New library key tags will be available in envelopes to be placed in the Thursday (Oct. 3) edition of the Nanaimo Daily News.
Approximately 19,000 of the free key tags, which clients of the Vancouver Island Regional Library can use instead of regular library cards, will be placed in the newspaper that day as part of a partnership between the Glacier Media Group, the VIRL and Canadian Tire.
Overall, approximately 160,000 library key tags are being distributed across the Island after staff from Glacier Media Group newspapers began contacting corporate sponsors on the Island last spring to help with the initiative by offering them advertising on one side of the new key tags.
Glacier also initiated an ad campaign through its Island newspapers promoting VIRL and the fact that the libraries offer much more than just books. Canadian Tire offered to be the official corporate sponsor in the Nanaimo area, and the key tags that will be distributed will feature a Canadian Tire promotion on one side and a library card on the other with a bar code to check out books and other library material.
VIRL spokeswoman Jennifer Windecker said the concept of the new library key tags was an "amazing" idea that is being enthusiastically received by her organization, the fourth-largest library system in British Columbia.
"It's a win-win for everyone involved, in that it helps bring people into our libraries and helps companies advertise," she said.
A visit to a Nanaimo branch of the library last spring by Hugh Nicholson prompted the initiative. Nicholson, publisher of the Daily News, division manager for Glacier Media's Vancouver Island Newspaper Group, and a lifelong fan of libraries, asked the attendant at the desk for a library key tag instead of a regular library card to access materials.
He was told the VIRL had no budget for the convenient tags that are designed to hang from card holders' key chains.
Nicholson then approached library officials and proposed to offer VIRL the opportunity to have 160,000 key tags for its members all over the Island at no cost.
The offer was graciously accepted. "We felt it was important to involve as many advertisers to assist in this campaign and not just rely on one," Nicholson said.
"We wanted to open doors retailers and other advertisers to work with the VIRL on other projects down the road. I've always enjoyed public libraries so I'm more than happy that we were able to help them out with this initiative."
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