2020 PR Xchange FAQ

2020 PR Xchange Frequently Asked Questions

2020 PR Xchange Awards Competition / 2020 PR Xchange - Event
ALA Annual Conference
June 20- 25, 2020 - Chicago, IL
Co-chairs for 2020: Mark Aaron Polger and Lesli Baker


18 Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)


Q1. What is the PR Xchange Awards Competition?

The annual PR Xchange Awards Competition recognizes the very best public relations materials produced by libraries in the past year. Unlike the annual John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards, this competition evaluates the singular promotional items a library produces, not the entire campaign. This year’s competition will award and recognize original materials produced during the 2019 calendar year.

Q2. What is the PR Xchange Event at ALA Annual?

The PR Xchange Event is a drop-in style program at the ALA Annual Conference in the Exhibit Hall. It is always held the Sunday morning of the ALA Annual Conference. It’s an exciting event where libraries across the country share their library’s promotional materials (i.e. swag, etc).

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. See creative library videos, newsletters, posters, and more! Attendees can learn how to improve their own promotional materials by talking with John Cotton Dana Award Winners, PR Xchange award winners, and other Library Marketing and PR authors and experts.

Q3. Who sponsors these two programs?

The PR Xchange Committee sponsors and oversees the PR Xchange Awards Competition and the PR Xchange Event at ALA Annual. The PR Xchange Committee is a committee under the Marketing and Communications Community of Practice of the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

Q4: How do I enter the PR Xchange competition?

Printed submissions: http://bit.ly/2020-PRXchange-Awards-print

Electronic submissions: http://bit.ly/2020-PRXchange-Awards-electronic

Q5. How are the PR Xchange winners selected?

Materials are judged on the quality of content, originality, design, and format. Judges will consider criteria such as the creativity of the approach, audience appeal, presentation of information in a clear and informative way, attractive appearance, appropriateness of design/graphics/photos and uniqueness of format.

Q6. Who evaluates the work submitted?

The panel of judges from PR Xchange Awards Competition are made up of ten (10) in-person judges and ten (10) virtual judges. Judging for the PR Xchange Awards Competition is made up of volunteers who evaluate all of the materials in person and virtually.

The panel of judges represent 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.

Q7. Can I volunteer to be a judge?

For 2020, we are looking for volunteer judges in the Greater New York City area. Those selected to judge materials cannot submit any proposals for the 2020 PR Xchange Awards Competition. There are no geographic boundaries if you are interested in volunteering to be a virtual judge.

Please contact us at prxchange.awards@gmail.com if you are interested in volunteering your time.

Q8. What types of material may be submitted?

Original materials (such as brochures, newsletters, posters, bookmarks) may be submitted in print or electronic formats.

The categories for 2020 are below:

1. External Communications (newsletters, calendars, patron orientation materials, email marketing)

2. Advocacy / Fundraising / Annual Reports /Strategic Plans

3. Special Events and Exhibits

4. Reading Programs (Summer, or any season)

5. Materials promoting collections, services, resources (booklists, bibliographies, signs, postcards, flyers, swag)


Q9. What is the difference between a print and electronic submission?

Print submissions are materials that are disseminated and delivered to library users in printed format.

Electronic submissions are born digital. Examples of electronic submissions can be an online exhibit, a YouTube video, any web-based promotional item (excluding library web sites).

This year we will have 2 different proposal forms to make it easier for you!

Q10. What if I have materials that do not fit into these categories?

If you have promotional materials that do not fit into the categories, please contact the co-chairs to determine suitability for the PR Xchange awards at prxchange.awards@gmail.com

Q11. Is there a limit for the number of entries?

Please limit your submissions to no more than 5 proposals per library.

Q12. What about web sites?

The PR Xchange Awards does not accept library web sites as submissions. Although web sites 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 web site.

• A virtual exhibit on the Library web site

Q13. 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 five (5) library operating budget categories:

  1. Under $1 million
  2. $1 - $5 million
  3. $5- $10 million
  4. $10 - $15 million
  5. $15,000,000 plus


Q14. What is the entry deadline?

Entries for the PR Xchange competition must be completed and postmarked no later than April 1, 2020.

Q15. After I complete the proposal form, where do I mail my materials?

For print submissions:

Please mail three (3) copies of your entry, along with a print-out of the submission confirmation to:

2020 PR Xchange Awards Competition
c/o Mark Aaron Polger
70 East 10th street, apt. 6F
New York, NY 10003

For electronic submissions:

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 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.

Q16. When are winners notified?

Winners will be notified in early May 2020. They will be asked to submit 50-75 copies of each winning entry for display and distribution during the PR Xchange event at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, IL

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.

Q17. Where do I send PR materials to the PR Xchange event?

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 2020) to be posted on the LLAMA web site and across many library listservs.

Q18. When does the PR Xchange event / PR Xchange awards ceremony take place?

The PR Xchange event will be held on Sunday June 28, 2020 from 11:00am to 1:00pm in the Special Events Area inside the ALA Exhibit Hall. The PR Xchange Awards ceremony will be held from 1:00pm-2:00pm in the same space.

Both the PR Xchange event and the awards ceremony will be held in the Exhibit Hall in the Special Events Area. Large signage will direct you to the event space. Check the final ALA Annual Conference Program for the exact location. The co-chairs will be checking email at the conference so they can also help you. Email us at prxchange.awards@gmail.com and we will be able to reply right away.