MLA Coffee Sleeves Now Available at Maine Starbucks

Residents and visitors to Maine who patronize Starbucks for a hot beverage can also now patronize Maine libraries. Coffee sleeves bearing the logo of the Maine Library Association, as well as famous quotes from literature extolling the virtues of a good cup of coffee, are now available through several Maine Starbucks locations. 

Coffee sleeves are a protective layer of recyclable cardboard that slide up over a paper cup containing hot beverages which help to insulate the consumer’s fingers against the heat of their drink. While visiting an independent coffee shop in downeast Maine in the summer of 2009, Maine Library Association President Sonja Plummer Morgan noticed a coffee sleeve on her drink that featured the work of an area artist, and she thought it was a great place to try some marketing for Maine’s libraries. 

Britevision (http://www.britevision.com) designed the sleeves using a logo provided by the MLA. While marketing and distribution of the coffee sleeves would normally be handled as well by Britevision, Plummer Morgan elected to distribute them herself. This move saved the MLA some money while at the same time giving her a chance to visit libraries around the state on behalf of the Association and see what each library looks like and offers as well as being able to meet staff.

Some libraries elected to distribute sleeves at their locations and to local coffee shops. Meanwhile, Plummer Morgan thought about how best to partner with a name readily associated with coffee. A call was made to Starbucks corporate headquarters to explain the goal of the intended partnership: Starbucks receives a shipment of sleeves at no cost to them and with no direct advertising, and Maine libraries in return receive some extra attention from the state’s citizens and tourists. Because Starbucks and libraries both advocate strongly for literacy programs, the plan was welcomed at the corporate levels and left to the regional Starbucks director for the final approval. 

Once given the full details of the proposed partnership, Sarah Goodhue, Maine’s regional sales director for Starbucks, agreed to the distribution. The coffee sleeves are now available in several Starbucks locations throughout Maine.

Sonja Plummer Morgan hopes to be able to extend the availability of the sleeves if they are well received by the coffee-drinking public. More information about Maine libraries and the work of the Association is available at http://www.mainelibraries.org.