I love living and working in an urban environment. Between never having to drive to work, having my pick of a million places to have lunch, my summer time walks to the farmer's market outside of the Museum of Modern Art, and the amazing network I've been able to develop - I feel like it would be hard for me to ever leave the city. One of our biggest benefits is the number of libraries (public, special, and academic) in our vicinity. There are over 30 degree granting institutions in the city (City Colleges, Private and Public Universities, Graduate Degree only - and for-profit schools on top of that!) and dozens more in the suburban area. Add in all the public libraries, the ALA and ILA offices, and other special interest organizations and I can hardly go a week without having a professional development or networking meeting in our area - and I wouldn't have it any other way. Unfortunately, along with all of these amazing benefits, unique challenges arise.
Many libraries have taken the initiative to create videos. Whether they are promotional, tutorials, or just plain fun - videos can be an engaging way to reach a wide audience in an on-demand format. I'm a huge fan of incorporating videos into the library's regular promotional strategy. A few key items should be decided on before a large-scale video implementation project takes place. An easy way to develop a strategy for library video content is to rely on the 4 P's of Marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.
The 2016 PR Xchange Awards Competition recognizes the very best promotional materials produced by libraries in the past year. The PR Xchange Awards Competition is sponsored by the Public Relations and Marketing Section (PRMS) of the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The PR Xchange Awards Competition is overseen by the PR Xchange Committee.
Submit your proposals online by March 15, 2016 http://tinyurl.com/prxchange-awards-2016
Read about the 2016 PR Xchange Awards Competition http://www.prxchangeawards.org
Check out the Frequently Asked Questions http://tinyurl.com/2016-prxchange-awards-FAQ
Categories for 2016
1. Advocacy materials
2. Annual Reports/Strategic Plans, List of Events, Calendars, Newsletters
3. Bibliographies/Booklists, Materials promoting Collections, Services, or Resources
4. Fundraising materials
5. Patron orientation materials
6. Reading program themes (all ages)
7. Special Programs & Exhibits
Submit Your Work
Please complete the online submission form at http://tinyurl.com/prxchange-awards-2016 by March 15, 2016.
Each library may submit a maximum of 7 entries. If you are submitting a printed work, please print out the confirmation email and mail it along with 3 hard copies of the work to:
2016 PR Xchange Awards Competition
c/o Laura Tomcik
Buswell Library/Wheaton College
501 East College Ave.
Wheaton, IL 60187
Submissions that are born digital should be submitted as electronic submissions. Electronic submissions do not require a printed copy to be mailed.
Winners will be notified by email in early May 2016. Winning entries will be on display during the PR Xchange Event during the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. The PR Xchange Awards Co-Chairs will contact all those who submitted an entry. Awards will be presented to the winners at the PR Xchange Awards ceremony following the PR Xchange Event in the same space. Award winners need not be present to win, but are encouraged to attend.
About the PR Xchange Event at ALA Annual
The PR Xchange is a drop-in style event at the ALA Annual Conference. It will be held in the morning on Sunday June 26, 2016 at the ALA Conference Exhibit Hall, Special Events Area. It’s an exciting event where libraries across the country share their PR and marketing ideas. View and take free copies of award-winning promotional materials from the juried PR Xchange awards, as well as promotional materials from libraries across North America. Attendees can learn how to improve their own promotional materials by talking with John Cotton Dana Award Winners, PR Xchange award winners, and other Library Marketing authors and experts.
The PR Xchange Event and the PR Xchange Awards Competition are both overseen by the PR Xchange Committee.
Best of luck to all participants!
Mark Aaron Polger and Laura Tomcik
2016 PR Xchange Awards Co-chairs
PR Xchange Committee
Public Relations & Marketing Section (PRMS)
Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA)
American Library Association (ALA)
Up until very recently, our organizational systems were improvised checklists, either typed up or even hand-written, and stored locally, on our own computers. We do have a hot ticket system in place for staff to spell out (in words) inter-departmental work requests. However this didn't solve the issue of needing to have an overview, both during the planning stages and in the middle of a season. Computer platforms are different as well so the mechanics of sharing files has proven tricky in some instances. I'm working on a Macintosh island in a sea of PCs.
With Trello I now have a way to clearly distinguish between event-related content, season-long promotions, and evergreen content.
We take lots of still pictures at our library. We post them on social media, we put them in our newsletter. We submit them to the local media. But we had never produced a video. With our big fundraiser coming up, we thought it was an ideal time to try to capture the essence of our library in a video we could showcase at the event.
The only thing I love more than creative advertising is a creative program to be advertised. I will also be honest - I am a huge Microsoft fan. I am a proud owner of a first generation Surface, HTC One M8, Xbox 360, and a series of new and old desktops and laptops. The seamless integration of all the devices is enough to make me a fan, but this is not a technology post - this is all about Microsoft's brilliant new advertisement for services.
Each year we try to entice students to visit the library in a number of ways; we start with incoming Freshman during orientations. We are a regular participant in LUCO - Loyola University Chicago Orientation - which takes place several times each summer starting in May and ending in August. Our Freshman classes have been increasing every year for the past decade, so there are typically several sessions of orientations to accommodate the roughly 3,000 new students (first years and transfers).
I think librarians, for years, have been fighting against many stereotypes. One stereotype that we have been actively working to overcome is that research has to be difficult, or that Google is superior to libraries because of the convenience.
However, librarians aren't always successful in combating this misconception. We have adopted all of the right tools (videos, social media, blogs, etc) but the execution can sometimes be flawed. Another lesson from the Experian Marketing Forward Tour is the idea of creating "snackable" content.
This may seem a bit off-putting, and even counter-intuitive at first, but there is something to be said about removing the library from the locus of your programming. Let me explain...
Last year while working with a group of public library marketing specialists we started discussing recent programming that failed to meet expectations. These unsuccessful programs either had low attendance, poor performance, or did not meet patron expectations. One program that was discussed in detail had been created and managed by a library's Youth Services department. The program, aimed at Kindergarten readiness, was named something along the lines of "1,000 Books Before Kindergarten." It was designed based off of literature written by educational experts that essentially proved that ready at that rate will put students ahead in school at a very young age.
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