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Public Awareness Committee - Meeting Notes from 2010 Midwinter Meeting in Boston

Public Awareness Committee Meeting
2010 ALA Midwinter Meeting
Monday, January 18, 2010
1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, BCEC-206A


Meeting Minutes

PAC Members in attendance:
Judith Gibbons, acting chair on behalf of Leslie Burger;
Holly Carroll;
Diane Chen, ALA Executive Board Liaison;
Donna Morris;
Kent Oliver;
Brenda Pruitt-Annisette

Other Members in attendance:
Stephanie Bange, Campaign for America's Libraries Subcommittee

ALA Staff in attendance:
Cathleen Bourdon;
Mark Gould;
Megan Humphrey;
Megan McFarlane


The agenda was approved and notes from the 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago were approved by Kent Oliver and seconded by Donna Morris.


Diane R. Chen updated the Public Awareness Committee on the activities of the ALA Executive Board.

Mark Gould, Public Information Office (PIO) Director, updated the committee on Public Information Office activities.

The Public Information Office is working to broaden the social networking capabilities of the organization.  PIO accomplishes this with its blog, Visibility @ your library, along with atyourlibrary.org, the new public Web site of the ALA. Atyourlibrary.org was developed by American Libraries with seed money from Carnegie Corporation of New York.  Currently, the Public Information Office collaborates with American Libraries staff on site administration.  

For the second year in a row, the Public Information Office has also used Twitter to announce the winners of the Youth Media Awards.  PIO’s media relations staff again coordinated the Youth Media Awards announcement.  ALA President Camila Alire appeared on the Today Show following the meeting. Alire is the third ALA president to appear on the Today Show in three years.

The Campaign for America’s Libraries continues to grow and develop, with a $14:1 value. ALA Treasurer Rod Hersberger presented to Council on the value of the Campaign.


Campaign for America’s Libraries Subcommittee report

Megan Humphrey, Manager of the Campaign for America’s Libraries, provided an update of recent Campaign activities.


Atyourlibrary.org is ALA’s new public Web site. The content of the Web site is contributed by ALA staff and focuses on what is available at libraries. The Web site was developed with seed money from Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Disney Book Group recently made a cash contribution to the site.

The Web site continues to expand with new areas focusing on finances and health. The Campaign will also use the Web site to promote ALCTS’s Preservation Week (May 9-15, 2010).

Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award

The I Love My Librarian award continued for its second year in 2009. Sponsored by Carnegie Corporation of New York and The New York Times, the award recognizes up to 10 librarians from academic, public and school libraries for service to their communities. During year two, 3,200 nominations were received, 1,600 nominations for individual librarians. Individual entries were up by 200 entries from the previous year.  Each winner received $5,000 and was honored at an awards ceremony in New York.

The award has had a positive effect for several of the winners, including two winners from Michigan who will be speaking at their upcoming chapter conference. The award has also provided greater visibility for other winners in their communities.

Univision Radio/en tu biblioteca

The Campaign’s partnership with Univision Radio, which was kicked off at the 2008 REFORMA conference, has been renewed for a third round of public service announcements (PSAs). Univision has also expressed interest in working with ALA on its multi-year public education campaign.  

Parents and kids campaign

The Metropolitan Group continues to seek media and corporate partners for the proposed outreach campaign targeting parents and children.  

Woman’s Day

This March will mark the beginning of the ninth year of the Campaign for America’s Libraries partnership with Woman’s Day magazine, with a story on how readers have used the library to save money during tough economic times. To date, the magazine has donated 32 pages of content promoting the value of libraries and librarians.  This year, Woman’s Day will highlight one reader’s story in the magazine and three others on womansday.com, which receives more than 1.5 million unique visits a month.

Woman’s Day is also looking forward to focusing more on libraries throughout the year, with articles on surprising things at the library and how to use the library to preserve your family’s treasures.

Dollar General/The American Dream Starts @ your library

Dollar General has recently committed to a second round of The American Dream Starts @ your library grants. Dollar General has contributed $750,000 to fund 70 grants to public libraries and libraries with bookmobiles to create literacy programs and programs for English language learners.

The American Dream Starts @ your library program was launched in 2008 at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia and has provided grants to 34 public libraries.  

National Library Week

Neil Gaiman, 2009 Newbery Medal winner for “The Graveyard Book”, is the honorary chair of National Library Week 2010 (April 11-17). As the honorary chair, Gaiman appears in a print PSA, which will be placed in national publications this spring. The PSA is available for free customization and download. Additional free tools for promoting National Library Week include a sample press release, letter-to-the-editor, proclamation and PSA scripts.  They are available at www.ala.org/nlw. Radio PSAs and aWeb button are also available on the Web page.

Library Card Sign-up Month

Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat has agreed to be the honorary chair of Library Card Sign-up Month. Wade has committed to print and radio PSAs and a Library Card Sign-up Month event. Wade was selected as the honorary chair due in part to his $25,000 contribution to the Robbins Library. Wade visited the library as a child, and donated the money to keep the library open.


Discussion of ALA 2015 Strategic Plan    

The Public Awareness Committee plans to review the 2015 Strategic Plan Document to see if public awareness is represented effectively.

Regarding the “envisioned future” section of the document, the committee recommends that the language be changed to "ALA builds a world where libraries are central to the quality of life." The committee feels that this language better encompasses the multi-purpose functionality of the library for life-long learners, job seekers and those looking to use the library solely for entertainment purposes.  


National Library Week Subcommittee report

Megan McFarlane, Coordinator for the Campaign for America’s Libraries, reported on the National Library Week Subcommittee.

The Poudre River Public Library District of Fort Collins, Colo., was selected by the National Library Week Subcommittee as the winner of the 2010 Scholastic Library Publishing National Library Week Grant in December.

As the winner, the library will connect the 2010 National Library Week theme, Communities thrive @ your library, with the concept of the library as the “original renewable resource.” The theme will be promoted through a series of programs and activities centered on the concept of renewable resources and waste reduction, and demonstrate how the library and its communities can work together to thrive and become more sustainable.


During the spring, the library plans to advertise its National Library Week programming in community newspapers, commercials, on YouTube, social networking sites, the library’s Web site and in its new “green” annual report, which will be available as an interactive link on the library’s Web site.

Donna Morris motioned for approval of the Poudre River Library District as the winner of the Scholastic Library Publishing National Library Week Grant.  The motion was seconded by Brenda Pruitt-Annisette.


Public Relations Assembly Subcommittee report

Megan Humphrey, Manager of the Campaign for America’s Libraries, reported on the Public Relations Assembly Subcommittee.

The PR Assembly met on Saturday, January 16, to discuss the 2010 PR Forum at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. The committee proposed that Stephen Abram present an update on the social marketing presentation he gave at the 2007 ALA Annual Conference. The committee also proposed that promotions for the program leading up to Annual Conference be done through the tools that will be discussed at the PR Forum.

Judith Gibbons proposed that the Public Awareness Committee co-sponsor the “John Cotton Dana Winner Tell All” program at the 2010 ALA Annual Conference. The program will take place following the PR Forum, and will work to promote Sunday programs with a focus on marketing. Donna Morris seconded the motion.


Media Relations report

Macey Morales, Manager, PIO Media Relations, reported on media relations.

The Youth Media Awards, which took place on Monday, January 18, where covered by the Associated Press and picked up in 200-300 publications. ALA President, Camila Alire appeared on the Today Show with the 2010 winners of the Newbery Medal and Caldecott Medal.

The 2010 Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture, featuring former Vice President Al Gore, was covered by The Boston Globe.

The new YALSA Nonfiction Award was picked up by the Associated Press, and was placed in a couple of hundred publications.

The Office for Research and Statistics’(ORS) study on job seekers was circulated by the Associated Press with an estimated value of $1.2 million.



The following motions were introduced and carried unanimously by PAC:

PAC approved the Poudre River Library District as the winner of the Scholastic Library Publishing National Library Week Grant

PAC approved  co-sponsorship of the “John Cotton Dana Winner Tell All” program at the 2010 ALA Annual Conference.