After a successful Capital Campaign that raised approximately $25 million and led to the construction of the library, we were engaged to manage the launch of the Harris Learning Library itself. This task began with a brand identity that matched the typography within the building and we also developed a brand manual that was utilized for the event.
The event called for a deft touch to manage community relations, donor relations and the relations with the First Nation community. The Harris Learning Library was built on First Nation land and there were elements of the community opposed to its namesake. It was important that the focus of the launch event was celebrating the library’s value to the whole community, and the generous donors who made it possible. A strategy was developed in advance of the event to handle protesters and a constructive approach was taken to listen to the opponents and include them in the process. After a request from protesters, Mr. Harris accepted literature from the group opposed, as a sign of inclusion and goodwill.
To begin the grand opening, a First Nation sweet grass ceremony was performed. The result was a peaceful event that truly reflected the nature of the library, and actually resulted in some protesters joining the proceedings. In the media, the story that reached the public was one of an enriching addition to the community instead of disagreement over the name.