Josh Berk is the executive director of the Bethlehem Area Public Library (BAPL) and is a second generation librarian. Growing up in a family of librarians, he never intended on landing in the field. But after graduating college and working his way from checkout into children’s programming, he realized he had found his calling.
Josh said, “I really like working with young people. I just had a knack for it, and I have a soft spot for kids, especially ones who are coming from backgrounds where they didn’t have everything handed to them. And I was able to help kids like that learn to read, find a book, do their homework, all of that stuff.”
During his time working with kids, he penned this amazing song about some of the kids having a tough time staying so quiet.
Leading a mid-sized library
Soon Josh found himself progressing through the roles, picked up his masters in library sciences, and ended up in his role leading BAPL.
While he was beginning to plan the annual appeal for 2022, he struck up a conversation with Feathr about ways they could reach new audiences and donors. And it helped solidify that libraries could expand using new digital technologies when he heard that Feathr had been working with one of the larger libraries in the state, the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Bucking the trend
Participating on the board at the library, Josh saw how it was always easier to push additional funds into the essential services the library offered. Nobody would ever ask him a question if he invested $10,000 in additional books or programming. But he saw so much potential for growth with a tool like Feathr that he thought, why not try something new?
Josh said, “If we're able to turn 10 into 100 then you're helping everyone a lot more. So that was my mindset. I felt like we needed to take the leap and spend money and try to make money. So that we could expand our impact even further.”
One of the biggest selling points for Josh was the opportunity to use Feathr for sponsored retargeting. BAPL already has plenty of website visitors, but as a library, few of these people were bringing in revenue. By partnering with like-minded organizations, they could capitalize on a value they had and add yet another revenue stream.
But it wasn’t just sponsored retargeting. BAPL wanted all the tools that bigger companies were using. They wanted to reach new people with awareness campaigns, and they wanted to have deeper insights into who their audience is and what they want.
Josh is gearing up to send his first few emails within the Feathr platform. But ultimately the sky's the limit for BAPL. Instead of hoping that donors will find them, BAPL is taking control of their own destiny. And their community is going to be better for it.