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Newsletter of the Federal Depository Library Program

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Cumulative Table of Contents Vol. 1 - present [ PDF ] ( includes current issue )

October 15, 2003

GP 3.16/3-2:24/12
(Vol. 24, no. 12)

Readers Exchange

Thinking Outside the Box
(or in our Situation the Display Case)

Holding a Raffle in a Depository Library

Andrea Wyman, Government Documents Library
California University of Pennsylvania

A raffle in a depository library? Surely that can't be, but that's exactly what we tried at the Louis L. Manderino Library at California University of Pennsylvania. We are a mid-size depository collection for an academic library and the funds we wanted to try and raise were going to go toward our library's endowment. Fortunately, we had the enthusiastic support of our library director.

The idea germinated initially from a government documents display celebrating the U.S. Mint and the 50 State quarters. The coins that we featured were proof sets of quarters plus a set including a penny, nickel, dime and half-dollar. We used $60 as seed money from the endowment to buy two quarter sets plus a commemorative Susan B. Anthony dollar.

Next, we printed raffle tickets and sold them for $1.00 each or a "bargain" package at $5.00 for 6 tickets. Each staff or faculty member in the library, who volunteered to sell, was given a packet of tickets and we gave ourselves about three weeks before we held the drawing.

Were we successful? Fortunately, we were victorious on a number of fronts. First, the case for the display is in our main lobby and attracted a great deal of attention because it had quite a colorful, rah-rah, star-spangled look about it. Although it focused on the U.S. Mint, there was also a section on h.i.p. pocket change showing the links for Games, Machines, Time and Coin News on the Web site. This was particularly popular with our elementary education students. And as a bit of serentipity, when one of our elementary education faculty saw it, she asked me to give a brief talk for her "pre-service teachers," about what could be found on a variety of government Web sites that would be relevant in the classroom. This provided the perfect opener for introducing the students to Ask Ben!

The raffle, itself, was a success because we not only broke even, but we cleared about $175! One of our emeriti faculty won the coins and was delighted to have them.

Would we do it again? Certainly, providing the display and topic coincided with a raffle-able item. We believe it brought a bit of new traffic into the library and also provided some positive PR for governments, at least for the moment, shifting the notion of government documents from being one dimensional to rah-rah and profitable.