Contact: Steve Zalusky
Manager of Communications, PIO
(312) 280-1546

For Immediate Release
June 24, 2008

Public Awareness Committee Chair discusses value of public awareness

CHICAGO ­­­­–Judith Gibbons, ALA’s Public Awareness Committee chair, discusses the importance of public awareness activities in the latest video on the American Library Association Public Information Office blog, Visibility @ your library (

Gibbons, who is the director of field services for the Kentucky Department for Libraries & Archives, works closely with the ALA Public Information Office and Campaign for America’s Libraries to spread the word about the value of libraries and librarians.

In the interview, Gibbons talks about the importance of the ALA’s various public awareness vehicles, especially the Campaign for America’s Libraries. “We look at initiatives such as Library Card Sign-up Month, National Library Week and summer reading programs as a great opportunity to stand up and speak out for libraries and let people know the value of their libraries in their local community,” she said.

Gibbons also discusses the value of ALA Public Service Announcements (PSAs). She said, “Every year we promote our messages by obtaining hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of free coverage in newspapers, magazines, radio and television.”

She also touches on the ALA’s recent campaigns involving such celebrities as Julie Andrews and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, noting that Andrews brought in her own production crew to create television and radio PSAs for the 50th anniversary of National Library Week.

Abdul-Jabbar made a memorable appearance at the ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, she also points out. He has agreed to become the spokesperson for Library Card Sign-up Month 2008 in September at the invitation of the Public Awareness Committee.

In addition, Gibbons notes the growth of the Campaign for America’s Libraries and talks about some creative initiatives developed as part of the Campaign. She mentions that six ALA units have worked with the @ your library campaign, putting together toolkits for members that highlight tactics to promote their key messages that emphasize the value of libraries and librarians to their key audiences.

“The brand has been a tremendous benefit to all types of libraries,” she said. “The @ your library campaign unifies a broad array of activities for libraries and connects the local effort to the national brand, unifying and amplifying our key messages.”
The Campaign for America’s Libraries is ALA’s national public awareness campaign to remind the public about the value of libraries and librarians. For more information, visit

Visibility @ your library provides librarians and library supporters with news and information about important communications issues from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />ALA's Public Information Office and the Campaign for America's Libraries. In addition, you can access the latest edition of ALA News on the PIO blog.