Support for Interns, Equipment to Market Indiana Public Libraries, INSPIRE 

Seven students in Butler’s College of Communication (CCOM) are gearing up to have the professional experience of a lifetime as they begin working on a statewide marketing plan for the Indiana State Library (ISL). Their work on this project has the potential to reach over 6 million Hoosiers, according to the ISL.

This opportunity was made possible by a $199,374 grant Butler received this month from the ISL. Part of the grant money will support the implementation of a student-created statewide strategic communications plan to increase both visibility and public awareness of INSPIRE — Indiana’s virtual library.

INSPIRE is a collection of academic databases and information resources that can be accessed by Indiana residents using any computer equipped with an Indiana IP address. These databases contain magazine and journal articles, websites, pamphlets, images, almanacs, library catalogs and more.

Butler Dean of Libraries Lewis Miller says the grant aims to build and maintain the statewide brand recognition for INSPIRE and advocate the value of local and online public library services to Indiana residents. The grant, which was created by Miller and Butler grant writer Dana Ohren, will also provide hundreds of local partners with onsite promotional materials to complement the campaign’s mass media elements.

The seven students working on this campaign are a part of Associate Professor of Communication Rose Campbell’s Public Communication Campaigns class, a service-learning capstone course for all Strategic Communication majors. Campbell’s capstone classes have conducted campaign research and created strategic communications plans for more than 50 non-profit organizations and government agencies in the past 13 years.

The initial campaign work involves extensive research, including case studies, focus groups, depth interviews, public surveys and other research tactics. Campbell’s students will then use their research to come up with goals and objectives for the campaign that are specific to creating awareness and increased use of INSPIRE in Indiana. The final step is creating a strategic communications plan and creative promotional materials to support a statewide campaign for the ISL.

The idea for a partnership between the ISL and Campbell’s students came from Miller, who was simultaneously on the State Library’s committee for INSPIRE and working with Campbell as a Butler library liaison to the Journalism Department.

“I was very familiar with the impressive work she was doing with her students,” said Miller. “I was talking with the associate director of the Indiana State Library earlier this year, and he had an interest in trying to get a grant that promoted INSPIRE. I put two and two together and thought, ‘This could work.’ “

Campbell says the partnership benefits the Butler students involved with the campaign by providing them with real-world experiences.

“In addition to being a great service-learning experience and exposing students to ideas and challenges that people face on a daily basis, this campaign helps them understand how the government works in terms of providing important resources for all citizens,” said Campbell. “They’re also learning more about public relations, advertising and strategic communication and getting exposure to people who are experts in that area.”

The grant also includes $10,000 for five paid student internships — two in the spring and three in the summer. Any Butler student is eligible to apply.

“The internship aspect of the grant is another thing I’m excited about because we have so many talented students who just cannot afford to have unpaid internships,” said Campbell. “This will allow those smart and hard-working students the opportunity to have a great portfolio, wonderful internship experience, and still earn the money they need for living expenses.”

Butler will also purchase $9,000 worth of equipment for the CCOM with grant funds. Campbell’s students will use the color printer, digital cameras and recorders, laptop computers, and computer software to develop prototype campaign elements.

“As far as I know, there are no other institutions, at least in this state, that are providing this kind of extensive research and assessment for the types of non-profits and government organizations that our students work with,” said Campbell. “Many other classes at universities will put together tactics or special events for nonprofit clients, or perhaps do some limited research, but I don’t know of anyone who does it quite this extensively, or as well as Butler.”

Media contact: Lexie Beach
(317) 940-6561

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