Friday, April 18, 2014

Symptom: So Many Events to Promote!

April is one busy month! We have School Library month, National Poetry month, National Library week and I’m collecting votes from students for the Georgia Book Awards. Last month was the Read Across America/Dr. Seuss’ birthday celebration, and Women’s History month. Thankfully, next month is only Children’s Book Week, leaving time to do end of the year inventory and encouraging students to continue reading over the summer with our eBooks or at the local public library. 

The event list for libraries goes on and on. So how do you keep coming up with new ideas - ones that not only promote the event, but get students so interested and excited that they actually participate? It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it can be done. How?

Prescription: Do some research and borrow some ideas from other libraries – from websites, blogs or postings on Pinterest.

With the crazy weather we had in February, I didn't have as much time to announce the activities planned for the Read Across America celebration. Did I panic? Of course not. I just made the decision to extend the celebration, and instead of one day, we celebrated all month long. Yes, I had to reprint posters, update the website, and make updated announcements on our school’s morning new show, but it was fine. Our celebration went on as planned – just extended. I told the students that it was extended because Dr. Seuss was such an awesome author and he helped so many people learn to read that we were going to celebrate all month long. I believe these things about Dr. Seuss, and the students (even the little kindergartners) agreed.  

Below are supporting documents for the events (in addition to special readings of Dr. Seuss books and a three-book author study with kindergarten). 

We didn't have as many "I Will Read Anywhere" entries as I had hoped, but the students who did enter were very clever. The photos included a reading inside a dryer, reading One Fish, Two Fish to fish in a tank and reading the Lorax while sitting in a tree. Two students were inspired to go above and beyond by taking several photos and writing Dr. Seuss inspired poetry. Below is a photo of the students proudly holding their new free books (I always try to give books away as part of any promotion). They also each took a photo with the Cat in the Hat display that was donated to me; the photo was then enlarged to a 16 x 20 poster which they were given to take home. They were also featured on our school's news show, which of course made them famous!  

Just a note - for the REA/Dr. Seuss promotional documents, I used the FREE Grinched font from  I did make certificates for all the teachers who entered the door decorating contest and certificates for the winners.

For April, we created an all-event-encompassing bulletin board to cover the four events we’re celebrating this month. I was inspired by two posts on Pinterest....

....and I morphed them together into this: 

The birds that the students are using for their comments were drawn by my amazing assistant Minnie. I originally tried to draw a nest using brown construction paper and black marker. It didn’t turn out so good – one of my news crew students said it looked like a walnut. And yes, it really did, so Microsoft Word clip art came to my rescue. I printed it out, backed it with brown construction paper, and then stuffed some tissues into the nest to give it dimension. The blank birds are waiting in the nest. It looks adorable and was officially approved by my news crew students. 

I’m adding the student comments on my Twitter account @librarydoctor as they come in with #SchoolLibraryMonth.  To help promote the voting for the Georgia Book Awards, I’ve shared information with teachers and parents, have read aloud many of the nominated books to classes or at least given booktalks, and have set up a Shelfari on my media center website in case the parents or teachers want to view the nominated books when they’re not at school. 

What I'd like you to remember is that you don't have to drive yourself crazy coming up with ideas from thin air. Use what is already out there and has worked in other libraries. Realize that it's okay to take something created for another grade level and modify it for your purposes. Remember it's okay to have a little fun and be silly. The whole point of promotions is to get someone's attention - once you have that attention you can share all the wonderful things that you and your media center have to offer. 

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