Monday, July 27, 2015

Displaying Other Formats

While focussed on serving readers through print materials, it is also worth considering displays which focus on other formats. Customers may not be as familiar with items in other formats and your display will provide an opportunity for discovery.  Often, these displays can help to turn over inventory which may be overflowing and it is important to think about what your motivation may be.

Summer is a great time to promote DVDs, especially genres such as horror or action.  Everyone identifies with the "summer blockbuster" - there is a lot of these films released in the summer.  Your users will be primed to expect these and may be more likely to pick one up on a display.  Currently, we are featuring "Summer Scares" which features horror films.  We had to refill it about once per hour - you may run out of films before you run out of interest.

Audiobooks are popular with cottage-goers and promoting them in the summer is also a great option.  Feature them near the shelves which contain them and make sure that staff keep them filled.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Outstanding Books for the College Bound

I remember finding a printed copy of this list, as a teenager, at the library where I work now.  That pamphlet was fate as it exposed me to works that I was not finding on my own or in the youth section.  I read my fair share of high school romances but I was destined to read books with more substance.  I remember reading "Jane Eyre" and thinking that libraries held such a wealth of human experience and, once I read a book of this caliber, there was not turning back.

I just helped a customer who has a ten year old who is reading at a grade twelve level.  This young reader is reading far beyond her peers and we need to nurture that curiosity and capacity rather than advise that we don't really have anything for her.

I turned again to the American Library Association's YALSA list of Outstanding Books for the College Bound.  The books selected for these lists often have young people featured in the stories or are situations that young people can understand or relate to.  The writing is top-notch and these are the books that form the "education" before the formal education of a college or university experience.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Adult Reading BINGO

After a successful few years offering a BINGO reading encouragement program for youth, my library is now offering an adult reading encouragement program.  While it is important that readers' advisory staff and services attend to those who are already reading, it is a worthwhile activity to encourage people to read or to read outside of their regular comfort zone.

Random House continues to offer all of the supplies needed to begin offering this kind of program.    This is program features all Canadian content so it will be a challenge for readers who may not be familiar with national offerings.

For our program, we encourage readers to complete one line of BINGO squares to receive a bookmark.  Bookmarks were purchased from the Ontario Library Association Store and the selections were actual American Library Association designs.  We offer 4 different prize levels for youth but only the bookmark for one line of adult reading and a book for the completion of the full adult card.  Books have been provided from donations.

This program is more labour-intensive as staff have developed lists of books to meet the requirements of each square and specialty bookmarks created to indicate what square the book relates to.  We have created printed cards where readers can keep track of their reading.

We are promoting the program within the library on two different displays and I think we will have to do some more internal marketing to get more participants.  So far, we haven't given away any bookmark or book prizes but it does take adults longer to read than teens!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Staff Meeting Activities

To improve readers' advisory skills in staff, it is advisable to stay away from the dreaded staff meeting synopsis.  There are people who can booktalk and then there is the rest of us - doomed to relay pieces of plot out of order with a lot of "um" and "i can't remember" sandwiched in the middle. I often recall sitting through too many minutes of detailed plot reconstructions, "and there was a dog, and he had a spot and he had a hat and his hat was blue except when he went to parties and his hat was purple."  This really does not improve someone's readers' advisory skills since boring someone with plot details is not the goal.  Staff should be able to identify appeal factors and be able to promote the book to a customer in a few seconds.

At staff meetings, try to develop activities which will better promote discussion of appeal factors and book talking skills.  Spend time to develop these activities in advance and allow your staff the opportunity to prepare ahead of time.  Set a time limit for people and have one of your more experienced staff go first to set a good example.  Encourage everyone to participate and have positive comments for everyone.

Here are some activities to try:

Reader Interview - give the interviewer a list of questions of which they pick a random five to ask the reader about the book.  The questions should focus on appeal factors and allow the reader to think more deeply about the reading experience.  Example questions: What food does this book make you want to eat?  What would be the best place to read this book?  Who might you suggest this book to?

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner - Invite your favourite author to dinner.  What would you serve him/her?  What would you ask him/her?  Who else might you invite?

I'd Never Read Those - Talk about the genres that you don't and never read.  Tell the group why you don't like this genre.  Have you tried to read any of the books?  Why might people enjoy these books?