Sunday, April 23, 2017

Let Me Tell Ya...

...'bout the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees...

Nah, you know all about that.  I want to tell ya 'bout the thrillers and the horror and the romance and the sci fi...

Ok, it doesn't rhyme but I still want to tell you about all the awesome books we have for you at the library.  But how?

Here are a few ideas that have worked for me and my heroic librarian friends and I hope you'll share some fabulous ideas with me, so together we'll be like Library SuperTwins:

  • Displays (kind of useful, but not super duper)
  • Bundling with the Movie (lots of checkouts, but I think people only watch the movie)
  • Displayed during a Program (pretty effective since people are already excited)
  • BookTalks (Best. Thing. Ever. Like a superpower for librarians)

So, seriously, what kinds of activities can we do at the library to help people find books that they want to read?  There are many ideas that've been promulgated by various libraries, groups, authors, and "experts", but the absolute best, most effective method I've seen is personal recommendation.  This can come in the form of booktalks or readers' advisory.

For those of you who don't know, booktalks are exactly like what you do when you're telling your best friend about the great book you just finished:

"it was so..."                "and then..."               "and you just want to..."           "You HAVE to read this!"

The only difference is that you're talking to a group instead of one friend.  One major rule:  READ THE BOOK.  This seems like a no-brainer, and yet I know people who think they can just tell you what the reviews say and not give a personal reaction or insight.  NO!  Just like in this class, you have to read, or at least skim, the book yourself in order to have a truly good grasp on the appeal factors of the story and be able to share it in an authentic and genuine way.  If you don't read it, please be honest about that to people.  You can still do readers' advisory with it, but you can't effectively booktalk it.

BTW, don't just booktalk in the library.  GO OUT! Booktalk at events, schools, clubs, everywhere.

Turn your mouth into a mouse and booktalk online - Facebook, Twitter, and the library blog are all great places to booktalk.  The reviews we've been doing in this class are formal - take them to a more informal, casual, personal level and BLAM, you've got a booktalk!  Post it!

Book displays can be creative, imaginative, eye-catching, and fun.  You can do a Pinterest search and find a tremendous amount of wonderful ideas like these:

Some displays are more effective than others, and I've personally found that many people are hesitant to take a book that's part of a display because they don't want to mess up the great tableau.  I think complicated book displays are best as part of a library marketing tool to show how fun the library is, but I'm not convinced that they lead to those featured books being checked out more.  The types of displays that work the best, in my opinion, are those that are simple and highlight the books rather than the creativity of the librarians.

Bundling the books with the movies has been extremely popular in my library.  We created a READ BOX and put it right next to the checkout desk.

Ours is similar to this one, and it gets a lot of attention, but in chatting with the patrons we're pretty sure they just watch the movie and don't read the book.  Sad, but true.  The movie is the pretty, popular kid while the book is the poor, ugly, neglected stepchild.

Books promoted during garden program.
ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS gather books that are related to your program or event and display them near the entrance during the program.  People coming to a library program are already interested in that topic and are much more likely to be interested in those books.  It's kind of like passive RA - you know something about what they like and you're offering suggestions.  Also, part of the reason for holding programs, workshops, classes, and events at the library is to offer avenues to information, so keep going and show people the resources we have that they can checkout and take home - duh!  It's a no-brainer, but it's surprising how often it doesn't happen.

These are my "best practices" for sharing and promoting books.  What are yours?  I really, really want to know so share in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Great prompt response! You've got some innovative ideas that can definitely help! I've done the Readbox display before as well, simple and effective! Full points!