Public Awareness and Media Relations

ALA provides a public awareness campaign, “@ your library®” to help educate the public about the value of libraries.

The Campaign for America's Libraries is a multi-year public education and advocacy campaign sponsored by the American Library Association and libraries across the country to speak loudly and clearly about the value of libraries and librarians in the 21st century. It is designed to showcase the unique and vital roles played by public, school, academic and special libraries nationwide.  
The Campaign for America's Libraries was developed in response to research that shows that 1) libraries are popular but are often taken for granted; 2) libraries are rooted in nearly every community, including schools, campuses and businesses across the country, but are often not visible; 3) libraries are unique but are challenged to articulate that uniqueness in an information age transformed by new technology such as the Internet.
The campaign targets the general public-parents, children, students, senior citizens, business people; educators, school boards and administrators; policy makers and opinion leaders; librarians and those who are considering the library profession; the media; and strategic partners.  All types of libraries have embraced the campaign, highlighting their unique programs, services, and technologies and telling their own exciting stories.  

Some statistics:

• Last year, nearly 2,500 libraries of all types used tools from the “@ your library®” campaign to promote their services in their community.
• In 2009, ALA placed Public Service Announcements valued at more than $2 million in national magazines such as Entertainment Weekly, Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated for Kids, O, the Oprah Magazine, People, TV Guide, U.S. News and World Report, Parents, Redbook, Glamour, Ms., Prevention, Vogue, and more.
• The “@ your library®” brand is being featured on the back panel of Safeway-brand cereal boxes available in approximately 1,500 stores in the U.S.
• The “@ your library®” logo is available for download in twenty-five languages.

Media Relations

ALA works to increase the visibility of libraries, library workers and library issues through our Public Information Office.

  • Last year, ALA placed stories about the surge in library usage in economic hard times on NBC Nightly News, CBS News, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, MSNBC, and CNN. housands of libraries participated in Banned Books Week resulting in stories in the Huffington Post, Seattle Post, Chicago Tribune, New York Times and PBS NOW. 
  • ALA works with celebrities to serve as honorary chairpersons of National Library Week (Julie Andrews, Jamie Lee Curtis, Neil Gaiman) and Library Card Sign-Up Month (Candace Parker, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dwyane Wade).
  • The ALA Youth Media Awards receive extensive national media coverage including reports in USA Today, New York Times, the Today Show, and National Public Radio. ALA and YALSA arranged radio interviews throughout the country to promote Teen Read Week.
  • ALA worked with Univision Radio to air Spanish-language PSAs about the value of libraries and librarians in 13 of the country’s top Latino markets – Albuquerque; Austin, Texas; Chicago, El Paso, Texas; Houston; Fresno, Calif.; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; New York; Miami; Phoenix; San Antonio, Texas; and San Francisco.

How you can get involved

Many divisions have committees that focus on public awareness for particular parts of the profession.  You are invited to volunteer for these committees, along with the ALA Public Awareness Committee, to participate personally in this work. 

AASL School Libraries Month Committee

ALSC Public Awareness Committee

ACRL Committee on Status of Academic Librarians

LITA Technology and Access Committee

YALSA Youth Participation Committee