The annual PR Xchange Awards Competition recognizes the very best public relations materials produced by libraries in the past year. Entries are evaluated on content, originality, and design by a team of experts in public relations, graphic design, communications, and marketing, who select the winner(s) in each category. Unlike the annual John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards, this competition evaluates the singular promotional items a library produces, not the entire campaign.
Applications open on November 15 each year. The deadline to submit materials for consideration for the current year is March 15.
At each ALA Annual Conference, there are two sessions celebrating the PR Xchange Awards.
- The PR Xchange Event is a drop-in style program held on Sunday from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm. Check the conference scheduler for the room location. It’s an exciting event in which libraries from across the country share their libraries’ promotional materials (i.e. swag, etc.). Conference participants are invited to view and take free copies of award-winning PR materials from the juried PR Xchange Awards, as well as promotional materials from libraries across North America. Participants have the opportunity to view creative library videos, newsletters, posters, and other promotional materials, and learn how to improve their own materials by talking with John Cotton Dana Award Winners, PR Xchange Award winners, and other Library Marketing and PR authors and experts.
- The PR Xchange Awards ceremony follows on Sunday from 1:00-2:00 pm in the same space.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How are the PR Xchange winners selected?
2. Who evaluates the work submitted?
The panel of judges is made up of 10 in-person judges and ten 10 virtual judges, all of whom are volunteers. The panel represents a diverse group of experts in the areas of marketing, communications, public relations, and graphic design. They are not members of the PR Xchange Committee or the co-chairs of the Awards Competition.
3. What types of material may be submitted?
Original materials (such as brochures, newsletters, posters, bookmarks) may be submitted in electronic formats. Please submit singular promotional items, not your library’s marketing campaign. Library Marketing Campaigns may contain many promotional items. The PR Xchange Awards is a contest that evaluates one singular promotional item.
If you have questions about whether a particular item can be submitted to the competition, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The categories are:
- External Communications (newsletters, calendars, patron orientation materials, email marketing);
- Advocacy / Fundraising / Annual Reports /Strategic Plans;
- Special Events and Exhibits;
- Reading Programs (Summer, or any season);
- Materials promoting collections, services, or resources (booklists, bibliographies, signs, postcards, flyers, swag).
4. What types of submissions are accepted?
5. What if I have materials that do not fit into these categories?
6. Is there a limit for the number of entries?
7. What about websites?
The PR Xchange Awards do not accept library websites as submissions. Although they are an important part of your marketing efforts, they are excluded from the competition.
However, the following web-based examples are accepted:
- An orientation video that resides on the Library website.
- A virtual exhibit on the Library website.
8. What are the operating budget divisions from which winners are selected?
Winners in each category will be selected in the following library operating budget (not promotional campaign budget) divisions.
There are 5 library operating budget categories:
- Under $1 million
- $1 - $5 million
- $5- $10 million
- $10 - $15 million
9. What is the entry deadline?
Electronic submissions are the only type of material we accept.
Please upload a file (or include the URL) at the end of the online application process.
Please limit your proposals to a total of 5 entries per library. Please submit single promotional items, not your library’s marketing campaign. Library campaigns may contain many promotional items. However, the PR Xchange Awards Competition is a contest that evaluates one singular promotional item.
10. When are winners notified?
Winners are notified in early May. They will be asked to submit 50-75 copies of each winning entry for display and distribution during the PR Xchange event at that year's ALA Annual Conference.
The notification will include the address to which the copies should be sent and directions for preparing the mailings. Winners will also have their winning materials displayed and they will be invited to present their work at the PR Xchange event.
Winners will also receive their award certificates at the PR Xchange Awards ceremony held during the ALA Annual Conference. We encourage winners (or another library representative) to attend this event to accept their award.
11. When does the PR Xchange Event / PR Xchange Awards ceremony take place?
The PR Xchange Event is traditionally held on Sunday from 11:00am -1:00pm at the ALA Annual Conference. The PR Xchange Awards ceremony is on Sunday afternoon from 1:00 - 2:00pm in the same space. Please check the conference scheduler to confirm the day, time, and location for this year's events.
The co-chairs will be checking email at the conference so that they can also help you. Email us at email@example.com, and we will be able to reply right away.
12. Where do I send my library’s promotional materials to the PR Xchange Event?
If your promotional materials are in print, please mail extra copies of your library’s promotional materials to the ALA Conference site, even if your library did not win a PR Xchange Award.
Mailing information (including a special mailing label) will be sent out in the weeks prior to the ALA Annual Conference. Look for information regarding mailing labels (in May) to be posted on the Core website and across many library mailing lists.
13. Can I volunteer to be a judge?
We are actively looking for virtual judges as the submission materials will be digital this year. If you choose to be a judge, you cannot submit any materials on behalf of your library for that year.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in volunteering your time.
Still have questions? Contact co-chairs Mark Aaron Polger at email@example.com for help. We also check this email during the ALA Annual Conference.