May 26, 2015

PR Collaborations with Students: #ParkLibSavesTime

I worked with 2015 PR major, Michelle Park, to promote the Park Library to students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Our goal was to persuade students that talking to me could save them time and help them turn into more efficient searchers.

Michelle's idea was to serve food and inspire students; she named the event "S'mores with Stephanie" and baked a s'mores cake (chocolate cake with marshmallows - mmm!). She designed a terrific graphic, and we developed the #ParkLibSavesTime hashtag.

We targeted two classes whose students had to use the library in their spring classes. We also invited students from the entry-level news writing course to come and cover the story as an assignment for class.

The session featured a student-led panel of students who had worked with me for classes and talked, in their own words, about how using library resources improved their classwork. We also had a three-question treasure hunt, with prizes for those who answered the questions quickly (there were also "Easter egg" prizes for students who chatted with us, tweeted the session, or clicked on a tab on the S'mores website.

The evaluations were positive from students in all groups: we received post-event feedback from 12 attendees (almost 50%), most of whom had never met with a librarian before but said they were more likely to do so in the future.

Our collaboration caught the attention of JOMC professor Nori Comello, who encouraged Michelle to submit the campaign to the N.C. Public Relations Society of America. And in fact, Michelle won their InSpire Award, with great feedback from the judges.

These notes included (emphasis mine):

  • "love that your hashtag included an actionable message ... not just "ParkLib" but "Saves Time." Brilliant. Again, most professionals don't think to use this ..."
  • "Really thoughtful ideas here - doing the reverse interview was brilliant. I remember having to go through Library orientation, and even though I do a lot of research for my current job and love libraries, the term "library orientation"just scares everyone. "
  • "Really good results, especially for a first time event! I'm only surprised that the Library plans to limit it to an annual event. I would think that doing this at least every semester (if not 3 or 4 nights at the start of each term) would benefit not only freshman but all students as they navigate new class demands. "

Michelle has graduated, and I'm left pondering the advice to do this several times each semester.

For more info:

May 13, 2015

Because cats are essential to any presentation ...

@teodor_thecat icons are essential. There are some great free ones on iconarchive, and there are some additional free ones on the iconka website (here are the Cat Power icons). You can also purchase a full set of the "cat commerce" icons for $18.99.

The best part of all this is Teodor the Personal Catness Instructor at

This all makes presentations so much more fun!

May 11, 2015

Collecting News Style Guides; need Visual Style Guides

I'm building a collection of stylebooks for newspaper and other news outlets. The collection primarily includes titles from various newspapers in the United States, such as the the "AJC (Atlanta Journal & Constitution) Style : Style and Reference Guide Covering News, Sports, Business and Features Issues"(1998);  "The Kansas City Star Stylebook" (1987); "The Los Angeles Times Stylebook" (1979 & 1995) … and so many more. Browse the titles in our collection.

We have local stylebooks: The News & Observer, 2001-2005; the Daily Tar Heel (1932 and 2001); plus the "Stylebook of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication" (1983-present), and which is now online only (pdf).

We have books for usage when covering different groups, such as the "CNS (Catholic News Service) Stylebook on Religion;" the "GLAAD Media Reference Guide;" and the "Manual de Estilo" from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

We have stylebook from various wire services — of course we have the Associated Press stylebook for many years (our first edition is from 1953), as well as "A handbook of Reuters Journalism : A Guide To Standards, Style, Operations" (2008); various editions of "The Bloomberg Way : A Guide for Reporters and Editors;" and the "United Press Radio News Style Book" (1943).

There are some for non-journalism entities, such as the "Style book and editorial manual" from the American Medical Association (c1965)

Most of our stylebooks are from the United States, but we have one from Canada ("The Gazette Style" c1995) and two from the UK ("Stylebook of the Manchester Guardian Style," 1928 and "BBC News Style Guide," c2014).

HOWEVER, we don't have any guides to the use of graphics, fonts, or illustrations in a newspaper, magazine, or website. Our books focus almost exclusively on the use of text, grammar, and punctuation. Earlier this semester, the design & graphic editors at the Daily Tar Heel asked for some graphic style guides, thus illuminating a glaring hole in our collection.

At my colleague Andy Bechtel's request, I solicited the assistance of visual journalist and social media savant Charles Apple, who blogged my request for visual style guides: The University of North Carolina seeks your style guides.

Happily, I received one from Stacie Greene Hidek, the Online Editor at the (Wilmington) StarNews. We're sending it to the bindery so that it will withstand use by patrons for many years to come.