E-Book Media and Communications Toolkit

Since January 2012, the ALA Digital Content & Libraries Working Group has focused on e-book library lending – particularly around major publishers that refuse to offer their titles through our nation’s libraries, have dramatically raised prices, or have introduced new restrictions. And we have made some progress. As of April 2013, all of the “Big Six” publishers are now engaged in library e-lending pilots or provide some/all of their titles for purchase by libraries. (See FAQ for details.)

tablet graphic While there has been some movement, it is not enough. Librarians and our allies must speak out forcefully in communities across the country. Everyone needs to know that libraries offer e-books and 21st century library services, but we are unable to offer all the e-reading choices our patrons need because some publishers still restrict access. ALA provides this toolkit of resources to support your efforts to address this national problem.

Among the tools are templates and guidelines for using them with editorial and news media contacts, news hooks you can use locally, tips for relationship building with media contacts, and links to examples of e-book-related editorials and news stories.

We will continue to add and update materials as quickly as possible, but we also urge you to stay informed on this swiftly changing landscape. The American Libraries E-Content blog and ALA Transforming Libraries website provide the latest breaking news, as well as information about new studies and reports.

We know conversations extend beyond the media, as well, and we encourage you to keep your patrons and community leaders informed and connect with state and local peers to promote library-friendly options.

Please share your questions, successful news placements, tips and suggestions for additional content by emailing dcwg-input@ala.org.

Communications Handbook

Media relations handbook for libraries

E-book Action: Inform and Inspire Your Community

E-book action webinar (archive) from the Public Library Association
Featuring Jo Budler, Kansas State Library; Lisa Bitney and Mary Getchell, Pierce County (Wash.) Library System; Vailey Oehlke, Multnomah County (Ore.) Libraries; and Larra Clark, ALA Office for Information Technology Policy

Frequently asked questions

E-books and Libraries FAQ (.html)

Lending terms of the "Big Six" publishing groups (.pdf)

Outreach to editorial page contacts

Op-ed template: Today’s Libraries Connect (E-)Readers but Face Challenges (.doc)
Letter to the editor template (.doc)

Examples of e-book-related op-eds and editorials

Wicomico Public Library in delmarvanow.com: Why the public library is still an important resource
ALA op-ed in Huffington Post: Publishers Long Overdue in Offering Libraries eBook Titles
Free Library of Philadelphia op-ed at Philly.com: Push publishers to let libraries lend e-books
NJ.com editorial: Mercer County libraries provide help to residents learning about e-book options
Philadelphia Inquirer editorial: Libraries need e-books, too
Pierce County Libraries op-ed in The News Tribune (Seattle/ Tacoma): Publishers being Scrooges when it comes to e-books
La Grange Public Library op-ed in Suburban Life Media: Today’s libraries connect e-readers but face roadblock
ALA letter to the editor in New York Times: Libraries and Authors

Outreach to news reporters

Guidelines and potential news hooks (.pdf)
Press release template: Library Builds Digital Collections, Resources (.doc)

Examples of e-book-related news stories

Forbes.com: What's new with Libraries and Ebooks? In conversation with the ALA
Portland Tribune: Libraries pay price for ebook ‘friction’
The Chieftain: E-books for everybody? Libraries struggle to provide digital books
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Libraries let patrons check out an iPad, or granddad’s history
Glenwood Springs Post-Independent: Garfield County Libraries, e-books and the future
Wausau Daily Herald: Libraries adjust to an e-book world

ALA media clips report on e-book lending (.pdf) - Media takes note of E-book lending issue in 2012

Outreach to radio stations

PSA scripts (.doc)

Outreach via social media

Guidance for Using Your Web Presence
How Kansans Made Ebook Inequity Go Viral on Facebook

Kansas State Library: The Big Six – eBooks in Libraries Facebook page


Percent of libraries offering e-books     
E-books and libraries infographic
Why people like to read

Additional data resources

Pew Internet Project research on libraries
ALA backgrounder on “Libraries, Patrons and E-books” research findings (.pdf)
OverDrive survey finds library patrons buy e-books       
Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study