Eight libraries have been awarded the 2020 John Cotton Dana Awards for their strategic communications efforts and outstanding library public relations campaigns. This award has traditionally been managed by the LLAMA division of the American Library Association (ALA) and consists of $10,000 grants funded by the H.W. Wilson Foundation. The 2020 winners are typically honored at a reception held by EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) at ALA’s Annual Conference. Until that event can occur, we want to let you know about the winning libraries.

Each library has run an effective campaign featuring a variety of strategies to increase its visibility in the community.

The 2020 John Cotton Dana Award Winners are:

Niles-Maine District Library: The Niles-Maine District Library in Niles, Illinois designed a creative 16-month campaign to increase the number of people with library cards in its culturally and economically diverse service area. The project came in under budget, and the library exceeded its goal in increasing new card sign-ups.

The Bridges Library System: The Bridges Library System in Waukesha, Wisconsin created a coordinated, multi-library system advertising campaign for Library Card Sign-up Month designed to reach non-library users. The campaign inspired and encouraged people to seek out the library for their direct personal benefits that library services and materials provide.

Enoch Pratt Free Library: After three years of construction, the Enoch Pratt Free Library (EPFL) in Baltimore, Maryland reopened the doors to its historic Central Library after a $115 million restoration. To raise awareness, EPFL created and executed a public awareness campaign that successfully kept customers informed throughout the renovation process, leading up to a multi-faceted grand opening celebration.

Each library has run an effective campaign featuring a variety of strategies to increase its visibility in the community.

Alexandria Library: In 2019, Alexandria Library in Alexandria, Virginia celebrated the 80th anniversary of a peaceful protest, the first known library sit-in in United States history, with a public relations campaign to educate and engage the community. Alexandria Library hosted a series of events to commemorate the sit-ins, culminating in a program featuring the protestors’ descendants discussing the significance of their ancestors’ action.

Cleveland Public Library: In 2019, Cleveland Public Library (CPL) in Cleveland, Ohio celebrated its 150th anniversary, a milestone that speaks to the revered place libraries have long held in Cleveland. The Cleveland Public Library hosted special events honoring not only its storied past, but also the library’s future.

Milton Public Library: Milton Public Library’s (MPL) newly appointed Chief Librarian hoped to create a new brand for the in Milton, Ontario library that supported organizational efforts to better meet the evolving needs of its patrons. The tagline “Be Inspired” was selected as the driving force behind the new brand and development of the bee logo.

Anaheim Public Library: The Anaheim Public Library in Anaheim, California developed a strategic marketing campaign for the annual OC Zine Fest in 2019 which successfully developed awareness for the library. These measurements demonstrated that the unique interest in adding magazines to the library collection and vigorously promoting the inclusion of such materials on social media was successful in reaching an “untapped” demographic of potential library users.

Deerfield Public Library: The Deerfield Public Library in Deerfield, Illinois hosted the “The Fight to Integrate Deerfield: 60 Year Reflection” a months-long initiative about a significant period in the town’s local history and its lasting impact. During the current era of heightened interest in integration issues, the Deerfield Public Library worked with residents, historians, and experts to provide new resources and insights into this history.

Learn more about the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award