Communications & Public Relations
There is strong evidence that the public is not well informed about the programs and services offered by libraries nor about the programs currently made possible through state and federal initiatives. It is especially important to inform the public about the services libraries offer given the clear warning signs for libraries as they enter a period of intense competition with new information providers for the attention of the public.
PURPOSE AND PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners continues to increase public awareness of the value of libraries as community resources, the role that the Board serves as an advocate for libraries and improved library service to the residents of the Commonwealth.
The purpose of the Board's Communications and Public Relations Program is to provide information to the media, and the library community, that will increase the awareness on the part of the general public, government officials, and library community, to the ongoing programs, grants and work of the Board. In addition, its public awareness campaigns are designed to inform Massachusetts residents of the value of libraries for personal and economic growth in the Commonwealth, and the essential role of librarians and libraries as information resources.
To this end, the Board releases News Releases; publishes a bimonthly newsletter, MBLC Notes; an Annual Report; hosts an agency Web site as well as a consumer Web site (mass.gov/libraries), emails biweekly Library Updates with important library news from various media sources, promotes statewide summer reading programs, and conducts a yearly Public Awareness Campaign. To assist the Board with this work, a Public Relations Advisory Committee advises and evaluates the Board's Marketing Plan that outlines the target audiences and messages for each year's Public Awareness Campaign. Each year the campaign is evaluated and coordinated to offer opportunities for individual libraries and the Regional Library System to participate in the statewide campaign by using local approaches whenever possible.
Board staff also provides communication and public relations assistance to public libraries across the Commonwealth, especially those involved with the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program or in dealing with a local media issue.