tips on getting into AL Direct

If you missed the “How Libraries Work With the Media” session at the ALA 2009 Conference, here’s a takeaway that will help you get your story into AL Direct:

Finally, AL Direct Editor George Eberhart explained how libraries can get their news into ALA’s weekly newsletter. “Ask yourself the four E’s,” he advised. “Is your news Essential for a national or regional audience? Can other libraries Extrapolate ideas from what you’ve done? Have you Explained the significance of your event? Did you inject sufficient Excitement into your announcement about your program?”

Eberhart offered tips on writing press releases: “Use the active voice. Don’t say, ‘The library is pleased to announce’ something,” he said. “Even if your library is normally grumpy, the fact that you are now pleased does not constitute news.”

He gave some examples of press releases that work: “Use humor (’Librarian transformed into human popcorn ball’), allusion (’The endless summer reading list’), mild exaggeration (’Discover the truth about twittering’), intrigue (’Oprah sends her regrets’), lists (’27 things to do before conference’), and, if all else fails, use clarity (’Registration opens for online courses’).”

“Let us know what’s going on in your libraries,” Eberhart concluded. “Other librarians will be interested too.”

Great info.

leave libraries alone, say huffington

Libraries Are America’s Lifelines. Leave Them Alone
— by Kenneth C. Davis, at


In case you haven’t heard, New York City’s public library systems — three separate library systems in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens — are once again under siege, on the chopping block, threatened with draconian cuts in the face of New York City’s Great Recession. (The cuts were outlined in an article in Library Journal.)

Library cuts in down times remind me of the classic line from Casablanca: “Round up the usual suspects.” The public library is always suspect Number One when it comes to municipal budget cuts. And as librarians everywhere know, this is not a fact in New York City alone.

Underlying this reality are two simple facts. First, libraries do not have a vocal, powerful constituency. Unlike the police, teachers and firemen, they don’t have a potent union or benevolent association. There is no “Library Lobby” doling out campaign contributions. But far worse, libraries tend to be viewed by all too many people in power as a luxury.

In many of these minds, the public library is stuck with an antiquated image of stern ladies shushing noisy kids, retirees borrowing the latest bestsellers and — more recently — homeless folk camping out in a heated corner. They are all clichés. And dumb ones at that.


The public library is not just about borrowed books. It is about information — the great currency of our time. And the library has, by default, become the bridge in the digital divide because it offers free access to computers. Can you imagine in this digital day looking for a job, submitting a résumé or a college application, or searching for housing without your computer? For millions of people, the library is their laptop.


Then there is education. The library is the crucial backstop to the educational system, far beyond the fundamental notion of being a “homework helper” for a school kid with a science project. From learning to read, or speak English, to having a decent place to do schoolwork or doing graduate research, the library is still a cornerstone of an educated, enlightened America.


Salvation Army at the library

From this week’s Downtown Happenings email:

Helping hands
Celebrate the Salvation Army’s 120th year in Houston with an exhibition of rare artifacts and memorabilia of their history on display at the Houston Public Library’s Julia Ideson Building, 500 McKinney. The exhibition will be there all month and a special viewing is scheduled for Thursday, May 14 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. This free event will include live entertainment, guided tours of the Texas Room and refreshments.


Twitter for Libraries

Want to learn how libraries are using Twitter? InfoToday has a great article posted in Computers in Libaries that covers the topic well.

By the way, other great articles on Twitter you might want to check out:

Friendswood votes on new library

Opinions differ on bond vote

— by the Houston Chronicle


The second proposition is for $6.5 million, of which $6 million would be spent for a new library at a yet-to-be-determined location in the city’s downtown area.

The remaining $500,000 would be used to turn the city’s existing 16,000-square-foot library at 416 S. Friendswood Drive into a community center for hosting events and meetings.