Trick or Treat (with a book)

Just a quick note to share our October display/reading promotion.  It is called Trick or Treat with a Book and was “stolen” from Nampa Library.  Our library clerk found some cute reversible paper at Walmart and between us we selected titles we thought were appropriate for October/Halloween for her to wrap.  Like Nampa she added question marks; however, as the first batch quickly disappeared, she began adding more creative touches!  The most recent ones had witches, trees with rotten apples, black cats, ghosts, etc.



Blind Date with a Book

On February 1st, Wagener-Salley students were greeted with a new display – Blind Date with a Book.

How it works: Students are asked to use the “dating” profile on the heart to decide if they want to take a shot at a date with the mystery book.  They were warned that by choosing to date one of these books they were agreeing to write a review of their date.  They have to read at least 2-3 chapters before they give up – and must still provide a review for why they didn’t like their date (hence why they gave up on it.)

I finished creating the display before going home Thursday, and Friday morning after only 2 hours the display was practically empty.  It was completely empty by 2:00 pm Friday!  Now, I just have to wait for the dates to be over and the students’ dating reviews!

I first heard of this display/program on the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) listserv.  Then saw this awesome post by librarian Rachel Montgomery, Teen Librarian at the Mooresville Public Library (Indiana) and was truly inspired by (and borrowed) her display’s dating profiles.  Since I didn’t have very many of the same titles, I put out a plea to some of my colleagues and Cathy Nelson came through with enough fill in profiles from previous SC Young Adult Book Award Nominee titles that I was able to create the above display.  If you want to see more photos of the display, including a close-up of one of the mystery books, you can find them on my Flickr site:


I just turned in my school’s votes for this year’s SC Young Adult Book Award Nominees.  To say I was disappointed is an understatement.  We have 300 students in our school.  I sent one ballot for every student to our English classes = 300 ballots.  The ballot asks students to circle the titles they have read and write the title they want to win on the line at the bottom.   This allows me to track which of the titles are being circulated as well as recording votes for the program.  I received a total of 32 ballots back, with only 10 containing votes I could record.  Sigh.  While the number of votes I can record is usually low, I typically get at least half of the ballots back with some votes on them.   Since the number I received back are so few, I can’t run any statistical analysis of the titles this year.

Now, I have to figure out what went wrong this year.  Two (of four) teachers emailed me back stating that the kids said they didn’t read any of the titles.  Hmm, but the books stayed off the shelves, so SOMEBODY checked them out.

We did all of the usual promotions:

  • Bulletin board outside the library
  • Display of the books at the circulation desk w/ Follet bookmarks
  • Books were taken to classrooms for the book swap activity
  • When kids asked me for a good book, I always talked up the YABA books before taking them to the shelves to find books

Possible reasons why “nobody” read them:

  • limited copies (only 2 per title)
  • our long circulation period (3 weeks) plus ability to renew means one person monopolized a book the whole time = highly possible
  • apathy = kids just didn’t want to participate (in reading them)
  • apathy = kids just didn’t want to participate (in the voting process)
  • not enough and/or enthusiastic enough promotion of the books

Possible solutions for next year (in addition to our normal promotions):

  • Purchase a class set of at least one title to use for book club and English novel assignments (budget permitting) – Two members of the YABA committee are from Aiken and I’ll get their recommendation on which one(s) to purchase
  • Have (ahem – MAKE) English teachers participate in the banner completion
  • Utilize the school’s website to promote (both front page and media center page)
  • Partner with the public library’s Summer Reading program (“Own the Night”) and have something special (sigh, yeah prizes) if students read a certain number of books from the YABA list AND write a review on our library’s blog 2 Read or Not 2 Read or comment on another person’s review with their own review of the book

What else can I do?  Have any suggestions, please comment!