Campaign to Save Ventura County's Wright Library

In April 2009, Ventura County’s Wright Library was in danger of closing under severe budget pressures. The San Buenaventura Friends of the Library had struggled for months to raise awareness about its closing. The Friends contacted WHPR two weeks before a planned event with author Ray Bradbury. They wanted help in publicizing that event.


WHPR persuaded the group that building an audience for an event, even with such a distinguished author, would be almost impossible in two weeks. WHPR helped the group conclude they needed at least six to eight weeks. Mr. Bradbury agreed to delay his appearance and a new date was set. WHPR heard the group’s passion for what they were doing, but found they needed more focus in their presentations to the community.


Alarmed that the Wright Library had no website presence, and no budget to create one, WHPR suggested they turn to local students at a community college to help with a website. The result was a temporary website that allowed visitors to find out more information on Wright Library, the event and to register for that event. Concerned at the lack of rigor in their community relations, WHPR created a series of talking points so each member of the San Buenaventura Friends of the Library would be more confident when talking with their neighbors and local political leaders who would be making the final decision on the Wright’s fate.

Then with a short deadline, WHPR secured some local news media sponsorship support. The Ventura County Star News became a sponsor, which helped the Friends of the Library secure expanded advertising for lower dollars. Local radio stations also agreed to participate and local radio public affairs programs included Friends of the Library leader Berta Steele in discussions about Wright Library.

Believing that author Ray Bradbury and the valiant effort by a small town group of local citizens to save a community library would be of national interest, WHPR contacted the New York Times bureau chief in LA. The story received not only coverage in local news media (print, radio and LA TV), but also front page NY Times coverage.