating effective messages about the importance of all types of library service in Wisconsin.

Inspired by the successful Snapshot Days held jointly last year by the New Jersey State Library and the New Jersey Library Association, the Wisconsin Library Association and the WLA Foundation created Wisconsin Libraries Say Cheese! as the inspiration to create upbeat, day-in-the-life photo essays that capture the impact of Wisconsin libraries on communities statewide.

The project was the brainchild of the 10-member Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Action Committee composed of librarians and library public relations coordinators from across the state. It linked visual images of Wisconsin libraries in action, spotlighting their value, to an iconic Wisconsin staple—cheese.

Wisconsin Libraries Say Cheese! A Day in Pictures used Flickr to share digital photos that libraries across Wisconsin took on one day during the week of November 1-8, with this Flickr group going live to the public and media November 18.

Once the committee finalized project plans in September, it wasn’t long before the little cheese guy logo began making appearances in libraries statewide—via email and newsletter announcements, postcards mailed to state libraries, statewide press releases, and a special WLA conference program detailing the upcoming event.

By the time Wisconsin Libraries Say Cheese! went live on Flickr, over 100 Wisconsin libraries had posted more than 600 photos.

“The library photos exhibited in the “Say Cheese!” Flickr group are a great way to visually remind Wisconsinites of the variety and wealth of resources, services, programs, and activities their libraries offer them each and every day,” said Lisa Strand, WLA executive director.

Librarians were encouraged to use Wisconsin Libraries Say Cheese! to promote their library through local news media and to participate at the level they felt worked best for them—from simply uploading photos to Flickr to staging fun and creative activities to capture the attention and garner the support of their patrons–like the Cheese Party held for staff and students at Ellsworth Community Schools in Ellsworth, Wisconsin, population 6,500.

Murphy Library at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse used the event to add a little color and excitement to the library’s website. Stefan Smith, outreach librarian, explained, “We adapted the WLA graphic so that our home page showed a little cheese camera person waving and winking, encouraging people to click through to the WLA “Say Cheese” website. I always welcome opportunities to lighten the academic library image and “Say Cheese” was a perfect vehicle for that!”

Encouraged by the positive response from librarians across the state, the Campaign Action Committee members decided to promote a second Wisconsin Libraries Say Cheese! Day in Pictures, scheduled for mid-November of this year. We hope Wisconsin library patrons will be smiling into the camera and saying “Cheese!” for many years to come.

With both the benefit of experience gained from the program launch last year, and having access to the resources on the American Library Association’s website “A Primer for Creating a Library Snapshot Day in Your State or Locality,” Along with Campaign Action Committee members Val Edwards Martha Gammons, Mark Ibach, Leah Liebergen, Kris Stabo, Lisa Strand, Annie Rauh, Lia Vellardita, and Peter Gilbert, chair, I am excited to encourage even more Wisconsin libraries to Say Cheese” in 2010 in an effort to expand public awareness of the value and immeasurable resources all Wisconsin libraries offer to the communities they serve.

PAT ESCHMANN is communications coordinator for the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation.



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