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Public Awareness Committee - Meeting Notes from 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans

Public Awareness Committee

June 27, 2011

ALA Annual Conference New Orleans


Agenda approved


Minutes approved


Update on the Public Information Office  

Mark Gould, Public Information Office (PIO) Director

Our Authors, Our Advocates 

Through Our Authors, Our Advocates, one of ALA President Roberta Stevens’ presidential initiatives, authors have lent their support for libraries through media interviews, podcasts and public service announcements (PSAs).   PSAs of participating authors were shown at the Opening General Session on June 24.   Among the participating authors are Laurie Halse Anderson, MT Anderson, Judy Blume, David Baldacci, Holly Black, Carmen Agra Deedy, Tony Di Terlizzi, Sharon DraperNeil Gaiman, Brad Meltzer, Sara Paretsky, Kathy Reichs, Pam Munoz Ryan, Scott Turow and Mo Willems

The PSAs were produced by the Public Information Office and taped with the help of the City of San Diego’s Public Access station and Columbia College in Chicago. PSAs have been made available for download to librarians, Friends and library advocates through ilovelibraries.org.

In addition to recording PSAs, Scott Turow, Brad Meltzer and Pam Munoz Ryan have written op-eds on the value of libraries.


Media Relations Report

Macey Morales, Media Relations Manager

In the lead up to and during the ALA Annual Conference, the Public Information Office’s media relations team placed 1,009 articles, with an estimated circulation of 4 billion readers. Articles about library related topics and the conference were featured in both local and national publications. Stories include a front-page article on the value of school libraries in The New York Times, a story in The Times-Picaycune on the Dollar General partnership with AASL and the Parade of Bookmobiles.

PAC Chair Rocco Staino discussed the value of the placement in The New York Times for school libraries in New York State, believing that featured stories like this will have a positive affect on New York State legislators, as well as being an asset to the new school library public awareness committee.

Committee member Kenton Oliver also pointed out his belief that articles and placements like this helped the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) in the repealing a law that prevented young people from purchasing some video games in California.


Campaign for America’s Libraries Subcommittee report 

John W. Berry, Campaign for America’s Libraries Subcommittee Chair
Megan Humphrey, Campaign Manager 

Campaign for the World’s Libraries

To date, 36 countries have become members of the Campaign for the World’s Libraries. The campaign, which is based on the Campaign for America’s Libraries, was developed to create awareness for libraries and librarians around the world. Each country that is added to the campaign has the @ your library logo translated into its national language. This spring, the Campaign for America’s Libraries worked with the United States Embassy in Poland to develop a new logo in Polish.  John Berry also noted that the logo could be an asset to the potential new ALA Polish Caucus. In total, the logo is available in 32 languages from the campaign website.

During the conference, Berry and Megan Humphrey meet with Anne Johnson from the U.S. State Department about connecting the 35 International Relations Officers (IROs) around the world with the Campaign for the World’s Libraries.  As the IRO for Brazil, Carol Brey-Casiano plans to work with Johnson to look at potential next steps.        

Dollar General: The American Dream Starts @ your library

Now in the second year of its two-year grant initiative, Dollar General has provided 73 public libraries in 23 states with $5,000 to help libraries develop and expand programming for adult English language learners. The Campaign for America’s Libraries and PIO work to promote this initiative through its media relations efforts.

Connect with your kids @ your library

Launched at the conference, Connect with your kids @ your library is the newest the Campaign for America Libraries initiative.  The target audience of parents was identified by the PAC during a strategic planning session.

Connect with your kids @ your library promotes the library as a trusted place to spend quality family time by making parents aware of all of the free programs and resources at the library for parents and children.  Lifetime Networks, which has nearly 98 million subscriber households, is the campaign's cable television media sponsor and provided ALA with a grant to develop two television public service announcements.  Lifetime will air the PSAs through 2012.  Libraries are encouraged to download the PSAs to share on their websites or blogs. Scholastic Parent & Child magazine also partnered with the Campaign on the initiative. The magazine has donated free ad space to the campaign in the magazine and will run additional ads through May 2012.                                                                                                                                                                                       

In addition to the PSAs, libraries can download the Connect with your kids @ your library Family Activity Guide.  The guide includes tips for parents and caregivers on spending quality time with their children and teens in the library, at home or out in the community.  Bookmark templates are also available. 

Librarians can download the materials from the Connect with your kids @ your library section of ALA’s public awareness website, atyourlibrary.org, by clicking on the “For Librarians” link.  The main content in the Connect with your kids @ your library section is for parents, and it will continue to expand over the course of the initiative.  

The committee was enthusiastic about Connect with your kids @ your library and provided additional recommendations for how it can be used to fold into other initiatives like Step Up to the Plate @ your library and Library Card Sign-up Month.

Additionally, the committee made recommendations on how the initiative can been expanded. Committee members agreed that the best first step would be to make the materials available in Spanish. PAC Chair Staino also proposed doing a webinar to guide librarians through the use of the Family Activity Guide. Staino also offered to host the webinar. 

I Love My Librarian Award

The nomination period for the fourth year of the Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian award was announced at the conference. This year the celebration will be bigger and better as means of celebrating the 100th anniversary of Carnegie Corporation of New York. The Campaign is working to book a special guest to speak to the attendees and winners at TheTimesCenter on December 8, 2011. All Public Awareness Committee members are encouraged to attend the event. 

The award encourages library users to recognize the accomplishments of public, school, college, community college or university librarians for their service to their communities. Up to ten winners will be selected this year and receive a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and a $500 travel stipend to attend an awards reception in New York City hosted by The New York Times. 

Staino commented that the award provides inspiring stories for librarians, library users, library advocates and the next generation of librarians.

Step Up to the Plate @ your library

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has partnered with the Campaign for America’s Libraries for a sixth season of Step Up to the Plate @ your library, an all ages baseball trivia contest. This year, Step Up to the Plate connects generations by exploring baseball’s more than 150-year history through topics like famous baseball families and legacy teams.  Trivia questions based on these themes were developed by the librarians at the Baseball Hall of Fame. This spring, Step Up to the Plate moved to atyourlibrary.org. The program concludes on September 1.  One grand prize winner will receive a trip to the Hall of Fame’s World Series Gala in October.

Regarding the partnership with the Baseball Hall of Fame the committee made several recommendations for reaching out to similar institutions, in the hopes of creating new relationships.

Kent Oliver recommended partnering with the Football Hall of Fame during football season and noted that the director is a library supporter and used to be a board member at his public library. Additional recommendations included one by Rocco Staino for a program about soccer to engage the Latino audience, and by Nancy Dowd, who recommended a partnership with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

FINRA – Smart Investing @ your library

Through the Campaign’s partnership with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation and the Reference User Services Association (RUSA), the Smart investing @ your library initiative has distributed 64 grants totaling $4.7 million. These grants support projects to improve access to quality, unbiased financial education resources and learning opportunities for library users nationwide.

Smart investing @ your library establishes tests and shares models that other libraries can adopt or adapt for their own communities. For these resources and other free tools, visit smartinvesting.ala.org

Smart investing @ your library continues in 2011.

Why I Need my Library

The second of ALA President Roberta Stevens’ presidential initiatives Why I Need My Library asked teens to tell ALA why they think libraries are needed now more than ever. This winter and spring, more than 150 groups, representing more then 600 teens from 32 states and the Marina Islands, responded by creating original videos.

At the time of the ALA conference, videos entered in the contest had received more than 33,000 views on YouTube, with the grand-prize winners having been viewed more then 10,000 times. Recently, one of the grand prize winners was featured in an article on the Huffington Post about the value of school libraries. The winning videos were also shown at the Opening General Session.

Submissions were split evenly between the two age groups (13-15 and 16-18), as well as by school and public libraries. The two grand-prize winners received $3,000 for the library of their choice.  Runners up received prizes of $1,000-$2,000 for their libraries.    

Moving forward, PAC Chair Staino recommends that video contests entries also be posted to Vimeo so school libraries, which often block YouTube, can view them and make use of them as a promotional tool.


Atyourlibrary.org is the Campaign for America’s Libraries’ website for the public that encourages the public to access the resources at their local library. The web site offers a variety of articles on topics that interest job seekers, teen and kids, people that are interested in cultural and entertainment topics, and many other topics such as financial information and health.

The site also promotes ALA initiatives like National Library Week and Library Card Sign-up Month with activities and contests for the public.


Mark Gould, Public Information Office (PIO) Director

Megan Humphrey, Campaign Manager

 Campaign for America’s Libraries Discussion

During Phase II of the Campaign for America’s Libraries, the Campaign for America’s Libraries Subcommittee, along with the Public Awareness Committee and the ALA Executive Board, decided to target the following audiences:

  • Spanish speakers
  • Parents
  • Seniors

Through these target audiences, the en tu biblioteca campaign, which focused on Latinos, and the Connect with your kids @ your library initiatives were developed.

Moving forward, the Campaign for America’s Libraries is looking at the following audiences to guide the development of new feasible and fundable initiatives.

The committee discussed campaigns to address many audiences.  Several audiences and topics of importance to the committee were:

  • Non traditional families, including:  
    • Single parent homes
    • Mixed racial families
    • GLBT
    • Children raised by grand parents
    • Teen/Tweens
      • Potential funder in publishing companies
    • Emerging adults – 18-24
      • Potential programs
        • Finding mentors, mentoring
        • Demand skilled “green” workers
    • Job seekers
    • Libraries as community spaces, for:
      • Homeless populations
      • Families in crisis
      • Libraries as places of hope
      • The library is more than just a space
      • What are people getting out of libraries
    • School Libraries
      • Themes
        • Serve all audiences
        • Concentrate on both print and electronic
        • Academic
    • New Americans and Spanish speakers  

The following audiences were selected to be of the highest priority:

  • Seniors
  • Job seekers
  • New immigrants/multicultural audiences
  • Youth: tweens, teens, emerging adults

The committee also recommended that additional funding resources be available for the Connect with your kids @ your library initiative. 


Sonia Alcantara-Antoine, Chair of the PR Assembly

PR Forum

The 2011 PR Forum took place on Sunday, June 26. Joe Murphy, a mobile technology innovator and Yale University librarian, discussed how mobile phones provide a unique opportunity for libraries to market themselves. The program received strong reviews from attendees.

The PR Assembly met to discuss next year’s PR Forum. Possible programming ideas put forward by the committee included geotagging and working internally with library IT departments to implement mobile applications.

Library Card Sign-up Month

Baseball Hall of Famer and author Cal Ripken, Jr. will serve as the Honorary Chair of Library Card Sign-up Month 2011. As the Honorary Chair, Ripken has donated his image to both a print and electronic PSA, which ALA will place in national publications and websites through the month of September.

National Library Week

Author and television host Brad Meltzer, who was engaged with the Our Authors, Our Advocates initiative, will serve as the Honorary Chair of National Library Week 2012.  During National Library Week, Meltzer tweeted daily about the value of libraries and librarians. He also has published an op-ed on the value of libraries.

Chair Staino made the recommendation that PIO create sample tweets that can be distributed to authors and other key library supports during National Library Week.


Megan McFarlane, Campaign Coordinator 

National Library Week Subcommittee

The 2012 National Library Week theme selected by ALA President-Elect Molly Raphael is You belong @ your library. The theme was developed by the National Library Week subcommittee based on Raphael’s presidential platforms of diversity and accessibility. 

During its meeting on June 26, the subcommittee chose to streamline the Scholastic Library Publishing National Library Week Grant schedule and have the application process run from mid-August to the end of October.  The subcommittee selected to condense the schedule for two reasons: first, to remind school librarians of it at the beginning of the school year, and secondly, to create a greater sense of urgency in completing the application.

John Cotton Dana Award

Member Judith Gibbons asked the committee to continue to co-sponsor the John Cotton Dana Award Ceremony by promoting the program award ceremony. Holly Clark-Carroll moved and Brenda Pruitt-Annisette seconded. 

Motion to adjourn