Walker Library earns national awards for JEWL maga...

Walker Library earns national awards for JEWL magazine, online wellness exhibit

2024 ALA PR Xchange award

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Middle Tennessee State University’s James E. Walker Library has received two national awards for print and virtual exhibits from the American Library Association’s CORE PR Xchange Competition.

Kathleen Schmand, dean, James E. Walker Library (Photo submitted)
Kathleen Schmand

The PR Xchange awards spotlight the best public relations and marketing materials from libraries across the country that are judged on content, originality, creativity and design.

The library’s JEWL magazine received first place in the category for advocacy/fundraising/annual reports and strategic plans. The library also won the virtual exhibits category for the Wellness Guide, which serves as an online resource for “Dimensions of Wellness.”

“I was thrilled to see the work of our faculty and staff being recognized through these awards,” said Kathleen L. Schmand, dean of Walker Library.

American Library Association logo

Walker Library has submitted entries for the ALA PR Xchange Competition over the past two years and this is the first time winning.

Awards will be presented later this month as part of the ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition held in San Diego. In addition to the awards, libraries are invited to share physical copies of their marketing materials at the convention — an “exchange of ideas,” Schmand said.

“It’s an opportunity to feature and share some of the marketing and communications we are developing as we are trying to share our story with our own campus community and beyond,” Schmand said. “What we are producing is high-quality and should be viewed as a model for others to emulate.”

The JEWL magazine is an annual publication that spotlights library programs and exhibits.

Middle Tennessee State University’s James E. Walker Library received top honors from the American Library Association’s CORE PR Xchange Competition for the 2023 edition of JEWL magazine. (JEWL magazine cover courtesy MTSU University Publications)

“We’re pretty excited about the awards,” said Clay Trainum, the library’s marketing and communications coordinator who spearheads the annual magazine. “This is our best communication channel we reach our donors with every year.”

Clay Trainum
Clay Trainum

JEWL magazine is produced through University Publications led by Senior Editor Drew Ruble with photography and design by Creative and Visual Services staff under the direction of Senior Director of Marketing Kara Hooper in the Division of Marketing and Communications.

The winning magazine was published in fall 2023 and highlighted the library’s Stress-Free Zone, an end-of-semester event that provides a brief reprieve from the pressure and anxiety that comes with the start of finals.

“The fact that we could win with such a fun feature about our popular Stress-free Zone, where we get to see 400-plus students each semester, is a really nice cherry on top of a successful year at the library,” said Trainum, who wrote the main articles for the magazine.

JEWL magazine also featured stories on the library’s recreational reading opportunities, Special Collections’ designation as a Preservation Steward for the U.S. Government Publishing Office and the Margaret H. Ordoubadian University Writing Center.

logo for MTSU's James E. Walker Library

The Wellness Guide, curated by graduate assistant Anna Mills, is an interactive online exhibit with resources on physical, emotional, social, financial, intellectual and spiritual health. The web-based interface directs users to a drop-down menus that link to resources — including professionally produced self-help videos, reading materials, tips and suggestions for pathways to health.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to learn from the DSI (Digital Scholarships Initiative) team and proud to have contributed to this special project,” Mills said. “Winning this award is a testament to the hard work and innovation of the DSI team.”

— Nancy DeGennaro (