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Brown County Library turns page with rebranding

By Charles Collier

GREEN BAY – Jan. 12 marked a new chapter in the 131-year history of the Brown County Library with officials and four frequent library-goers unveiling the institution’s community-focused branding effort.

The project was already in the works heading into last spring before the pandemic.

“With the future work ahead, we knew that we needed a new identity that could better reflect who we see ourselves as,” Brown County Library Executive Director Sarah Sugden told The Press Times of the library’s first revamp since the 1990s.

That timeframe delivered plenty of changes to technology and information access to justify updated messaging on its own.

The library closed early on in the pandemic, but reopened all but its Denmark branch by June with safety protocols in place.

The uncertain landscape provided a well-timed window to how important its resources truly are, Sugden said.

“One of my most powerful moments that I experienced over these last few months was when the courthouse closed for hearings, people came here for computer access for their virtual court hearings,” she said. “Where else would they have been able to go to participate in that vitally important activity? We feel blessed and honored and grateful to serve the community in ways that libraries are rarely able to do.”

O’Connor Connective, a De Pere-based marketing firm focused on non-profit and community organizations, was tapped to lead the outreach efforts and bring the new vision to the fore.

Discovering new roles the institution was able to fill informed the final design of what is meant to be a vision and identity which celebrates a community of diverse backgrounds and needs while invoking individual ownership to each of the county’s members.

“It’s Yours,” the slogan central to the new approach, was a simple yet powerful statement, members of the rebranding team said.

“Our historic library… is facing forward to be of better accessibility, service, expertise, guidance and so much more with community at the center of it all,” said Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach.

True to message, four faces well-known to library staff are now the ostensible faces of the library itself, featured on promotional banners and the library’s new line of bookmarks.

Lashawnda Warpinski, one of the library’s models, told The Press Times she was asked to take part after returning home from out of state in the spring.

Well-known from a lifetime of connection with the library system, Warpinski was invited to be one of the faces encouraging residents to be as frequent a visitor as herself.

“As a kid coming here, sitting in the back reading books, and of course through high school studying and checking out books, and I did my undergrad at UW-Green Bay,” Warpinski said, “for my entire life I’ve always touched base with the library, at all their locations. The library has always played a part and has been a huge part of my life.”

For the time being, new library cards are neither offered nor required, and there was no timetable for when that change would take effect.

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