Getting Your Story Told: Media Strategies for Academic, Research, and College Libraries

ACRL Preconference @ ALA Annual Conference
Friday, June 24, 2011, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 
New Orleans, Louisiana

This preconference has been cancelled due to insufficient registration.

Even in a world of Twittering and Facebook friending, mainstream media communication is an essential element for libraries seeking to position themselves as community leaders in information dissemination and research.  Newspapers, magazines, radio and television broadcasts can provide opportunities for the academic librarian to draw the attention of the public to innovation in the field and to the pivotal role played by the library in the post-secondary education of the next generation. During this interactive preconference, hone your approach to media relationship building, sketch or polish a Media Plan, and build your interview skills.

Media Planning – This portion of the preconference will focus on taking a systematic approach to preparing, focusing, delivering and evaluating a Media Relations Program in the context of an academic, research or college library. Participants will be encouraged to examine any existing Plan that they have, to improve and polish it, or to begin from a blank page, in generating new ideas for approaching newspapers, magazines, radio and television programs that may be interested in covering events and issues pertaining to the library. Time will be allocated to a goal-setting exercise geared to library priorities, and to a Question and Answer segment.   The goal-setting/strategic planning exercise will involve a break-out format in which attendees are in small groups, analyzing and addressing a media relations challenge that would be relevant to their circumstances..   

Media Interview Skills – This portion of the preconference will cover tips and best practices for interview preparation: anticipating questions; researching reporters and media outlets; managing the timing and the environment; pacing the interview; handling the follow-up and leveraging the interview. Attendees will take part in a role-play interview scenario, working in pairs and in small groups, using situations and lines of questions tailored for academic libraries and geared toward helping the participant improve the clarity of their own communication and their understanding of the reporter’s point of view and priorities.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Increase your knowledge of the reporter’s point of view, a media outlet’s requirements, and methods of establishing and maintaining a media relations program. Participants will be invited to share their own experiences with the media, and the group will brainstorm a series of tips and best practices.
  • Learn to polish an existing Media Communications Plan or generate a new one, using a goal-setting exercise specifically tailored to the priorities of academic, research and college libraries
  • Develop your media interview skills, in a series of paired question-and-answer role-play scenarios. The specific design of the training exercise will depend on the number of participants and the interests of the attendees. Participants will take home checklists to use in preparing for media interviews and in evaluating results.

Presenter: Gail Hulnick, Communications Consultant


This preconference has been cancelled due to insufficient registration.  Contact Margot Conahan at  or call 312-280-2522 with questions.