Friday, 16 May 2014

Use Libraries and Learn Stuff

Quick link to the online store:

Quick link to the logo picture: Higher quality ... Lower quality ... Twitter icon


A few years ago now, I adapted (as many have done) the Keep Calm And Carry On World War Two slogan. Parodies and variations of the original were still popping up all the time, much to the anguish of hipster colleagues who, as usual, declared this meme "over" 20 minutes before it had begun. I'm not sure why the 'Use Libraries and Learn Stuff' thing formed in my head, but it just seems logical and as simple as you can get.
  1. Go into a library.
  2. Use the services in it.
  3. And you will learn stuff.
It's that simple. I stuck it on Flickr, then forgot about it.

After a while, I noticed various people were running with it on online services, such as Tumblr, Flickr and Twitter, and on their websites. The odd request came in to do something with it, so a few variations for use as e.g. icons on peoples twitter accounts, were knocked up. Then some more requests came in, for posters (especially) and cards. A few of these were from library campaigners, and it turned out they'd been printing off copies of the logo and making protest signs with them.

But this caused a problem in having low-quality printouts, as well as burning through the red ink cartridge of their inkjet printers at alarming rates. So I knocked up a Zazzle and a Cafepress online store, and did the fiddling about to make some products for sale. The Cafepress ones were disappointing in terms of quality, so I closed that online store down. The Zazzle stuff was noticeably better quality, especially posters and cards, so I kept that running.

Here's what you get if you bought 20 cards and envelopes from the store; I'm pleased with the sturdiness and print quality of these:

Use Libraries and Learn Stuff cards

I sent off some cards in Christmas 2010 to various politicians connected with libraries (more to annoy or guilt-trip them), as well as some people in the media. No responses except a nice thank you from Jon Snow who presents Channel Four news.

I also sent one to Buckingham Palace in the extremely remote hope of seeing it on the mantlepiece behind the Queen when she did her Christmas Day speech. No such luck. Oh well.

Interest died down, and sales went to less than one a month. Until a while later, when interest oddly started again. A look at the referrers for the Flickr pictures revealed that some traffic was due to the rise of Pinterest, and people putting the Use Libraries ... logo on their Pinterest erm thing (wall? pinboard? virtual pretty space?).

I dusted off the Zazzle store - it's still clunky, visually unappealing, and has an interface that's a nightmare, but that's what they provide - and added a few more products. Thankfully, these look a heck of a lot better in real life than in the store. The proceeds go mostly to Zazzle, who get around 90% of the price of each product sold. I get around 10% so it's not a "get rich quick" scheme. That which I do get am funneling into other library advocacy projects and initiatives.

Because libraries are good.

Using the image

1. Want to use it in a pro-library non-commercial manner? Then please do, and use as you see fit. No payment needed, and attribution is optional.

2. Want to use it in a pro-library manner and make a profit off it? Speak to me first.

3. Want to use it in an anti-library manner? No you can't. Go away an educate yourself as to the benefits of libraries.

Thanks for purchasing / reading,

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