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John Cotton Dana awards submissions and winners

2013.12 john-cotton-danaThe American Library Association (ALA) is now accepting submissions for the John Cotton Dana Award (JCD). The award, which is managed by the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) division of ALA, honors outstanding library public relations. Eight $10,000 awards are granted each year by the H.W. Wilson Foundation and the annual Awards Ceremony is sponsored by the ALA and EBSCO Information Services.

“A new site has been created for the 2014 JCD entries which allows all entries to be submitted electronically. Entry documents are available at: https://johncottondana.nonprofitcms.org/awards. ALA LLAMA Division Executive Director Kerry Ward says the new site should streamline the submission process and make it easier for eligible organizations to submit an entry. “This new site, spearheaded by the new JCD Committee Chair, Sally Lederer, provides librarians with an easier process for pulling together their submissions and the judges will also benefit from the online process.” Entries must be received by February 14, 2014.” (info from EBSCO)

About the John Cotton Dana Award

The John Cotton Dana Award, provided in conjunction with the H.W. Wilson Foundation, the American Library Association and EBSCO, honors outstanding library public relations, whether a summer reading program, a year-long centennial celebration, fundraising for a new college library, an awareness campaign or an innovative partnership in the community.

In recognition of their achievement, John Cotton Dana award winners receive a cash award from the H.W. Wilson Foundation. The John Cotton Dana Awards are presented at an elegant reception hosted by EBSCO held during the American Library Association annual conference.

2013 Winners
Check out the 2013 John Cotton Dana Award Winners on The ‘M’ Word – Marketing Libraries:

  • The Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library – Arkansas
  • In 2010 Hood River County Library, Oregon
  • The Lawrence Public Library, Kansas
  • Mid-Continent Public Library, Missouri
  • Richland Library, South Carolina
  • Texas Tech University Library, Texas

You can view the winning entries online.

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Libraries have a PR problem

From a recent post in Librarian in Black, “Internet Librarian 2013 – The New Library Patron

2. Libraries have a PR problem.

People don’t know what we have and what we do.  Half of people surveyed say they know some of what is going on at the library. 30% know not much or nothing at all of what libraries offer.  Rainie says these numbers should distress us.  There are ways for us to address this knowledge gap though.  Library non-users are primed to listen.  They like us, they read books, and they have at one point or another visited a library.  We have to start selling ourselves in ways we never used to have to do, and perhaps are uncomfortable with.

So true. This is a daily challenge for me — most people I speak with have the minimal information on what a library is and does. for most people, it starts and ends at books. Today’s library is still a great place to access books, but we are also a focal point for other types of literacy: digital, financial, health, etc.

We need to find ways to do a better job of imparting this, while working within the limited resources we all know we have.

How, exactly, do we do that?

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Congratulations John Cotton Dana Winners!

Taking this year’s award for the John Cotton Dana PR Awards are:

  • Anythink Libraries of Adams County, CO
  • Edmonton Public Library, Alberta
  • Loudoun County Public Library, Leesburg, VA
  • University of California Santa Cruz Library
  • Worthington Libraries, OH

For more information on what garnered them the awards, check out the Library Journal article.

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Tips for Do-It-Yourself Public Relations

Michael Hess penned a great post at BNET entitled “How to Get Started Doing Your Own PR” that’s worth a read for newbies and veterans alike. Basically, it’s common sense stuff that many of us take for granted. Some recommendations:

  • Build a press list. Hess writes “I started my press list by buying every magazine on the newsstand that might be appropriate for our products and sending (via snail mail) the editors a short release announcing our new business with a photo of our products.” I’ve built mine manually as well, from contacts I’ve met or worked with. Once a month I check the local newspapers to see which names have changed, and I update accordingly.
  • Monitor and respond to open inquiries from the press. HARO is the main recommendation for this, especially since it’s free. I have to admit that I’ve had little luck with this service, but have heard good things from others. I would add that you need to respond to all queries in a timely manner; that has given me good results. Reporters remember who answers phone calls and emails, and who doesn’t.
  • Know how to write and send press releases. Hess writes, “A news release is not an ad.” Remember that the point of a news release is, well, to share news.
  • Put a process in place. Hess writes, “Don’t just fire off press releases and hope to see your big story in the paper the next day. Not gonna happen most of the time. Make sure you have a start-to-finish process in place that covers release writing, list targeting, distribution.”
  • Be professional. That includes: “Make sure your news is truly newsworthy and convey it properly.” & “Be hyper-responsive.” & “Understand the basics of lead times and deadlines, image requirements, and other elements of the trade.” & “Above all, don’t annoy your contacts.”

Please go read the entire post. Good stuff, even if it’s something you think you already know.

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