Library of Congress taps Reingold for national effort

The Library of Congress unit that helps the blind and physically handicapped brought on the DC-based firm for a campaign to increase the number of people using its services.

WASHINGTON: The Library of Congress' National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped has hired Reingold to launch a national effort to increase the number of people enrolled in the free program.

The scope of work for the contract includes developing a strategic plan for a multifaceted national campaign. The service also wants to overhaul its brand and establish partnerships with organizations that have common constituencies.

The one-year agreement has one option year. If both are picked up, the total budget would be more than $533,000, according to an award notice.

Over the past year, NLS has attempted to increase awareness via a PSA campaign, but its network of cooperating libraries asked for a more advanced and coordinated effort, according to the RFP for the contract.

The service provides recorded and Braille books and magazines, which are delivered through the mail or over the Internet. Patrons also receive playback equipment needed to use the digitally recorded books free of charge. Eligible parties include blind and physically disabled US residents, as well as those abroad in some instances.

The NLS has a membership of 800,000, which it feels is a very small portion of the population eligible for the free library program. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Interview Survey, more than 25 million adults have visual conditions.

“These figures indicate the critical need to reach blind and physically disabled individuals with news that the national free Braille and talking-book program can help them improve their quality of life by increasing their accessibility to library materials,” the NLS said in the RFP for the contract.

The service wants to see at least a 10% increase of at least 50,000 people sign up for the program by the end of the contract.

The target audiences for the campaign will include veterans, people who cannot hold a book or turn pages, preschool through college-age students who have visual or physical disabilities, and people 65-years-old and older. Secondary audiences include caretakers and professionals such as educators, doctors, ophthalmologists, and optometrists, because they are avenues for reaching the target audience.

“This contract falls right in line with our mission, which is to help organizations and individuals connect to the government services that are available to them,” said Kevin Miller, principal and partner at Reingold.

An NLS representative declined to comment on the award.

Last month, Reingold won a $13.8 million contract from the Department of Veterans Affairs to raise awareness of the benefits that veterans are eligible for following their service.

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