Public Relations Toolkit Introduction

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What exactly is PR Rx

 Public relations is a broad component of any organization’s communications strategy and is the one that can most explicitly shape the messageand perceptions of key audiences. The TLA PR Rx Toolkit is a series of planning guides, how-to’s, examples, and templates that can be used immediately by all types and sizes of libraries and library support groups.  The toolkit is intended to provide hands-on instruction while referencing other, high quality resources for an additional look at particular topics. 

Why PR Rx

The PR Rx Toolkit evolved from a discussion among several TLA members following the Rally for Texas Libraries held on the steps of the Capitol in Austin in 2005.  Librarians and library supporters were commenting on the convergence of so many aspects of public relations: media involvement, special events planning, advocacy, public awareness, and passion.  Librarians noted that our professional literature is filled with examples and toolkits for all sorts of communications activities—some very detailed, some very br

ief. The difficulty seemed to be finding a middle range: a toolkit that provided a basic framework but that had lots of examples and immediately usable content, and one that provided quick references to existing materials and did not “recreate the wheel.”

How is PR Rx different?
The PR Rx Toolkit frames the communications discussion by focusing on the three main external audiences: the press, public, and decision makers.  Of course, communications with any one of these audiences will likely involve and affect one or both of the others. Some of the strategies applicable to one type of audience, like good interview techniques when dealing with reporters, also apply to dealing with decision makers and answering questions in public forums. 

How is PR Rx organized?
The toolkit is organized into four main sections: 1) The Basics, which covers communications plans, volunteers, and electronic PR resources; 2) The Press, which focuses on preparing communications to press, going to the media for coverage, and dealing with the press during a crisis; 3) The Public, which covers strategies for special events planning and taking the library message out the public through speaking at public forums; and 4)  Decision Makers, which addresses the formal and informal means of communicating with and persuading policy makers about library issues. Each section begins with a brief introduction and concludes with referrals to other resources and credits for special authorship or reference materials used. The bulk of each section consists of brief planning documents, guides, checklists of activities, and samples and templates.

How much of PR Rx applies to my library?
In order to customize the toolkit to specific library types and library sizes, we have provided a grid of the topics that would prove most relevant to different stakeholder groups. As we solicit and receive feedback, reports, and case studies from the field, we can enhance the toolkit by providing examples under each section that are specific to various library types. This area—that of real-life Texas examples—is perhaps one of the greatest and most exciting components of the toolkit. In essence, we will look to our colleagues to provide us with continued inspiration, sound advice, and successful PR activities.

As you develop your public relations efforts, please submit campaign information, letters, press releases, speeches, and anything you would care to share. We will make that information available to your Texas colleagues so that we can all learn from each other’s successes and build a centralized warehouse of best practices.

Created on Mar 23, 2010 | Last updated April 10, 2010