For the love of books

Repair-Restore-Renew 2011
Clunes, Vic - $4,534

Some predict that digital technology will render physical books obsolete before too long, but the small town of Clunes in Victoria begs to differ. However, the home to the increasingly popular Booktown Festival needed to attract more people and build their identity and reputation.

They applied to FRRR for a grant from the Repair-Restore-Renew program to support the development and implementation of a social media strategy to help raise their profile. Funding of $4,534 was awarded to purchase computer equipment and cover costs of website development and domain registration. The use of social media also facilitated online interaction with Booktown’s volunteers, increasing their involvement before and during the festival. The website was redeveloped with a new visual identity to reflect the core audience and linked with a mobile app, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ accounts.

Stephen Samuel, Festival Director, said that social media strategy is not an area that can be funded through normal revenues, but social media engagement is prevalent in the community. “The public face of the festival, and indeed Clunes itself, is its presence online."

"An online presence that actively reflects the aspirations of the residents will ensure that community involvement continues from year to year.”

The funding was obviously put to good use. At the time of writing, the Festival has 750 likes on Facebook, 315 followers on Twitter and a very attractive and functional website. There are many great pictures and engagement is apparent of the Facebook page, especially over the event weekend (4 – 5 May), with many positive comments from happy festival attendees.

More than 20,000 people attended the 2013 Clunes Booktown festival, which boasted over sixty book traders from around Australia. The village streets closed and were filled with marquees and street entertainment, and according to Facebook the ATM ran out of cash midway through Sunday, so the town must have got a decent cash injection from all the hard work by volunteers. It also acts as an opportunity for local community groups to raise funds to assist in the recovery of the community, which was affected by the 2011 floods in the region.