New Marketing Trends

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries

The M Word helps librarians learn about marketing trends and ideas.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

PR Xchange & Best of Show Awards at ALA '13

ALA's 2013 Annual Conference was in Chicago this year, which is always a great host city. I networked with colleagues new & old, attended lots of great sessions, and took more than 300 photos. In this post I want to focus on the PR Xchange event and its accompanying Best of Show awards.

The PRX and BoS duo has become a staple of my ALA Sundays because it's one of the main events where library promoters gather. The PR Xchange is scheduled smartly; it's open from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. so busy conference-goers can wander in during any of that time. It has three main activities:

1. The actual exchange of PR materials: There are tables piled with sample materials that guests can look at and take home to learn from and to emulate. Different tables hold different materials, including annual reports, calendars of events, fundraising materials, and reading program items. (See photo above.)

Part of my table display 
2. Vendor tables: There are always a few tables of marketing-type people to visit. Over the years they've included "PR Docs" who would give feedback on PR materials, promo-product manufacturers with displays and samples, representatives of ALA initiatives such as the "@ your library" campaign, authors selling and signing their marketing books, and John Cotton Dana award winners. I'm there too, giving out sample copies of Marketing Library Services newsletter.

Giving out the BoS awards, L-R: Jamie Hazlitt,
Rebecca Metzger, and Mark Aaron Polger
3. Best of Show Awards: These awards recognize the very best public relations materials produced by libraries in the past year. Winners of the BoS awards are all displayed on posterboards to be studied. And those award certificates are given at a ceremony there between 12:30 and 1 p.m.

There's a list of the 2013 BoS winners here, and photos of all of them here. Having a set of photos on Flickr is new this year, and it's a great accomplishment because it allows everyone to see the good stuff. Many of those photos also have links to more details or complete documents on the project pictured, which makes this an even more valuable tool for studying award-worthy material. I'd like to congratulate the hard-working committee members on these giant steps forward! (Tip o' the Hat to co-chairs Jamie Hazlitt and Rebecca Metzger!)

Part of the crowd at the Best of Show award ceremony

A BoS winner on display

I always enjoy having a table at the Xchange, because I get to meet people who have read my Accidental Marketer book, answer all sorts of questions, and pass out samples of the Marketing Library Services newsletter that I edit. It's always a great time to make new connections and to renew old ones. Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

The Craighead County,
Arkansas, creative team.
This year, my neighbors at the next table were that rowdy gang from Craighead County Jonesboro PL in Arkansas. They won a John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award for their campaign using the "someecards" meme, which has gotten them lots of publicity.

This year's event was not as heavily attended as in the past, reflecting how conference attendance numbers have been falling all over. But those who made it had plenty to learn from.

The Best of Show competition and the PR Xchange are set up by PR Xchange committee of the Public Relations and Marketing Section (PRMS) of ALA's Library Leadership Administration and Management Association (LLAMA). You can learn more here

No comments: