Public Relations Policy

A written public relations policy will preclude misunderstandings and prevent problems arising.

Among points which should be clarified:

  • Respective public relations responsibilities of the library director and the library trustees. This will set out how they work cooperatively so the right hand, in effect, knows what the left hand is doing and the information each may be transmitting to the public is not at odds.
  • Procedure for board approval before any major public relations campaign.
  • Media contact procedures.
  • Official spokesperson for the library board (generally the chairperson/president).
  • Any clearance procedures prior to member speeches, statements representing board position, etc.
  • For city libraries, the procedure for alerting the city council about information to be made public by the board before publication, radio or TV airing, or announcement to any community groups. (Courtesy and good working relationships with the city council suggest this procedure.) Another reason: The media may well contact one or more members of the city council for comments, so there logically is a "need to know."

Every trustee should have a copy of the public relations policy in his or her trustee manual. The library director should have a copy; the governing body should be informed of the policy and a copy put on file available to the public.

Sample Public Relations Policy

In recognition of the ___________Library’s responsibility to maintain continuing communication with present and potential users of the library's services and resources so as to ensure effective and maximum usage by all citizens, the Board of Trustees of the ____________ Library adopts the following resolution as policy.

The goals of the Library's public relations program are:

  • to promote community awareness of library service
  • to stimulate interest in and usage of the Library
  • to develop public interest in and usage of the Library and its role in the community.
    • An annual plan of specific objectives and activities shall be developed, sufficient funds shall be allocated to carry out the program, and the program shall be evaluated periodically throughout the year.
    • Training sessions, workshops, and other aids shall be made available to library staff members to ensure courteous, efficient and friendly contact with library patrons and the general public.
    • Personal and informational group contacts shall be maintained with government officials, opinion leaders, service clubs, civic associations, and other community organizations by library staff and board members.
    • Surveys of the community shall be made as needed to ensure the Library's responsiveness to the interests and needs of all citizens.
    • Local media shall be utilized extensively to keep the public aware of and informed about the Library's resources and services.
    • Newsletters, brochures, and other promotional materials shall be produced and distributed through the library regular mailings and other methods of reaching the public.
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