The Ben & Jerry Blog Bounce

ben and jerry

Earlier this week, I had sent out a group message noting the passing of the 4,000 member mark of the Facebook group “People for a Library Themed Ben & Jerry’s Flavor”. The flow of new members into the group was starting to trickle and I was preparing for the final promotional lunge. I sent out a message to all 4,000+ group members, set up a post for people to vote on a flavor, and hunkered down to wait for the answer from the Flavor Gurus. Knocking out a couple of tweets, I was ready to give one last go, once more unto the breach.

And so it began.

Birdie, a regular LISNews poster, took my final message and put it up on the site. Stephen J. Gertz took that copy and placed it on the Book Patrol blog of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (which got a subsequent link on Steven Cohen’s Library Stuff blog). From here, it was posted by Menachem Kasier in the New Yorker’s The Book Bench blog (I got notice of this through this very succinct tweet.) My friend Margaret sent me a link where website Jezebel had picked it up from the New Yorker.

At this point, I’m just non-stop grinning. But there’s more!

The Times Online, a British publication, posted about in their Comment Central section; it was even on the front page of their Comment section, right next to a opinion piece on legalizing drugs and the Prime Minister appearing on TV. (Hmm. Perhaps not the best spot…) The British news site Guardian had also posted about it in the Books area of their Culture section (with prominent links off their Culture and Book pages). More importantly, they were able to get a comment from Arnold Carbone, Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Guru in Chief. Here’s a quote of his passage:

Arnold Carbone, Ben & Jerry’s flavour guru, said the company had honoured musicians with its flavours in the past – last year it launched Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road (chocolate ice-cream with peanut butter cookie dough, butter brickle and white chocolate chunks) for Elton John – so a library-themed flavour was a definite possibility.

“From Cherry Garcia to Bohemian Raspberry, some of our best-loved flavours have been fan suggestions. We’ve honoured rock’n’roll icons, so why not librarians?” said Carbone.

He suggested a Malt Whitman: “a malt ice-cream, with chocolate alphabet letters and two decadent rivulets – one caramel and one fudge – as an ode to writer Walt Whitman”.

I was floored. I couldn’t stop grinning or giggling to myself for at least a half hour. But that’s still not the end of it.

From what I’ve heard from some of my Twitter buddies, some of the food blogs have picked up on it. Serious Eats has their take on it as well as Slashfood. I’m also seeing all sorts of other librarian and library oriented blogs picking up on it. (Here, here, here, here, and here on Digg.) Just unbelievable. It’s been fascinating to watch this bounce around the net. Part of me wonders if it’s done bouncing, the other half can’t wait to see where it will go next.

Fingers crossed!

Update: LA Times Book Blog Jacket Copy. The Atlantic’s Food Section Today’s Specials. LISNews again (Thanks, Birdie!). Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish.

Update part 2: Nicholas Basbanes’ blog on Fine Books Magazine. Entertainment Weekly’s Shelf Life. Baltimore Sun’s Read Street Blog. Epicurious. The National (United Arab Emirates). Journal Star The Book Report (Lincoln, NE). True/Slant.

Here’s a link to a Google Blog Search for the subject.

Advocacy. Tasty tasty social media based library advocacy.

Advocacy through social media has just gotten a bit cooler.

There is a newly formed Facebook group for a Library Themed Ben & Jerry’s Flavor. But what do libraries and Ben & Jerry’s have to do with each other?

In these economic conditions, the role of the library is becoming more important in the lives of its patrons. Diminished incomes have stopped people from buying books, newspapers, magazines, music and movies as well as dropping services like home internet. They are turning to the library for the media and materials that they would have normally bought for themselves in the past. With employers moving their hiring applications to their websites and most job searches move online, the ability for people to be able to access the internet increases in importance. In reaction to this, libraries have added job hunting, resume writing, and interview materials, classes, and programs. On top of this, we are helping people everyday navigate this new age of information. But we are still struggling to maintain services in the face of stagnant or slashed state, county, and municipal budgets.

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream has a long history for corporate advocacy for different causes. From their mission statement, they seek to conduct business in a socially responsible and environmentally sensible way. Over the years, they’ve created flavors to raise awareness for poverty, global warming, water preservation, family farmers, disadvantaged children, and world peace. Their activism extends to their employees who volunteer their time for community projects. Plus, they make some pretty tasty ice cream.

Sounds like a perfect match!

Join the group, spread the word, and let’s make the library an even cooler place to be!

Cross posted at