John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award

About the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award The John Cotton Dana Award honors outstanding strategic communication for libraries: the art and craft of getting the right message to the right audience at the right time, and getting the right results. These awards are an outgrowth of the Library Publicity Honor Roll, 1939-42 given in behalf of the Wilson Library Bulletin and the A.L.A. Public Relations Committee.

Additional information about John Cotton Dana, the competition, and H.W. Wilson are available on the award's website

Administered by:

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2011 Recipient(s)

Anythink Libraries of Adams County, CO

Built a “library of the future” responding to a voter approved funding increase.  A new customer service philosophy and branding increased population awareness and use in all areas, including a 42% increase in cardholders and 66% increase in visitors.  The distinct Anythink name and orange swirl has become a nationally recognized signature for the library.

Loudoun County Public Library, Leesburg, VA

 Awarded for “Try Poetry” – a year of building community through the borderless conversation of poetry.  The program developed a long partnership with the public school system, created a unique relationship with the juvenile detention center and offered a variety of captivating presentations to the community.  Extensive media coverage in the Washington Post and other outlets, as well as highly respected authors, poets and actors helped to inform and excite all ages of the community.

The Edmonton Public Library, Edmonton, Alberta

Awarded for “Rebranding the Edmonton Public Library,” a masterful blending of the work of professional designers and library staff that let each do what they do best. The  simple, stylish logo and the slogan “Spread the words” were taken by library staff and customers and used in a guerilla marketing strategy that was impossible to ignore and hard to resist. The success of this campaign was built on a strong foundation of shared values, clear assessment, strategic marketing, and a committed and enthusiastic library staff. The result was a colorful, adaptable, effective campaign that also happens to be a lot of fun.

The University of California Santa Cruz Library

Awarded for its hugely successful campaign surrounding its acquisition of the Grateful Dead archives.  In addition to coverage in many national newspapers and magazines from the Wall Street Journal to Rolling Stone, the library’s Facebook page for this archive has over 48,000 friends – second only to the Grateful Dead’s own web page – and they have received  $1.5 million in donations. 

Worthington Libraries, Worthington, Ohio

Awarded for “Find Yourself Here” rebranding campaign, a unique, informative and fun way to position the library as an information source and inviting destination.  Beginning with staff communications guidelines and expanding to service provision, the library was positioned as a place where everyone belongs and is accepted.  The net result was a 35% increase in online homework usage and a 36% increase in the circulation of downloadable books.