Category Archives: Marketing and Promotion

Blind Date with a Book

If your library hasn’t tried a “Blind Date with a Book” display yet, put it on your radar for next year.  With a bit of planning and organization it’s a great way to inject a bit of whimsy into your displays.

The New Westminster Public Library has run a Blind Date with a Book for a few years now, and it’s great to hear patrons get enthusiastic when they see the display go up again.  We make sure we have signage that tells the public what to do (the first year a few people thought we were giving out presents and wanted to keep the books!) and use distinctive wrapping paper that catches the eye. We don’t limit ourselves to books – DVDs, audiobooks, and CDs have all made it in at one time or another.

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We write brief descriptions of the book and print them on labels that we stick to the front, and photocopy the barcode and attach this too, so the surprise isn’t ruined by having to unwrap the book at checkout.

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Once the display is up, we schedule social media posts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and enjoy filling up the displays and getting feedback. Admittedly people don’t always like their blind date book, but taking a chance is part of the fun! This is a great way to get people to read out of their comfort zone. Staff across the library also enjoy having input as to what gets recommended, and everyone loves the challenge of writing a brief teaser description for the materials on display.

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How does your library run a blind date with a book display? What clever ways have you found to entice readers to pick up something unfamiliar?

 

Learn about Loan Stars in March 9 Webinar

loanstars2For those of you interested in the Loan Stars program, they are offering a free webinar this Wed, March 9 from 10-10:30am (Vancouver time) to give you the low down on how to participate in Loan Stars:

Join BookNet Canada to learn everything you need to know to participate in Loan Stars, the new readers’ advisory service fueled by voting library staff across the country. Plus, get a guided tour of CataList, the online catalogue tool where Loan Stars voting takes place, to discover how to get the most out of your account, including accessing digital galleys, ordering books, exporting MARC records, and more.

This is a good opportunity to learn more if you’ve signed up for Loan Stars with enthusiasm, but stalled in the actual process of reading and selecting your upcoming favourite titles.

-Meghan S, Surrey Libraries

 

RAIG is Reaching Out

Glyph_Logo_pngImages are a powerful means of communication. Somewhat ironically, pictures are increasingly used to connect fans of 1000s of words (books). Instagram is an popular platform for bookish images as Jennifer Streckmann discussed previously on this blog. The Readers’ Advisory Interest Group (RAIG) began posting images on Instagram at the end of 2015. You can find us @bclaraig.

Join us by tagging your library’s bookish photos on Instagram with #WhatAreYouReadingBC. Or use this hashtag to share what you are reading now.

RAIG aims to connect with our colleagues across BC in the Library profession. To reach out, RAIG will contribute to each issue of the BCLA Perspectives quarterly publication.

Our regular feature will be called “Titles to Talk About” and will promote three titles library staff can talk about with their patrons, friend, families and communities. We will promote a BC author in each feature. The intent is to pool our collective knowledge and give library staff across BC a chance to learn about titles to recommend in a brief, easy to use format.  Library staff will be able to broaden their knowledge regardless of their own reading interests or geographic location.

We are starting with the first-ever RAIG: titles to talk about piece by Shelley Wilson-Roberts published on February 1, 2016 in Volume 8 Issue 1.

 

One funny book cover with a mustache

We at Port Moody are a little late to the merchandising game, but this year, we finally got a set of display units for our entrance area to showcase our new books. That leaves us a nice feature book wall, plus a couple units to do some rotating displays.  

Verdict from staff: Book displays are awesome.

Made you talk

Movember Display at Port Moody Library

Starting a random chat with a stranger is hard, but not when you get to talk about books. We can talk about books forever, right? 

Book displays make it easier to engage a customer (and vice versa) and strike up a conversation. For example, ever since our Movember display went up, almost every desk shift I would have someone come up to me and say, “I was looking at your display over there and thought, ‘what a funny book cover. It’s got a mustache on it’, and then I looked over at the other books, and I realized, ‘wait a second, they all have mustaches on them. How fun!’”

The kids who walked by would make their parents wait until they finished touching every single mustache, giving me the chance to say, “Hey kids, want me to find some mustache books for you to take home?”

Make you look

Library stacks rarely change, so walking into the library can feel pretty routine sometimes. You know exactly where your “stuff” is and you head straight there.

Book displays offer something different, breaking people’s patterns and make them stop to see what’s new or changed at your library.  It is also delightful to see your favourite books highlighted. I know I feel like the library was personalized for me that day when I did saw this horror display for Halloween. Finally, something for me!

Horror Display at Halloween

Made you laugh

They laughed at this corny joke. I saw it. Well worth the effort making people smile, or roll their eyes in some cases.

I like Big Books and I cannot lie display

This display was an idea found on Pinterest (a treasure trove of merchandising ideas). “Big” was interpreted by some as “big” as in oversized and “big” as in War and Peace big by others.

By the way, according to our Twitter follower, the next line of the song is “Your other readers can’t deny”.

Yes, book displays also make excellent social media posts. 

Made you…confused?

Displays don’t always have to be logical, or restricted to a certain genre or topic. At least that’s our theory here. The funnest ones we have done are definitely random, but the advantage of “random” is that you can gather books from across the whole spectrum of your collection, highlighting all sorts of backlist titles. Something for everyone on your display: checked!

“I don’t know the name of the book but it’s [insert colour]” is an easy random display to do, also pretty to look at. Plus, you can mobilize the whole staff to find you books with that colour as they shelve or check books in.

Another one of our favourite is “Judge the book by its title”. 

Some Like it Hot Some Like It Cold

This display was inspired by a staff debate of whether the office was too cold or too hot. Remember this past summer with the unrelenting heat? (you know which side of that debate I was on) Well, the office’s AC was adjusted constantly, fans were turned on and off on a daily basis, people complained and others countered. So our verdict: Let’s agree to disagree.

See more blog posts on displays, and don’t miss your library’s Black Friday deals, extended all week just for you.

Black Friday display

Virginia McCreedy
Port Moody Public Library

 

 

Loan Stars: A New Reader’s Advisory Initiative

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Taking the lead from the American website www.libraryreads.org, Loan Stars is the new readers’ advisory service that allows library staff across Canada to collaboratively select their favourite forthcoming titles. Using CataList, the online catalogue tool available free to libraries, librarians can nominate their favourite picks, the most popular of which will be marketed to libraries and library users alike.

The details: 

  • LoanStars is available to all library staff (anybody with a library email address)
  • We will be launching voting in January with the goal of having the first LoanStars list in March or April.
  • Library staff can vote on their favourite pre-publication adult book, Fiction or Non-fiction. We may later have a juvenile list but right now we are keeping it to adult titles.

How to vote: 

  • Voting takes place in CataList (www.bnccatalist.ca), a free tool that allows library staff to access the most up-to-date publisher catalogues. Titles need to be listed in CataList in order for you to cast your vote.
  • Books need to be nominated a month prior to the publication date. i.e. books with a publication date of March need to voted on prior to February 1st. In this example, we will compile March lists in early February and circulate them to libraries – giving librarians an opportunity to vote.

How to get your hands on books: 

  • Librarians can vote on any book they wish to nominate pre-publication (which is in CataList)
  • Librarians can get digital galleys via NetGalley. On the CataList homepage there is a link to a NetGalley catalogue which is all NetGalley content that is available on CataList (check back often as there are new books available weekly)

For now, we recommend that librarians sign up to be added to the Loan Stars mailing list (www.loanstars.ca). They can also sign up with CataList and NetGalley and get ready to nominate books! We recommend focusing on titles that are coming out in the spring.

We need lots of participants!  Please consider being a part of this exciting new initiative.

For more information, contact:
Claire Westlake
North Vancouver District Public Library
westlakec@nvdpl.ca

The Challenge of Reading Challenges

Our library celebrates its 150th birthday this year, and as a gift to the community we created a book of 150 reading challenges, which replaced the Adult Summer Reading club we have done in previous years. Our intention was to create a marketing piece for the library that would showcase our collections and share our enthusiasm with everyone who uses the library.  Erin Watkins, our Manager of Programs and Community Development, was instrumental in getting this off the ground.  Thanks, Erin!

This is what we discovered while putting the booklet together:

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Many hands make light work. We had staff from multiple areas of the library contribute ideas for the challenges, but we had one person compile them. This allowed for diverse interests, collection areas and material types, which we hoped would appeal to a broader range of our community. The challenges were meant to encompass all aspects of our library’s collection in as many formats as possible to inspire people to move beyond their tried and true reading, viewing, and listening habits. Literacy is not just about books, and having the challenges touch on multiple formats will give people a chance to explore areas of the library that they may have previously ignored or been uninterested in. Having staff from all over the library contribute really helped set the groundwork for the challenges. Having one staff member compile the results was a way to ensure we kept to task and made it to our goal of 150 challenges – one for each year the library has been in existence.

Enthusiasm helps! Staff enthusiasm for a project like this helps us all see how diverse our colleagues and their interests are, which makes the workplace a fun place to be. It also means that we are better able to use that knowledge in a readers’ advisory situation because if we don’t share the reading interests of the patron in front of us, we can certainly find someone who does.

More heads are better than one. Collaborative work meant that wrangling 150 challenges into a semblance of order so they could be put into a booklet was much more effective. It also established a way for us to riff off each other’s ideas and build on each other’s work. One of the most exciting aspects of this format meant we could move beyond the familiar territory of the Adult Summer Reading club booklist and offer book bingo, a crossword puzzle, and a drawing challenge as well.

We have built in social media components in terms of a section of the challenge being called “Share” where we encourage community members to share their challenges with us on social media, and we have already had some really fun contributions for community members.

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If you are thinking of doing something similar at your library, don’t hesitate! Not only will it reinvigorate your passion for connecting with library users, but it will empower you to learn even more about the collection in your own library and inspire your own reading/viewing/listening habits. We can’t wait for the conversations we’re going to have with our library users: in the stacks, at the desk, on social media – all about what we love to watch, read, and listen to. It’s going to be a great summer!

What are your plans for adult summer reading inspiration at your library? Comment below so we can all be inspired!

Shelley Wilson-Roberts is the Public Services Librarian II at the New Westminster Public Library.

BPL’s Summer Reads

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Every year, since 2007, Burnaby Public Library compiles a list of 100 titles to suggest to patrons during the summer. We call it Summer Reads. The person behind one of our most popular RA initiatives is Diane Sura, our Readers’ Advisory extraordinaire from the Bob Prittie Metrotown branch.

During the year, Diane jots down notes about the books she reads to make her task easier when Spring comes and it’s time to start working on the summer recommendations. Besides her own titles, she also asks staff for suggestions and searches the mainstream media book lists. She usually selects books that were published in the past couple of years.

There are five categories in the list: Canadian, Fun, Thought-Provoking, Get Away (travel, sci-fi, historical) and Just Good. “What fits into each category is pretty fluid, it’s more a way to manage the displays and lists,” says Diane.

The books must be available in trade paperback and they have to be titles we have in our catalogued collection (a great part of our paperbacks are uncatalogued). We buy extra copies for the program, put a Summer Reads sticker on the cover, and display them during the summer. Diane says we try to get a broad mix of genres, with 10-20% non-fiction. “While we do not pick ‘beach books’, we do try to pick books that are very ‘readable’ and gripping,” she adds.

We promote the list on our website under Staff Picks as an interactive PDF document. Some of our patrons like it so much they start asking about the Summer Reads before we start promoting it at the beginning of July. Diane reports “many people use the list as recommended reading for the entire year.”

Here are five books from this year’s list:

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All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews
Yoli is desperate to prevent the suicide of her sister Elf, a celebrated and happily married pianist. Blending sadness and humour, this is a heartfelt account of Toews’ own tragedies.

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Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie
Debut novel that has won every major sci-fi award. All that is left of the colossal starship Justice of Toren is Bereq and she is out for revenge.

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Delicious!, by Ruth Reichl
When the iconic New York food magazine Delicious is shut down, newly hired Billie Breslin stays behind to man the complaints and recipe hotline, rather than return home.

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Brilliant Blunders, by Mario Livio
Drawing on the lives of five great scientists who have changed our understanding of life and the universe, Livio shows how the scientific method advances through error.

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Why I read, by Wendy Lesser
Magazine editor Lesser draws on a lifetime of pleasure reading to describe her passion for literature. “Iconoclastic, conversational and full of insight.”

Share in the comments the RA programs/initiatives that you have in your library during the summer.

Image: Michael Coghlan

Ana Calabresi is an Auxiliary Librarian at Burnaby Public Library, she is crazy about reading lists.