New York Public Library Rings In Centennial With Foursquare Badge

nypl2As the 100th birthday of its landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building nears, the New York Public Library has partnered with Foursquare to offer a celebratory badge to kick off its Centennial celebration, “Find the Future.”

The celebration also includes an alternate reality game as part of a weekend-long series of events in May.

The badge, which is called the “Find the Future Centennial Badge,” is the first Foursquare badge to come from a public library.

“Find the Future” is a nod to the role the library has played in the lives of New Yorkers since the building opened on May 23, 1911, according to library eCommunications Manager Johannes Neuer.

“Since our landmark building opened, millions of visitors have come to us seeking knowledge and inspiration – for a novel, an invention, a new career, a breakthrough, a cure, a new business,” Neuer said. “Our Centennial tagline celebrates this legacy and invites people to use all our libraries and their unparalleled resources for exploration, discovery and self-reinvention.”

Foursquare users can earn the badge by checking in to one of the 90 New York Public Library locations in the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. (Brooklyn and Queens have separate library systems.) The promotion kicked off on March 30 and runs through the end of June.

Badge winners will also receive a one-year Foursquare Friends membership, which Neuer says is the library’s basic donor level and is intended to cultivate future library supporters. It entitles members to a number of perks, including monthly drawings for tickets to events, as well as behind-the-scenes tours of the Map Division, and a photo op in front of the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Trustees Room fireplace that appeared in the movie “The Day After Tomorrow.” (Some perks are only available to library mayors.)

What’s more, NYPL will offer an additional Foursquare special during the Centennial weekend celebration, May 20 to 22, Neuer says.

The May events include an alternate-reality game, “Find the Future: The Game.” The game is designed by Jane McGonigal, author of a book on gaming and creative director of social adventure game company Social Chocolate.

“Find the Future: The Game” launches with an overnight “Write All Night” event featuring 500 prequalified players (18 and older) who will spend the night in the Schwarzman Building exploring 70 miles of stacks and the library’s collections as they write a book together. After the event, “Find the Future: The Game” will continue online and be open to gamers from around the world.

The weekend celebration will also include readings and performances, such as celebrated New Yorkers who will read from, “Know the Past, Find the Future: The New York Public Library at 100,” a free book published by Penguin Classics.

On March 30, when the library made the Foursquare announcement, the library had more than 114,000 followers on Twitter and 30,000 fans on Facebook. Less than a week later, it is up to 118,000 followers and 31,000 fans.

“With just two days in March, the campaign increased brand mentions on Twitter by 148 percent over the previous month,” Neuer adds.

The library also has a blog on Tumblr that launched in late 2010 and has nearly 3,000 followers.

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