By Janet Stupak, Special to The Republican | Springfield, MA (January 20, 2016)—Since 1885, access to library resources in the City of Springfield has been entirely free to all. Changes in the format of available materials show a continuous march of newer and more technologically advanced items – from lending phonograph records to cassettes to CDs, VHS tapes to DVDs to Blu-Ray, print books to audiobooks to downloadable e-books. Always the library has kept up with and sometimes led that forward movement. Experienced library employees continuously learn new skills to be able to help our customers find resources they want and need for their success. Our diverse services – informational, cultural and community related are provided for the benefit of the public. The 729,000 visitors entering our doors last year alone borrowed 633,000 items; nearly 58,000 children, teens and adults attended our 3,800 free programs; computer users totaled over 128,000 people.
As much as we change we stay the same. 60 years ago John A. Humphry (library director from 1948-1964) said, “A public library is an essential force in a democracy. If a public library lives up to its responsibility, it helps keep the people informed so that they can make intelligent decisions in a world that becomes more complex with the passage of each day.” These words are still true today. Our mission has always been one of public service, enticing visitors in with tag lines such as “You Belong Here” or “A Place for You” or “A Brighter Future for Springfield Today.”
Our future is a bit brighter as a result of the generosity of an award-winning local company, TSM Design, and its leader, Nancy Urbschat. In June 2014 current library director Molly Fogarty invited Nancy to facilitate a marketing conversation with library employees. “I prompted them to tell me stories about their work. I was blown away by their level of commitment to making sure their patrons (customers) had what they needed. January 2015 marked our agency’s 30th anniversary. We decided to do something nice for a nonprofit. We all agreed on the Springfield City Library. And we knew what we could do: Rebrand the library and begin to reshape the library’s narrative.
“It’s been a real joy to work with one of Springfield’s most important institutions. Most people would be amazed to know that last year the library served more than 700,000 visitors. That number still astounds me. I believe the community needs to be more vocal in its support of the library. It is one of our most valuable assets.”
A brand is one of the most valuable assets of a company and it must be thoroughly crafted to make sure it properly represents that organization. A brand is the “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers,” according the American Marketing Association. TSM Design has given us a modern dynamic brand logo and fresh color scheme, reflecting the narrative discovered through a number of meetings with library staff at all levels as well as a representative from the library commission: “It’s important for you to know what to expect from your library. No matter who you are, where you come from, or what you’re looking for, you have come to the right place. The library is your place of connection. If you’re not sure where to look or what to look for, don’t worry. That’s why we’re here. After all, the library is yours. All you have to do is ask.”
According to TSM Design, our logo “reinforces connection, balance, and guidance, reflecting the ebb and flow of the seeking and finding that the library facilitates.” The library received an $11,750 grant from the Davis Foundation to introduce and promote our new brand.
So come check out our new look on Thursday, Jan. 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Central Library Rotunda, 220 State St., Springfield. Join Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, TSM Design, the Davis Foundation, Springfield City Library staff, patrons and visitors for a “brand new” reception! Enjoy free refreshments and exchange your old library card for one with our fresh look. Bring your electronic device and our knowledgeable staff will show you how to download e-books, plus receive personalized book recommendations, and much more.
The Springfield City Library column appears monthly in Neighborhoods Plus. For information about the library and its programs, call Janet Stupak, community relations coordinator, at (413) 263-6828, ext. 422, or visit springfieldlibrary.org.