Public Libraries For The Win On Black Friday

The New York Public Library‘s one-day Black Friday campaign touting  the nation’s public libraries as ” the deal of  the season” because “all books are free” ” for unlimited time only” generated thousands of responses on social media and via email —including many that declared NYPL had “won Black Friday” and “won  the internet’ with  the “best Black Friday ad ever.”

In one day, the ad generated:

  • Double the number of online library card signups as on a typical day
  • Just over 20,000 page views of on launch day (page views jumped to nearly 30,000 in the days following)
  • About 51,000 views of our Black Friday animation on social media
  • Dozens of social media posts from influencers and journalists
  • Thousands of positive responses across all social media platforms, including several from other library systems and library schools praising the Library for its initiative and creativity to promote literacy
The tongue-in-cheek, retail-inspired campaign—designed in-house by  the Library and including “free returns” and a “100% off” coupon.—included  animated social media “ads,” an email to NYPL patrons (below), and a  full-page, national advertisement in The New York Times ( the ad was made possible with  the support of a Library Trustee).

While light-hearted, the campaign also shared a serious message: people should take advantage of the best deal out there—public libraries—which are in every community, welcome everyone, even the playing field for all, and fight misinformation. A library card unlocks limitless opportunities (and saves money, which is important this time of year), so the Library hopes this campaign encourages folks to visit their local branches, get their free library cards, and start their journeys.

For those who need help choosing books once they get a card,  check out NYPL’s list of  the best adult, teen and kids books of 2018, chosen by expert librarians.

Those who live or work in NY can visit a local NYPL branch, or start  the library card sign-up process  here (a limited number of special edition Knowledge Is Power cards—launched last month—are still available). NYPL library cards provide access to millions of books, e-books, databases, periodicals, museum passes, streaming videos, and more.


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