2016 winners of the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award

2016 winners of the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards

April 29, Chicago, IL — After many hours of deliberation – made especially challenging by the high quality of the dozens of entries in this year’s John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards – the judges announced the eight winners of this year’s contest.  Each winning library will receive a $10,000 award from EBSCO and the HW Wilson Foundation, the sponsors of this prestigious annual award. The following winners will be celebrated June 26 at an open reception during the American Library Association’s 2016 annual conference in Orlando.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library for A Library of Possibilities

To answer the question “why do we need libraries?” the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library created videos featuring the authentic stories of its patrons.  The videos were shown in ballparks, on movie screens, and via social media.  In combination with print materials, the videos increased community awareness of services, programs and collections.

Chicago Public Library Summer Learning Challenge 2015 Explore and Soar

The Chicago Public Library partnered with city government, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Adler Planetarium to create a high impact summer learning program that was very well-received by the communities it serves.  Combined with a very successful strategic communications campaign, Explore and Soar increased participation by 16% to nearly 100,000 participants.

Houston Public Library MyLink Card Campaign

Partnering with HEB-Texas, the large grocery store chain with a strong commitment to early literacy (a commitment that in this case entailed contributing more than $500,000 in advertising!), the Houston Public Library increased its cardholders by 300,000 to more than 950,000 — nearly reaching its very ambitious goal of increasing cardholders to a million.

New Orleans Public Library Millage Campaign, a Library at a Crossroads

Faced with a financial crisis and a millage proposition that could result in drastic cuts in library services, but unable to actively encourage people to vote for the proposition, the New Orleans Public Library created an informational campaign that resulted in the proposition passing by a 75% margin.  In addition, the library’s circulation, library visits, and Facebook likes also increased.

Northwestern Libraries for UnDead Tech

This short-and-sweet social media campaign crowdsourced the donation of old power cords and connecting cables to resurrect data on outdated digital devices. By the end of the zombie-themed campaign, they received 100 power cords, but more importantly raised awareness of the importance of ensuring access and preservation of data found on old laptops and cell phones.

The San Diego County Library for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

With a goal of increasing the number of kids ready for kindergarten, the San Diego County Library developed a program that engaged families and provided access to thousands of new children’s books.  The program was a resounding success, with more than 18,000 kids signing up, a 17% increase in picture book circulation and a 43% increase in early reader book circulation.

The Scholes Library at Alfred University for Harry Potter’s World

Built around the National Library of Medicine’s traveling Harry Potter exhibit, the Scholes Library created a comprehensive marketing campaign that both showcased their own collections as well as their creativity as they celebrated all things Potter in a tiered campaign that brought the entire community together.

Vancouver Public Library Inspiration Lab Launch Campaign

This launch invited the public to test drive new resources – green screen, sound studios, video production and editing and more – to inspire the community to create. Their colorful graphics showed up all over town thanks to city advertising partnerships, strengthening the library’s profiles in the region and building big buzz for the Inspiration Lab.

The winners will be celebrated June 26 at an open reception during the American Library Association’s 2016 annual conference in Orlando.

The John Cotton Dana Award honors outstanding library public relations.  Winners of the award receive a $10,000 cash award.  The program is managed by the Library Leadership and Management Association’s (LLAMA) Public Relations and Marketing Section.


The John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards are sponsored by: