2008 John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award Winners Announced

PHILADELPHIA – Five libraries are winners of the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award, which recognizes and honors outstanding achievement in library public relations. The John Cotton Dana honor has been awarded continuously since 1946 and is sponsored by the H.W. Wilson Company, the H.W. Wilson Foundation, and the Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

“All of the entrants deserve praise for recognizing the important role that public relations plays in the success of library programs and the promotion of an ever-increasing array of products and services,” said award committee chair Sherrill Smith.

“The John Cotton Dana Award is the most prestigious of all library awards in the public relations field and is important not only to the winning library, but also to the communities so positively impacted by these thoughtful and imaginative campaigns.”

The 2008 awards will be presented to:

  • Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, Illinois, for Space: Dare to Dream, a dynamic interactive exhibit that was also an innovative approach to marketing traditional summer reading programs. Mounted in conjunction with the Library’s Summer Reading program, and making exemplary use of partnerships, the library leveraged the exhibit to rocket its way to record numbers for summer reading participation, as well as library card registration, materials circulation and program attendance, culminating with a live chat with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.
  • Hamilton Public Library, Hamilton, Ontario, for One Book, One City Tackling Poverty Through the Arts. This multi-faceted “one book” campaign, featuring the book Looking for X by Deborah Ellis, championed art as a common language and mobilized the community to raise public awareness about the issue of poverty. Nearly 8000 participants were reached through innovative use of partnerships to fund the campaign and engage the community,
  • Metropolitan Library Service Agency of St. Paul, Minnesota, for its Museum Adventure Pass program presented by Macy’s. The Pass transforms the library card into up to four free tickets to any of the community’s participating cultural organizations. The well-planned campaign was implemented using a broad range of public relations tactics including stunning promotional materials, generating significant media exposure, community excitement and participation.
  • Richmond Public Library in Richmond, British Columbia for creating a unique campaign that promoted the library to school age children from kindergarten to grade seven. The campaign brand was enhanced by the illustrations of local artist and illustrator Trevor Lai. The highlight of the promotion was Ralphy library card for kids, possibly the world’s first round library card.
  • University of California Santa Barbara for UCSB Reads for Earth Day 2007. Reflecting the values of the Santa Barbara community, home of the original Earth Day, the UCSB library led a campus-wide initiative to read, discuss, and even recycle (for other readers) the book Field Notes from a Catastrophe. Held in collaboration with the Santa Barbara Public Library, Patagonia Company, and many campus partners, the program reached a wide range of community members beyond the university, from high school students to Patagonia employees to users of recordings for the blind and dyslexic.

Winning entries will be displayed at the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award booth in the exhibit area during the 2008 ALA Annual Conference, June 27-July 2, in Anaheim, California. Conference participants may also view the winners Sunday, June 29, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the “Best of Show/Swap and Shop” program presented by the Public Relations and Marketing Section of LAMA.

Other members of the committee are: Denis Cunningham, Linda Holtslander, Nancy Magnuson, Patricia Marvel, Amy Shaw, Mary Anne Tricario, Tim Wadham, Evelyn Walker and Marilyn Wilt.

The mission of the Library Administration and Management Association (www.ala.org/lama) is to encourage and nurture current and future library leaders, and to develop and promote outstanding leadership and management practices. LAMA is a division of the American Library Association.

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