The Basics

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Libraries serve the public, whether that public is defined as a school population or whole communities.  In many ways, libraries are an organic creation of public needs—social, intellectual, educational, economic, and entertainment.  Libraries offer incredible products and services—and those services are free!  Given all this, libraries should have no difficulty developing a strong buy-in from their public and enjoy incredible support and recognition, right?

While study after study shows that the public has great respect for libraries as institutions, garnering support in tangible form is often a challenge. The reason for this is simple: the public does not understand the actual (fiscal and social) support needed to make libraries—to make their library—vital and strong.  The public often does not translate their philosophical appreciation of libraries to a personal connection with what their library can do for them, and correspondingly, they can do for their libraries.

Public relations and communications are central in bridging that gap. Beyond promoting existing library services, public relations is about making the library’s mission relevant and important to the people that library serves. As with all mission-driven functions, PR is best delivered when it is carefully planned and directly related to the goals of the organization. 

  • This section of the PR Rx Toolkit provides a brief framework for those wanting to create or fine-tune a communications plan.
  • The section also covers the process of crafting key messages, whether for the organization’s overall communication plan or for a special event or campaign.
  • Section I also provides examples of how to use volunteers in your organization’s PR efforts, and it offers guidelines for maximizing the Web environment for PR efforts.

Open or download Section I: The Basics

Created on Mar 23, 2010 | Last updated April 11, 2010