Grab & Go

Do your patrons like surprises? Are they adventurous enough to check out a bag of books sight unseen? If you answer YES, then their books are ready!

At Fraser Valley Regional Library, we recently launched our “Grab & Go” service. Available for children, teens and adults, these bags are offered in many different genres like action/adventure, Canadiana, popular fiction, romance, science fiction and more. Branches can customize the genres to their particular communities. Inside each paper bag are 6-10 books pre-selected by library staff to save the customer time.  We generate a list of barcodes of the books inside, staple it to the outside, and then use that for a fast check-out (very low tech!). Savvy customers have even mastered it on the self check-out machines. They are especially popular with busy parents, and we always have a good supply of picture book bags available after storytimes, etc. Others tell us they like them because they’ve read out their favourite authors and the variety helps them find someone new.

One of the side-effects (besides boosting Circ stats), is that we often have people requesting special bags to be made up just for them. Even though we’ve always provided RA service like this, for some reason the existence of the Grab & Go bags has twigged people to the fact that we are book experts and we can find new things for them to read. It’s certainly keeping us busy!

Grab n Go

2 thoughts on “Grab & Go

  1. Wendy Wright

    What a fantastic idea, especially the picture books! As a parent, I would love to use this service when we’re in a rush.

    Do you gather materials by theme for the Storytime crowd, or package a wide assortment of items for a specific age range? What about grab bags for beginning readers, by reading level?

    Do you have issues with customers requesting titles that are in-branch but hiding in a grab bag? What are your guidelines for selecting titles (i.e. multiple copies or older titles only)?

  2. Anthea Goffe

    Hi Wendy – we don’t get too theme-y for storytimes because usually they take about 10-12 bags, and we just don’t have the collection to support say, 12 bags on butterflies, just more general picture books for the age ranges. Outside of storytime, though, we might put out a themed bag now and then. It’s pretty open, whatever mood the staff person is in – I think we’re still working out whether it’s better to get specific or keep it open – both kinds seem to go as long as the topics aren’t too obscure. At our branch we definitely do beginning readers, but we haven’t gotten into specific reading levels – again, there is a collection issue (especially during SRC). I’m not sure if other branches have tried that. I think there’s a benefit to having a variety – the child might try different levels, genres, etc.

    We change the books to “display” status before bagging them, so they aren’t requestable. We do try to use books with multiple copies, especially the kids bags, but we also like to put in some of those “undiscovered gems”. Nothing with a wait list (these shouldn’t be lying around anyway). We can put in older titles, but we avoid anything really worn – we try to keep them shiny and appealing.

    They are actually a lot of fun to do, and our whole staff gets involved depending on their personal interests. Let me know if you have more questions.



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