Section 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS AND PUBLICITY

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1 Section 15 PUBLIC RELATIONS AND PUBLICITY

2 PUBLIC RELATIONS Brazoria County Library System strives to present the best possible image to the public it serves, to provide clear, timely, and accurate information, and to handle all press inquiries with poise, professionalism, and diplomacy. The included guidelines and procedures provide the framework to insure that all public relations are handled in accordance with this policy. Media Contact: Media contact will be handled with the highest level of professionalism. The library s first priority in all media contact is to insure that the library s image is presented in the best possible light and that any information given is accurate and serves the best interests of the organization. Inquiries: All system level media inquiries, including interview requests, must be sent to the library director, or designated agent who will respond or redirect the inquiry to the appropriate staff member. Branch level inquiries will be sent to the branch manager. Written communications: All written press communications including, but not limited to, press releases, letters to the editor, etc. must be approved by the assistant director or designated agent prior to public dissemination. Photographs: By coming to the library or participating in library sponsored events a patron agrees to allow BCLS the right to use his/her image and/or likeness by media now known or hereafter devised for advertising and/or other promotional purposes. All photos must be approved by the branch manager prior to media submission and must include information identifying the event, time and place. Speaking engagements: All speaking engagements must be approved by the assistant director or designated agent in advance. All pertinent information concerning the event including sponsoring organizations, anticipated format (round table, panel discussion, individual presentation), topics to be covered, and expected level of media coverage must be available prior to permission being given. The content of the presentation is subject to the assistant director or designated agent s approval. All materials for distribution must be obtained from or approved by Administration. Unofficial or non-work related contact: Brazoria County Library System has no interest in staff members personal or private media contact; however while on library property or during work hours, library staff should not have any contact with the media without the express permission of the department head even on completely nonlibrary related topics. When not on duty, individual staff members do not speak for the library and personal opinions do not necessarily reflect the position of the library or Brazoria County. Therefore, staff members should avoid identifying themselves as library employees in personal media contact (e.g. personal letters to the editor, interviews, etc.) Library Policy 15.2

3 Library Promotional Materials and Publications: All materials and publications produced for the Brazoria County Library System (both in-house and outsourced materials) will meet standards of quality, content, and format established by the Brazoria County Library System Style Guide and should include both the date of original creation and the most recent revision. Letters and memos: All written communications issued by the library will adhere to the appropriate business style. When necessary, the most recent version of the approved letterhead will be used and all communications will be proofread prior to distribution. and electronic communications: All official electronic communication should be transmitted via official county channels (e.g. county system) unless prior approval is obtained. Such communication is the property of Brazoria County and is subject to review by designated parties; therefore, care should be taken to avoid unprofessional, ill-advised, or actionable content. Brochures, newsletters, flyers, etc.: Printed promotional materials may be produced by the individual branches but must be approved by the assistant director, or designated agent prior to printing. World Wide Web Publications: Web publications include the library s web page and content maintained by third party sources (Dear Reader, YouTube, etc.) All web content is subject to approval by the director or designated agent and must be up-todate and accurate. In addition to meeting the standards established in the Style Guide, web content must also meet the requirements of Brazoria County IS department. Confidential Information: All possible care will be taken to insure that confidential information is protected and used with discretion. Employment references: All requests to verify employment and for references (except when a staff member has been asked to provide a personal reference) will be directed to Brazoria County Human Resources department. No staff member may volunteer any information concerning a past or present member of the Brazoria County Library Staff. Providing any information beyond the dates of employment may be actionable and expose Brazoria County to potential litigation. Contact information and mailing lists: Personal information such as membership records, staff directories, donor lists, and all other similar resources have been obtained and maintained for the sole use of Brazoria County Library System and will be used, with discretion, in any way necessary to further the mission of the library. Such information will not be shared with any non-affiliated organization. Accepting open records requests, staff information will not be disseminated without the express permission of the staff member in question. Library Policy 15.3

4 PUBLIC RELATIONS AND PUBLICITY Public relations involve every person who has any connection with the library. Good service supports good public relations. The heart and soul of any public relations program is a courteous, well-trained staff that meets the needs of library patrons. Library public relations are a coordinated, continuous effort to communicate a positive image of the library. A well-rounded public relations program will promote the availability of the library s resources, services, and programs. The public relations plan is designed to target local demographics. Publicity and advertising are not sufficient alone to cultivate good relations between the public and the library. Public relations is the person-to-person effort to put libraries into the lives of the people. Good service to the public is the foundation for good PR. It is everybody's job! The director, staff and even the buildings and resources affect the public image of the library. Public relations are the utilization of publicity and other non-paid forms of communication designed to present the organization and its products positively. Staff can decide when to issue press releases and hold events but cannot control the media that independently decide when to run the communication. Publicity is any advertisement or news article describing library activities to the staff and, especially, to the public. Any interaction the library as an institution or its staff members has with the public may result in publicity. 1. Objectives a. To promote understanding of the library s objectives and services by the public. b. To promote participation in the services offered by the library to people of all ages. c. To increase public awareness of the library as a comprehensive and credible source for information. d. To communicate with local governing bodies by issuing invitations to local officials to visit the library and to attend board meetings, etc. e. To use local media to keep the public aware of and informed about the library s resources and services. 2. Guidelines for media contacts a. The library system encourages positive relations with news reporters and other communications representatives as well as the community as a whole. Dissemination of timely, accurate, and newsworthy information is the primary responsibility of the library director and, at the local level, the branch manager. Library Policy 15.4

5 b. Media contacts (television, radio, print) initiated by the library system will be the sole responsibility of the library director. Media contacts and all press releases initiated by the branch library must be approved by the assistant director or the library director in advance. c. The library director must be made immediately aware of any contacts initiated by the media. d. Library staff members are not required to speak to the media, but requests for interviews are generally granted. An individual may decline the request to be interviewed or photographed. e. All publicity must be approved by the library director or by another representative in Administration. f. All publicity distributed to the public must contain the library system s logo or be distributed on system letterhead stationery. g. Publicity distributed to area newspapers will be coordinated through the County s Records Manager and Public Information Officer by the system administrative office. h. The staff member responsible for producing an event will be responsible for all its associated publicity. i. Copyrighted or trademarked material may only be used with permission of the holder. j. Press interviews are a challenge. If planned, talking points should be discussed with the library director. If unplanned, the following guidelines paraphrased from the ALA Public Information Office should be followed. i. Ask questions. Determine the name of the publication or network. Find out what the story is about and what the reporter s angle and deadline are. ii. Be clear to the reporter who you are representing: yourself or your branch. iii. Beware of manipulation. iv. Do not be pressured into responding. If you need more time, tell the reporter you ll call back. v. Pause before responding to think about what you want to say and the best way of saying it. vi. Keep your answers brief and to the point. vii. Do not be afraid to admit that you don t know. If clarification of facts is required, tell the reporter the correct information will be obtained and the reporter called back. For more information and best practice ideas, consult with the Brazoria County Library System Marketing and PR pathfinder at bcls.lib.tx.us/staff/bob.asp. 3. Library outreach The goal of library outreach is to develop library programs for non-users, the underserved and people with special needs within the service area and encourage them to become library patrons. Outreach programs may include, but are not limited to, a. Home delivery services to persons physically unable to visit the library, if funds are available. b. Programs at assisted living facilities, childcare centers, preschools. c. Programming for all ages at the library. Library Policy 15.5

6 d. Multicultural programming. e. Availability of meeting rooms. f. Use of facility for early voting, tax preparation, sports registration, clubs, and other groups. 4. Tours Tours are encouraged as a way of promoting the library or teaching library instruction. Requests for tours should be forwarded to the immediate supervisor who will designate the appropriate staff member to conduct the tour. Advanced notice for tours is preferred. Unscheduled tours will be given as time and staff allow. 5. Public speaking Speaking to community organizations is strongly encouraged. Outside requests for public speakers representing the library will be coordinated through the library director s office. In the event of conflicts, consult with the library director for a replacement speaker. 6. Programs and Publicity a. All branches should provide at least one storytime in the library each week. All branches should provide adult programming. Branches provide additional programming geared to community interests as staff time permits. This programming may be done in the library or in the community. b. The number of programs presented and the attendance of adults and of children will be recorded on the Monthly Report. 7. Related policies a. The branch library will maintain a file of stories, notices, and publicity about branch activities appearing in print media. Copies of noteworthy stories should be forwarded to Administration. b. The branch librarian, with the approval of the library director, will assist outside groups and agencies in their efforts to advertise the services and collections of the library. c. All publicity using the BCLS name or logo must be approved by the library director. d. A written report is due to the assistant director, Children s Coordinator and Secretary during the first week of every month containing a summary of branch events during the past month and branch plans for the current and subsequent months. Staff activities may also be reported at this time. Information submitted will be compiled and edited for distribution to government officials, library boards, and interested community groups. Library Policy 15.6

7 RULES TO REMEMBER These rules apply to press releases, FYI newsletter text, print materials and website images. 1. If the time an event will be held is at the top of the hour, you do not need to include the minutes. EXAMPLE: Storytime is at 10 a.m. every Wednesday. 2. Whether an event takes place in the morning or the evening, the correct identification must be included. This is always in lowercase letters with the period behind those letters. EXAMPLE: The book club meets at 6:30 p.m. on Monday. 3. Do not include th or st or rd behind dates. The month and number is sufficient. EXAMPLE: The library will be closed November The order in which to describe the particulars of an event is time of the event first, then the date of the event and finally the location of the event. EXAMPLE: Bedtime Stories will be held at 6 p.m. on August 12 at the Brazoria library. 5. Titles of books must be placed in quotation marks. The title must not be in all caps. The author s name must be included. EXAMPLE: The book club will read Jane Yolen s Owl Moon at its next meeting. 6. Storytime is one word and is never capitalized unless it is at the beginning of the sentence. EXAMPLE: Fifteen children attended storytime this week. 7. Nonfiction is one word and is not capitalized except at the beginning of a sentence. EXAMPLE: We plan to weed the juvenile nonfiction section in the coming weeks. 8. Summer reading club is never capitalized except when using the specific theme. EXAMPLE: This year s summer reading club is Sail Away with Books. 9. Children are always referred to as children. They are not baby goats. EXAMPLE: The children had a wonderful time decorating pumpkins. 10. Numbers below 10 are always spelled out. Numbers 10 and higher are not spelled out unless they begin a sentence. EXAMPLE: We had three adults attend the program and 27 children. Library Policy 15.7

8 MARKETING 1. Merchandising is the promotion of items within the library. 2. Displays are the arrangements of library materials in a pleasing, eye-catching manner utilizing the covers of items and incorporating simple, appropriate props. a. All displays should use items that are in good shape no torn covers, no rebound items, etc. b. Displays should be utilized throughout the library, including within the stacks. c. Displays should not be limited solely to books but should also include audio and video items. d. Thematic displays, such as holidays or monthly celebrations, should incorporate print and AV materials from the adult, young adult and juvenile collections. see Displays, Good and Bad see Mount Laurel library Merchandising Tips 3. Signage includes graphic designs used for identification, warning or giving direction throughout the library. a. All library signage must be printed from a computer. b. All library signage must be approved by Administration. c. All library signage must be on 8-1/2 X 11 white paper. d. All library signage must use Arial font, no smaller than 18 point size. e. All library signage should be polite and avoid negative phrasing. f. No more than three signs per issue should be used in the library. g. No visible tape should be seen on library signage. h. No handwritten signs should be used in the library. i. When creating signs for individual rows of items, make sure the sign fits in the attached holder and that the Dewey Decimal range is in a smaller font size than the other text. If no holders are attached to the rows, make sure the signs are laminated and attached with no visible tape and that the Dewey Decimal range is in a smaller font size than the other text. j. Signs that are not dated or that are to be used for more than three months may be laminated. Send the lamination request to Administration. k. Some signs will be provided to the branches by Administration. These include, but are not limited to, holiday closing signs and out of order signs. see Signage, Good and Bad 4. Decor is the arrangement of furniture and decorative elements throughout the library to create a welcoming, inviting, friendly atmosphere for the public. Library Policy 15.8

9 HINTS FOR GOOD PUBLICITY News Media Contact your local newspaper or television/radio station and find out the preferred news release format. Some may prefer electronic ( ) submissions; most will accept faxed or printed submissions. Ask what size type and line spacing is preferred. Inquire about submitting photographs (black and white photos reproduce better in newsprint). Be familiar with local deadlines for submission. Finally, put the most important information (who or what, when and where) in the first paragraph of your submission followed by a concise amplification of the program news media will only edit out. If the program is special or attracts their interest, media outlets may follow-up with a telephoned or on site interview be prepared. It is an excellent practice to follow-up any publicized event with another article or announcement after it is over. This is a way to thank participants or performers, to get the word out to those who couldn t attend that something was missed, and to get pre-publicity out for the next event. Flyers Publicity flyers should be concise and uncluttered. Simple drawings or designs may be used to highlight the flyer, but not to the extent that the message is lost. Always try to put your most important points (who or what, when and where) in larger, bold type. Avoid unusual fonts, but do use a different font for headlines (Times New Roman for example) and a sans serif font (Arial for example) for the body. Choose type sizes for the target audience, but never use less than size 11 type. Choose paper-stock colors carefully. The library system can only reproduce black type so background color is important (black on white paper is common but dull, black with yellow paper stands out better). Flyers are most easily distributed through other organizations or institutions and targeted to adults and older children even if they publicize a younger child s program. Ask organizations such as day cares, recreation centers, and local school systems to cooperate in distributing the flyer. Inquire about how the flyers are to be received (most schools prefer class-sized bundles), and when they should be delivered. A friendly visit with your local principal will greatly assist all of your school-based publicity. Library Policy 15.9

10 Posters Posters are not large flyers. They have to be designed to grab attention from the surrounding environment and deliver the message (who or what, when and where). They may be funny, dramatic, serious or factual but they are all concise. Avoid cursive or difficult to read letters and use plain block letters (a little taller than wide) for the main message. The headline may be creative since that is the attention grabber. Don t squeeze the letters together or place them too far apart. Use a word processor for block letters or purchase pressure sensitive letters if your printing is unsure. Minimum letter size is determined by the distance the public will observe the poster from: At 10 ft., use letters 1/2 high and 1/8 thick. At 25 ft., use letters 1 high and 1/8 thick. At 50 ft., use letters 1 1/2 high and 1/4 thick. At 75 ft., use letters 3 high and 1/2 thick or larger (good for exterior signs and marquees). Posters may be made more eye-catching by the careful use of color and photos or drawings. Choose colors to sharply contrast the message from the background. The color examples below are ranked from the most to least visible combinations Black on Yellow Black on White White on Black Green on White Yellow on Black Red on Yellow Blue on White White on Red Green on Red White on Blue White on Orange Red on Green Make the main idea the largest and brightest using lots of blank space to make the message stand out. Use appropriate sized paper for the size of type. Posters may be used in the library, behind the circulation desk, in exterior marquees, affixed to windows either at the library or at cooperating stores, day cares recreation centers or schools. Always seek permission before placing a poster; also be sure to show the poster to whoever approves. Place posters no earlier than two weeks prior to the event and remove them immediately after the event is finished. Follow up any placement with a thank you letter. Library Policy 15.10

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