Activating Free Professional Development Tools for California State Library Card Holders

With The Pacific Library Partnership


The Pacific Library Partnership, with support from the California State Library, approached our agency to foster equitable career opportunities for residents of the state. Specifically, the libraries wanted to increase awareness and use of CAreer Pathways, online professional development tools like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and Skillshare, now free for Californians with their library card thanks to funding from the federal and state government. However, they faced the challenge of low awareness and usage among the intended end-users: under/unemployed Californians, who are disproportionately women, people of color, young people (under age 25), and people with less than a bachelor’s degree.

This was also the libraries’ first experience working with an agency and engaging in a state-wide paid media campaign, requiring the coordination of over 1,000 library branches across California for campaign research and execution.


To address this challenge, we worked with the libraries to develop a marketing campaign with the following objectives:

1. Introduce the career resources to various community groups with low awareness
2. Use informed messaging to convey the value of the resources and overcome perceived obstacles to using them
3. Guide people from attention to interest in utilizing the resources
4. Ensure messaging has a long lifespan beyond the campaign

To inform the development of this campaign, we conducted interviews with the significant county library jurisdiction officers and consulted with the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity. We also used the California Poverty Measure (CPM) to identify target audience segments. This led to developing a series of personas, helping create critical messaging and dedicated campaign opportunities for each audience segment. Included in this outreach were iterations of the campaign creative as Canva templates for individual libraries to add their branding to and use within their service areas.


video views

website visits



As a result, we deployed a culturally fluent and exhaustive statewide campaign to get information about career resources to often overlooked populations. With 45.2 million impressions, over 1 million video views, 30,775 website visits, and 7,637 in-library patrons, our efforts successfully increased awareness of and usage of the resources, ultimately helping foster more equitable career opportunities for Californians.

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