2009 John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards Announced

DENVER – Six 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 Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). It is considered to be the most prestigious of all library awards in the field of public relations.

“The judges enjoyed reviewing the many submissions and were impressed by the quality and creativity of the public relations campaigns being executed by libraries of all types and sizes from across the country and Canada,” said award committee chair, Linda Holtslander. “Public relations and marketing efforts are more important now, than ever, to communicate the many valuable services and programs provided by libraries to meet the increasing needs of their customers in these challenging economic times.”

Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, Maryland, for “Storyville: An Interactive Early Literacy Learning Center” housed in a 2,250 square-foot child sized village. Storyville, a joint project of the Foundation for Baltimore County Public Library and the library, was designed as a catalyst for school readiness that garnered national attention and made learning fun for preschoolers and their caregivers. During an eight-month period, Storyville attracted over 50,000 visitors from more than 100 different zip codes.

Gwinnett County Public Library, for a brilliantly planned and implemented reading festival with more than 50 authors that attracted more than 4,500 people. The library collaborated with 46 community partners and garnered in-kind media sponsors totaling more than $67,000. An impressive variety of communications mediums were used to spread the word about the event including outdoor ads, blogs, and electronic and print media.

Houston Public Library, Houston Texas, for “A New Chapter,” their public relations campaign for the grand reopening of the newly renovated Houston Central Library. Recognizing that this event marked “a big step in a new direction” for the library, they leveraged this event into a successful ongoing campaign featuring striking graphics reflecting images of Houston’s diversity, earning significant media coverage, attracting 20,000 people to the reopening event and increasing usage by non-traditional customers.

The Library Foundation of the Multnomah County Library Portland Oregon, for the “Campaign for a Lifetime of Literacy.” The Foundation and the staff of Multnomah County Public Library developed a five year dual communication and fundraising campaign. They raised awareness that the library was the early literacy leader in the community and branded the library as a dynamic, vital literacy partner. They exceeded their goals by raising $12 million dollars, attracting 50,000 kids to their summer reading program and earned the support and recognition of the community and its leaders.

St. Paul Public Library, for “St. Paul-itics,” a dynamic program created to inform and engage citizens in the political convention and election season. In partnership with diverse political, arts, and religious organizations, the library served as a vibrant salon for civic discourse, presenting 40 programs targeting all age groups, featuring national political experts as well as local celebrities. St. Paul-itics revolutionized the role of the library in the community, increasing program attendance, public awareness, and online library access.

Ypsilanti District Library, for the “Second Annual Ypsilanti Songwriting Festival,” a unique public library program which used music and performing arts to appeal to non-library users, teens and men ages 18-45. Creative, nontraditional marketing strategies and community partners helped the Library reach the targeted demographic: 75% of attendees at events were men.

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