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A Guide to Your Release By Numbers

The following is a well-formatted release with a guide to the key elements.

News Release

   
1, 2 For release Contact: Lib Rarian, 212/555-4567
Wednesday, September 25, 2003
   
3 NEW POLL SHOWS WIDESPREAD SUPPORT FOR LIBRARIES
The Public Shows How Library Resources Are Valuable Tools For Everyone
   
4 Anytown, USA—A new poll of likely voters showed more than 90% of voters support increased funding for local libraries. The poll, released today by the Anytown Library Association , showed that registered voters who are likely to vote in the upcoming election support additional funding to enable libraries to get and stay on line.
   
5

“Our libraries offer the best mix of global reach and local touch,” says Ana Bowan, Executive Director of the Anytown Library Association (ALA), the state’s third largest library group. “This poll shows Anytowners want their libraries wired.”

The bipartisan poll, conducted by Some Big Firm, Inc., is the first statewide survey of support for the libraries in the last five years.

At $1,000 per year, Anytown has the smallest budget in the state for new technology. The upcoming referendum on library funding will increase spending to $100,000 for the next three years, allowing libraries to increase and update their technology and get library-based web training programs.

   
6 —more –
   
7 Library Poll, page 2
   
8 According to an earlier survey Anytown Library conducted last spring, “Parents hate that their kids know the Net better than they do,” says Mary Smith, Anytown’s head librarian. “Librarians can untangle the Net for families,” she adds. “We train kids and their parents to browse the Net together, so Mom and Dad lose their fear of cyberspace and can exercise proper parental guidance.”
   
9 To arrange to interview ALA spokespeople and for a copy of Anytown’s poll, please contact Lib Rarian at 212/555-4567.
   
10
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11 The Anytown Library Association (ALA) is a member organization of more than 200 librarians across the state from public libraries, academic institutions, schools and special libraries. Supporters such as trustees, friends of the library members, vendors and users are also part of ALA.

The Guide

1 Indicate up top when news organizations are free to use the material in this release.
   
2 Indicate one contact name with title and a phone number with an answering machine that takes messages or a cell phone.
   
3 Keep headline to one line or eight words and use descriptive, active verbs. Use subhead. Be sure your organization’s name appears at least once.
   
4 Your first paragraph should be attention-getting.
   
5 Use a short, lively quote by your third paragraph.
   
6 “—more—“ is a convention that lets journalists know the release is continued on the next page.
   
7 Put an identifying header on top of the second page in case it becomes separated from page one.
   
8 Refer to some news you once made that never got covered, but might make it into this story.
   
9 If you have additional backup materials you could make available to interested journalists, let them know—and let them know where to call, especially if it’s a different number than your page one contact number or the online link.
   
10 “# # #” indicates the end of the release.
   
11 Create a “boiler plate” standard paragraph that you can include at the bottom of all releases and elsewhere that describes your organization and its mission.

Excerpted from the American Library Association’s A Communications Handbook for Libraries, published in Summer of 2004. To see A Communications Handbook for Libraries in full, please visit: http://www.ala.org/ala/pio/availablepiomat/online_comm_handbook.pdf.

  • Montana State Library
  • P.O. Box 201800, 1515 East 6th Avenue
  • Helena, MT 59620-1800
  • Phone: (406) 444-3115
  • Fax: (406) 444-0266
  • msl.mt.gov