Thursday, July 16, 2009

ALA Chicago Conference - PIO/PR Forum

Here are American Library Association Chicago Conference 2009 notes from the ALA PIO/PR program:

  • Alert state and local PTA to “I Love My Librarian” contest so they can nominate their local school teacher librarians. Http:// is meant for the general public and for Teacher Librarians to use for content.

  • PR Tips on

  • Dave Baum, former Chicago radio broadcaster and principal of Dave Baum Media Training Group spoke on “Using radio to deliver your messages”. Dave works with the ALA.

    • He says that regardless of market size, radio stations share the same strategy.

    • Internet radio might be a good tool for librarians.

    • Three (3) reasons people listen to radio: music, news & info, LOCAL content. LOCAL=LIBRARIES.

    • To use radio well, do your homework. Research your local radio stations; Ask yourself who you want to talk to – who is your audience?

    • How to be relevant:

      • Get in touch with ALA PR (PIO)

      • What are listeners interested in? Now it is jobs, economy. TELL STORIES. Bring out successful stories from patrons. What RESOURCES can libraries offer listeners? WORK HARD TO COLLECT STORIES.

      • Research which radio stations reach your audience; Check their websites. Contact the producer – say you have an idea for a story.

      • Check back with ALA about what you are pitching, what is your angle.

      • READ THE NEWSPAPERS so you can be relevant (radio and TV steal from newspapers).

  • Tom MacNamee, Editor, Editorial Page, Chicago Sun Times (Op-eds, letters to the editor)

    • Newspapers are changing in interesting ways. Libraries should play off news of the day (ie, economy) and DETAILS/hard facts about the local library (concrete news). Libraries need to develop a personal connection with their newspaper editors – e-mail and call. News editors respect people who KNOW and are COMMITTED to their jobs.

    • Editorial paper.

      • Editorial. In house meetings, editorial meeting goal to personally meet and discuss issues. In order to get a message across, never bring more than 3-4 people. Less is better.

      • OP-ED: 400-500 words. TELL A STORY. Find a personal story to kick off your OP-ED.

      • Letters to the Editor.

    • People primarily read papers TO BE ENTERTAINED, so tell a good story, use real people.

    • Feature stories. Most reporters are busy and some are lazy, so make it easy for them.

      • Get your ducks in a row (ex: 3 contacts or 3 examples of people to write about)

      • Give statistics that make the story.

      • Best way to get a good “spin” is to be honest, friendly, and approachable.

      • E-mail to editor to see who to contact about a story.

      • Chicago Tribune has a place for ALL local news at and once a week this appears in their print version of the paper.

  • George Eberhart, ALA's American Libraries Direct. Weekly Wednesday eNewsletter. See

    • One of the most effective marketing tools of ALA is American Libraries Direct. At one time, American Libraries Magazine filled this role. [note: I love it, but it comes too frequently!]

    • Each article has 4 parts: headline, text snippet, image, and link.

    • This is a way to market ALA products, news, etc.

    • Two (2) audiences:

      • ALA members and non-members (recently opened to non-members)

      • ALA Offices, Affinity groups, Roundtables

    • Basic facts on news.

    • Relevant graphics.

    • Re-write headlines.

    • Have ALA create a press release for your ALA event or news (CSLA news releases!)

    • Other news. Send link to (CSLA news welcome and encouraged). Send photo, logo, graphic element. Put who/what/when/where/why up front. Use headlines (i.e., mention Oprah, use lists like “top 10”, secrets of, humor, metaphors, allusions, mild exageration)

    • Put the news link on the CSLA website, blog, twitter, facebook, etc.

  • Eric Friedenwald-Fishman – The Power of VOICE. Metropolitan Group. “Why Multicultural Communication Matters.” See booklet on “Increasing Relevance, Relationships, and Results.”

    • Messages to Hispanic Community:

      • Libraries ensure that knowledge and information are free and accessible to use.

      • Libraries are critical pathways to opportunity

      • Libraries express value and values of diverse audiences through programs

  • Kevin Kirpatrick: Delivering your message via social media.

    • PROS:

      1. Cost effective

      2. Faster

      3. It is about creating relationships and conversations with people

      4. Easy to update.

      5. Ability to customize.

      6. Groups come together on affinities and expertise

      7. Profiles serve as identities

      8. Connections build networks

      9. Tweet your library!

    • Website priorities:

      1. Update frequently!!!

      2. Refresh the look and feel of site

      3. Tell stories/communicate impact

      4. Increase opportunities for interactivity – add engaging photos!

      5. Add contact information.

      6. Add tell-a-friend, twitter, Facebook page (ex – see Brampton Library)

    • How can you offer yourself as a resource?

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