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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My 'Musts' for ALA

I've been to lots of American Library Association (ALA) conferences--15 at least--and there are certain events that are "musts" for me as a marketing / PR person. I'll share my favorites.

Sunday is always my big marketing day, and it starts early: 

8am - 10am: PR Forum. This annual event is always packed; so get there early. This year it's coordinated by the PR Assembly, a subcommittee of the ALA Public Awareness Committee. Each year has a different speaker & topic. This year it'll be the incredibly smart Tom Peters, assistant dean for strategic initiatives at Illinois State University. "Peters will discuss how to implement emerging technologies, including mobile technology, in your library through collaboration. The program will also address how technologies can be implemented successfully with attention to time and budget management." 

11am - 1:30pm: PR Xchange (formerly called Swap & Shop). Another annual event that's where all the cool PR kids hang out. Organized by LLAMA's Public Relations & Management Section, it's a big space with tables full of sample marketing / PR materials from all around the country. You can walk around and take copies of whichever ones you like. The idea is to take home samples of these good works to help in creating your own materials. The PR Xchange also showcases the John Cotton Dana Awards winners for you to study, and hosts the Best of Show awards for PR materials. (complete listing of this year’s BoS winners is available on the LLAMA website.) There are talk tables and a few vendors, marketing books, etc. And I always have a table there where I give out sample issues of Marketing Library Services newsletter, sell copies of my book The Accidental Library Marketer, and answer questions. This year, there will also be demos of NoveList's new Library Aware product. 

4:30pm - 6pm: John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards. This is the biggest gala for the most important PR award in the US. JCD was sponsored by HW Wilson for more than 50 years. Now that Wilson has been absorbed by EBSCO, thankfully, the contest continues. As a vendor event, the awards gala isn't listed in the program, but watch this blog and PR lists for news & invitations to the event. Since I always cover it, I've found out about the timeslot already, and I know it will be in a hotel outside the convention center. 

And these three events are just the MUSTS that I attend annually. There are many regular sessions that cover PR, marketing, fundraising, and advocacy. You'll find them sprinkled throughout the program. 

But wait, there's more!

Monday, 8am - 10am: Library Marketing Unprogram. Last year I attended this new event, and it's repeating this year. It's an "unprogram," where people sit together at tables to briefly discuss whatever questions they pose. You can help choose multiple discussion topics, then sit at the tables that are discussing your favorites. Each table / group then shares its main points. So if you want to talk about certain marketing topics with a handful of like-minded folks, this is the place for you! It's also a great way to meet a number of people in a short time. 

And finally, something totally new that I'm eager to check out this year:

12 - 4:30pm Saturday AND 12 - 3:30pm Sunday: Advocacy Corner. This is a 2-day series of 30-minute talks on various advocacy-related topics. National and local library leaders will discuss legislative tips, statistics, fundraising, building community, communication, and more. You'll want to check the full schedule here. With 8 hours of short, drop-by programs, you can surely make time to catch at least one that interests you. I can recommend some of the speakers that I've heard at other conferences: 
* Stephanie Vance on DC Insider Strategies 
* Peter Pearson on Grassroots Advocacy for funding
* Stephanie Gerding on Turning the Page 2.0
* Dr. Ken Haycock on Power of Persuasion

Aside from all of this, I have a handful of other "regular sessions" that I aim to cover and to attend for my own information. I find ALA a wonderful conference for discovering what others are doing, for making great face-to-face connections, for learning a lot about current practices in librarianship, for absorbing new marketing info, and for getting reinvigorated about my work. In between, I try to find a little time for eating, sleeping, and occasional sightseeing. 

Nancy will be there too, attending some of the same events and talking about Library Aware in EBSCO Booth #1428. We hope lots of our readers will be at ALA 12 in Anaheim, Calif. and we invite you all to come find us and say Hello!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shout out to the PR Forum!