By John L. Amundsen, ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services
ALAâ€™s Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) and the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) collaborate every year to assemble free downloadable and customizable resources to aid libraries as they plan their National Bookmobile Day activities and events.
Weâ€™d like to share with you some ways that you can make the most out of the free National Bookmobile Day resources available at www.ala.org/bookmobiles. This post will be the first in a weekly series that explains all of these resources and highlights notable examples of how theyâ€™ve been used in the past. This week, weâ€™ll focus on the press release, proclamation, and letter-to-the-editor templates.
Marketing your NBD Events
As mentioned above, we've developed templates for libraries to issue a press release, letter-to-the-editor, and proclamation. All three of these documents are ready-made, meaning all you need to do is to add information about designated contact, library name, quote from local dignitary/library representative/etc., and any additional information you wish to include.
Before you move forward, you should ask yourself these questions:
- Does your library have a PR department or designated publicity staffer?
- Does your library have an established procedure for approving news items?
- Do you have a designated spokesperson who can answer questions about the event, the bookmobile, and the library?
- What local media outlets do you want to target?
Once youâ€™ve answered these questions, you can move forward and develop an outreach plan which will outline deadlines and tactics.
Press Release Template â€“ A press release is one of the basic tools you can use to reach out to local media and communicate news from your library. Once completed, the National Bookmobile Day release template is ready to be disseminated to local media outlets as news items.
In the event that your library system already has a PR department or designated publicity staffer, you can submit your release with them and take advantage of any pre-existing relationships that the department or staffer already has with the local media. Be sure that the department or staffer and spokesperson have talking points and information about the event â€“ which can be downloaded at www.ala.org/bookmobiles.
Here are some examples of placed press release templates from previous NBD celebrations:
If your library lacks a PR department or designated staffer, you can do a quick scan of what outlets are there in your community. Once youâ€™ve identified your local news outlets, look up the contact information for either the city or news desks and call the editor(s) and call them, introducing yourself as a representative of the library, apprising them of your library, your bookmobile, and the upcoming National Bookmobile Day festivities in your town. Building such relationships with local media can prove to be very valuable down the road.
Letter-to-the-Editor Template - Â Weâ€™ve prepared a National Bookmobile Day Op-ed template for libraries to submit on behalf of a library or community leader that speaks to the occasion. Much like the press release template, the Op-ed template only needs designated contact information, an author to attribute it to, and any other information that you wish to include.
The procedures for placing an op-ed vary from outlet to outlet; you can either consult with your PR department or staffer if you have one, or contact the outlet directly â€“ either through the city or news desk â€“ and ask for information on submitting an op-ed article.
Proclamation Template - Want to make your National Bookmobile Day celebrations truly official? Consider approaching your local government officials and request that they proclaim National Bookmobile Day! Weâ€™ve developed a proclamation template which is ready to download at www.ala.org/bookmboiles.
Here are some examples of proclamations from past NBD events:
Additional Publicity Resources
Advocacy Clearinghouse â€“ Media & Messaging
Library Advocateâ€™s Handbook
ALA Communications Handbook for Libraries
Share your Story!
Be sure to share your National Bookmobile Day stories, including programming ideas, media placements, and anything else of interest â€“ either on the ABOS list, through the National Bookmobile Day Facebook fan page, Twitter (@bookmobileday, hashtag: #NBD2013), and the National Bookmobile Day Wiki on www.ala.org/bookmobiles.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? For assistance, please contact the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4294 between 9:00am and 5:00pm Central Time, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.