Carnegie Corporation awards ALA $280,000 for public outreach

Contact: Leonard Kniffel

Editor, American Libraries

(312) 280-4215

lkniffel@ala.org

NEWS

For Immediate Release

July 8, 2008

Carnegie Corporation awards ALA $270,000 for public outreach

Funding will enhance “I Love Libraries” website as well as public awareness of library, programs, services, and resources

CHICAGO - Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded the American Library Association $270,000 to support ALA’s outreach directly to the public to engage more people of every age in the world of knowledge and adventure available at their libraries. The award was also made to raise awareness of the value of library services to public audiences that may not know the range and variety of library resources, and to tap new technologies in gathering, producing, and disseminating this information.

“The ALA celebrates the transformative power of libraries,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “The Association’s continued advocacy will help to better inform the public about these wondrous centers of civic life and the knowledge, education, culture, and many other benefits and services libraries offer their communities. By championing these marvels of the American civic landscape, the Association is helping to uplift the spirit and, in the process, ease the struggles of daily life.”

Several ALA units, including the Public Programs Office, American Libraries magazine, and the Office for Library Advocacy will collaborate in the project, which will develop news stories, videos, tips, and events highlighting library resources and libraries around the country through the “I Love Libraries” website, as well as through social networking sites and other online and viral marketing.

“Library use today is widespread and growing, but there is still much about libraries that remains untapped,” says Leonard Kniffel, project manager and editor of American Libraries, the ALA member magazine. “This project gives us the opportunity to reach new audiences and deepen the experience for existing library users.”

The project outreach will significantly augment both the content and delivery of information for the public and engage them in new ways at their libraries. Content will feature high-quality design and editorial, and be widely disseminated. Features will be current and accurate, presented in any easy-to-use digest format, invite feedback and responses, and emphasize what libraries offer their users—in person and online.

“ALA’s Communications group will use all the tools at its disposal to solicit and collate stories from libraries,” says ALA Associate Executive Director Cathleen Bourdon, “and work with ALA Publishing and outside interactive technology vendors to craft these into stories and messages for public audiences.”

The two groups will work together to disseminate this information to the public through a variety of media. One of the hallmarks of the new generation of Internet users is that they look for information in new ways. In addition to dissemination through www.ilovelibraries.org, which is already receiving 9,000 distinct sessions monthly, content will also be available on ALA-sponsored sites and feeds, additional national library sites, local library sites, and public sites, such as YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and others.

“We are pleased and excited by this support from Carnegie Corporation,” says ALA Executive Director Keith M. Fiels. “Our two organizations share a historical interest in libraries and this project brings that support full circle.”