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Using Data to Engage Underserved Communities

Wednesday, December 7 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

In 2021, the Oak Park Public Library (OPPL) in Illinois developed its first “Strategic Plan Against Racism.” One component of this new plan is reaching underserved people in their community. But how could they reach their community if they did not understand who made up its members?

The first step in understanding the make-up of their community was looking at the data available to them via Savannah, their community engagement software, and understanding the community’s context in Oak Park.

With this data, the library created a multi-channel, integrated marketing campaign that was specifically designed to reach different segments of the community that historically have been marginalized. Each campaign component had targeted messages and a call to action to raise awareness outlined in the “Strategic Plan Against Racism.” In this webinar, attendees will learn how the campaign used a variety of marketing channels, a consistent message, and repetition—resulting in re-engagement of cardholders and new cardholder sign-ups at pre-pandemic levels.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

    • Plan outreach to target audiences in their service area;
    • Develop “people-first” marketing and strategies; and
    • Measure campaign outcomes.

Presented by :: Kate Jacobs, Jodi Kolo 

Kate Jacobs (they/them) is the senior client relationship manager at OrangeBoy Inc., a company dedicated to help communities thrive through our work with high impact libraries, via managing the customer lifecycle. Kate spends their days crunching data and analyzing where libraries can make the most impact, with a focus on geographic and demographic research toward underserved communities. They have three cats, and spend their days gardening in Columbus, OH.

Jodi Kolo (she/her) is the director of communications at the Oak Park (IL) Public Library. In this role, she is responsible for leading communications and marketing efforts for the $10.3 million public organization with 120+ employees. As one of eight directors, she contributes to strategic direction and measurement of impact at the library. Her four-member team uses storytelling, integrated marketing campaigns, and online advertising to increase community awareness of the library’s public good through library services, resources, and overall social infrastructure. Jodi also works closely with community stakeholder groups such as the library board of trustees, local government agencies, and nonprofit entities to turn outward. Jodi has worked at the library since 2012 and has lived in Oak Park since 2007.



Wednesday, December 7
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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