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ALA E-Book Media and Communications Toolkit

I’ll re-post these ALA resources on e-book advocacy since there’s lots of good information here. My only caution is that applying one brush to “all” publishers is unfair. Keep it specific since broad generalizations can damage an advocate’s credibility. The flashpoint right now is on the Big 6 (5?, 4?) popular book publishers as they struggle with evolving into a hybrid digital / print world with massive changes in the retail and distribution network. Non-fiction is a little further along but, still, we haven’t seen the end of change. The biggest change won’t be e-books but what the book ultimately becomes. Hint: it won’t be a stable, digitally wrapped version of the 16th Century codex. It’s a rollercoaster.

E-Book Media and Communications Toolkit

Over the past year, the ALA Digital Content & Libraries Working Group has focused on e-book library lending – particularly around major publishers that refuse to offer their titles through our nation’s libraries, have dramatically raised prices, or have introduced new restrictions.

As the 2012 open letter from ALA President Maureen Sullivan states: “We have met and talked sincerely with many of these publishers. We have sought common ground by exploring new business models and library lending practices. But these conversations only matter if they are followed by action… Books and knowledge — in all their forms — are essential. Access to them must not be denied.”

While there has been some movement by some publishers, it is not enough. Librarians and our allies must speak out more forcefully in communities across the country. Everyone needs to know that libraries offer e-books and 21st century library services, but we are unable to offer all the e-reading choices our patrons need because some publishers refuse to work with us. ALA provides this toolkit of resources to support your efforts to address this national problem.

Among the tools are templates and guidelines for using them with editorial and news media contacts, news hooks you can use locally, tips for relationship building with media contacts, and links to examples of e-book-related editorials and news stories. We will continue to add and update materials as quickly as possible, but we also urge you to stay informed on this swiftly changing landscape. The American Libraries E-Content blog and ALA Transforming Libraries website provide the latest breaking news, as well as information about new studies and reports.

We know conversations extend beyond the media, as well, and encourage you to keep your patrons and community leaders informed and connect with state and local peers to promote library-friendly options.

Many state chapters are taking formal positions on the lack of access to e-books, issuing statements, organizing public awareness campaigns or developing shared action plans. ALA will continue to share news and updates related to these efforts, as well.

Please share your questions, successful news placements, tips and suggestions for additional content by emailing [email protected].

Communications Handbook for Libraries

Media relations handbook for libraries (coming soon)

Frequently asked questions

E-books and Libraries FAQ (.pdf)

Outreach to editorial page contacts

Op-ed template: Today’s Libraries Connect (E-)Readers but Face Roadblock (.doc) Op-ed template: Publishers Restrict Library E-lending (.doc) ALA Open Letter with pitch letter (.doc) Letter to the editor template (.doc)

Examples of e-book-related op-eds and editorials

ALA op-ed in Huffington Post: Publishers Long Overdue in Offering Libraries eBook Titles Free Library of Philadelphia op-ed at Push publishers to let libraries lend e-books editorial: Mercer County libraries provide help to residents learning about e-book options Philadelphia Inquirer editorial: Libraries need e-books, too

Outreach to news reporters

Guidelines and potential news hooks (.pdf) Press release template: Library Builds Digital Collections, Resources (.doc) Press release template: Library Seeks Better E-book Deal for Patrons (.doc)

Examples of e-book-related news stories

Portland Tribune: Libraries pay price for ebook ‘friction’ The Chieftain: E-books for everybody? Libraries struggle to provide digital books St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Libraries let patrons check out an iPad, or granddad’s history

Outreach to radio stations

PSA scripts (.doc)


Percent of libraries offering e-books     E-books and libraries infographic Why people like to read

Additional data resources

Pew Internet Project research on libraries ALA backgrounder on “Libraries, Patrons and E-books” research findings (.pdf) OverDrive survey finds library patrons buy e-books       Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study



Posted on: December 13, 2012, 6:26 am Category: Uncategorized