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Library begins gradual change to new name: Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Cordelia Anderson, Deputy Director of Marketing & Communications
Web site: www.cmlibrary.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Charlotte, NC – November 30, 2009 – As we approach the end of the year, the Library is wrapping up a busy Fall that has included the reconfiguration of Main Library to create a new Job Help Center; the award of an $804,100 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to improve system-wide technology access; and the honor of being named one of the top libraries in the country for a second time by the Library Journal. But with all of that going on, the organization has also been quietly implementing another change, to a new name – Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
The century-old institution began using its new, shorter name in November after filing paperwork with Mecklenburg County and notifying the State Librarian. However, very few visible signs of the change have been seen yet, due to a gradual rollout process geared toward saving resources in a tight budget year.
The Library has gone by several names over the years. Past names include Charlotte Public School Library (1901-1903), Charlotte Carnegie Public Library (1903-1925), Charlotte Public Library (1925-1945), and most recently, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (1945-2009).
The most recent decision to change the name was made in 2007 as part of a larger initiative to better communicate the impact of the Library. The library’s long name had become an acronym - PLCMC - that was meaningless to most customers. This was documented in “person on the street” interviews with average citizens, many of whom did not know the Library’s name or what PLCMC meant. The Library also did a visual assessment of its 24 locations and discovered that many identifying signs were either non-existent, invisible from the road, or so inconsistent that someone would have no idea that their local library was part of a larger system.
The name change represents but one part of a much larger plan which includes better identification of library locations and services, a new visual “look” that will tie everything together, more customer-focused communications, and a unified approach to customer service in all locations. These changes will help make our libraries easier to find and use, and will help customers understand that they can choose between 24 convenient locations. The implementation of this plan is designed to be as cost neutral as possible.
Next steps will include using the new name on printed materials as supplies run out, beginning in December; and switching the look and URL of our Web site (www.cmlibrary.org) in January 2010. The old URL and email addresses at plcmc.org will continue to work for the foreseeable future, so that old printed items can still be used. Also, a new design for exterior signage will debut with the Hickory Grove branch opening in February. This will be the template for all exterior signs in new construction projects going forward. There are no current plans to replace signs at existing locations.
Since its founding in 1903 as a Carnegie Free Library, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has provided community service and outreach to the citizens of the area. In addition to a large selection of books, magazines, movies and audiobooks, including media downloadable from home, the Library also offers a variety of award-winning experiences and services for all ages at 24 locations including children’s storytimes to enhance early literacy skills, free Internet access and computer workshops to help job seekers, and the Novello Festival of Reading, a community-wide celebration of literature and reading. The Library is also the largest provider of free Wi-Fi access in Mecklenburg County. The Library has twice received the top “Five Star” ranking in a national index of service by Library Journal, and was winner of the 2006 National Award for Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. www.cmlibrary.org