Sunday, February 9, 2014

Symptom: Wacky weather cancels book fair event

Ahh...the smell of new books when the book fair comes to school! It's a wonderfully exciting time for media specialists and students alike. However, it's also an incredibly busy time - especially if you (instead of the PTA) run the book fair. 

That's the case at my school, and despite all the extra work I really do love book fairs. I love the opportunity to talk with parents and students and make recommendations. I love seeing former students stop by because "my book fair is cooler than the one at their school." Generally a good time is had by all, books are put into the hands of children, and some much needed additional funds are raised for the media center. 

However, what I do not love is when your perfectly orchestrated plans for special events at the book fair go awry. That is what happened to me this year when the ice shut down the metro Atlanta area. My Saturday family event had to be cancelled. This was bad and left me wondering what to do. I had to think fast. Here's the prescription I came up with: 

Stay open late one night. 

Yep, it was that simple. Now, you may say, "but it's never THAT simple," but it was. Well, really it was because of one thing - an AMAZING book fair chairperson. 

Heather would probably deny that she is amazing, but she is indeed amazing. She came up with the idea to stay open late. She used Facebook to help spread the word to our parents. She manned the registers while I made a mad dash to my children's school to pick them up and bring them back to the book fair with me. She stayed calm and cool and collected, which in turn helped me do the same. 

You see, the reason I was so worried about the family event being cancelled was because our spring book fair never raises as much funds as our fall book fair. Funds we need to pay for subscriptions in the media center to support the curriculum. Funds that aren't available anywhere else. Add an ice storm to the mix, two drama club plays that were rescheduled for Tuesday and Thursday evening during the book fair and that's cause for concern. Major concern. But, we stayed open until 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night and everything worked out perfectly.

So, if you've tried all kinds of events and decorated like a crazy person and done all sorts of stuff to increase attendance at your book fair, but it hasn't succeeded  - take a look at your book fair chairperson. Is he/she the right person for the job? My chairperson, Heather is also a volunteer and a member of my media/technology committee. She is an avid reader. She is committed to helping me raise funds to give away free books to those who need them. Heather figures out what needs to be done - sometimes before I even realize it myself. 

Take time to think about your chairperson - having the right one can make a huge difference.  

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