Does Your Library Excel at Public Relations? If So, ALA Wants to Know

His name may not be immediately familiar to most, but Friends of the Library and patrons everywhere owe much to the life and career of 20th-century library innovator John Cotton Dana. Dana, in a very real sense, put the public in public library. He introduced or popularized many of the facility features we take for granted today: the “open stacks” model, a large and diverse fiction selection, and a children-specific reading and programming areas.

Dana died nearly a century ago, but his spirit and principles live on through the work of countless library staffers and Friends across the country.  

2013.12-john-cotton-dana.jpgALA created the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award in 1946 to honor both Dana and these more recent achievements in public librarianship. In particular, this high distinction recognizes outstanding library outreach and communications projects – from summer reading programs and special community partnerships, to fundraising and awareness campaigns. As in years past, thanks to financial support from the H.W. Wilson Foundation, ALA is pleased to announce that eight winners will be chosen to receive the Award. Each will receive a $10,000 monetary prize.

Libraries of all sizes are eligible to apply. (Click here for a full listing of eligibility requirements.) At minimum, candidates are asked to submit an online application and three-page project narrative. Applicants may also submit a variety of supporting materials, such as photos, press clippings, testimonials/patron comments, research analyses, and marketing materials samples.

Entries must be submitted by Friday, February 14. Winners will be announced in April, and all entrants will be invited to attend a special Dana Awards Reception co-sponsored by EBSCO and the H.W. Wilson Foundation at the ALA Annual Conference.

Click here to start your online application!


(While we can’t speak to your odds, Minnesota and its library advocates have historically been well represented within the roster of winners. To date, our state lays claim to over twenty Dana Award wins! Click here for the full listing of them.)