On September 29, 2021, The Missouri Library Association (MLA) awarded the yearly state-wide Public Relations Achievement Award to Joplin Public Library at their annual conference in St. Louis. On hand to accept the award were Joplin Public Library’s Director Jeana Gockley and Public Relations/Marketing Assistant Chelsey Gatewood.
Factors contributing to the recognition were the key steps JPL took during the previous year to develop a strong and connected relationship with their public. Gatewood was hired in September of 2020 as the Library’s first staff member dedicated to these goals. In November of 2020, a new strategic plan was developed, implementing the Library’s improved mission and vision statements. The Library’s messaging, operations, and customer interactions became focused around the newly formed goals of service, awareness, outreach, inclusion, and enrichment. Additionally, new and strengthening community partnerships were prioritized to assist in the Library’s goal of identifying and connecting the people of the Joplin community with what they truly need.
To quote a press release from the Missouri Library Association, “(Joplin Public Library’s) ability to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic was greatly recognized and appreciated by their community.”
The Public Relations Achievement Award was one of only four MLA awards given to Libraries in the State of Missouri in 2021. The other recipients included: 2021 Missouri Library of the Year – St. Louis University’s Pius XII Memorial Library, Community Partnership Award – Maplewood Public Library, and the Excellence in Genealogy and Local History Award – Kansas City Public Library.
MLA is a non-profit organization which strives to support the work of libraries and further advancements in the profession. The organization’s mission is to promote library service, the profession of librarianship, and cooperation among all types of libraries and organizations concerned with library service in the state. Learn more at molib.org.