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The American Library Association recently announced that the Barrie Public Library (BPL) won a 2024 John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award for marketing and public relations excellence. We received this award for our 2023 membership drive, an organization-wide campaign with the goal of welcoming 10,000 new members by the end of 2023. 

The pillars of the campaign included marketing promotions, targeted outreach at schools and events, collections updates, and public service initiatives. The effort was a huge success: we reached their goal in early October, and welcomed 12,476 new members by the end of the year! 

"I am absolutely thrilled that the Barrie Public Library has been recognized by the American Library Association in this way," says Barrie Public Library CEO Lauren Jessop. "Our membership campaign was a true team effort across the entire organization. Everyone brought their energy and passion, and together we surpassed our goal by 20%." 

The John Cotton Dana (JCD) Award provides up to eight $10,000 grants for libraries that demonstrate outstanding library public relations and strategic communications efforts. The award is managed by the Core divison of the American Library Assocation and EBSCO Information Services, and the grant is generously provided by the H.W. Wilson Foundation.   

"We are truly honoured to be selected for a John Cotton Dana Award," said Melissa Foster, Manager of Marketing and Communications at the Barrie Public Library. "Our team worked hard on the campaign last year, with efforts including social media promotions, radio advertisements, e-newsletters, direct mail pieces, and our Share the Library Love contest. I'm proud of what our team contributed towards the goal while raising awareness of the value of a library card. To be recognized on an international stage is very exciting." 

This is the Barrie Public Library's first time receiving the JCD Award, which is considered the most prestigious award given by the American Library Association. This year's winners were honoured during the ALA Annual Conference in San Diego at the end of June.

Libraries of all sizes and types around the world are invited to submit an application for the JCD Awards. This year, seven other libraries were recognized: Anchorage Public Library (Alaska), Curtis Memorial Library (Maine), Orange County Library System (Florida), Richmond Hill Public Library (Ontario), Salt Lake County Library (Utah), Spokane Public Library (Washington), and Tacoma Public Library (Washington). 


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