Posts Tagged ‘book promotion ideas’

By creating an Avenue of Literature from unused lockers, teachers at Biloxi Junior High School in Mississippi hope to inspire their students.   Over the summer vacation, this dedicated group of teachers, parents and volunteers, have been working hard to transform a drab area into something exciting and inspirational.  And they have certainly succeeded!!

With a belief in what Dr Seuss once said: “The more you read the more things you know.” teachers at the school hope that by immersing students in literature they will open the floodgates to a love of reading.  With the intention of incorporating a focus on the various genres represented on the book spine illustrations of the 189 old lockers, teachers are looking forward to an exciting and innovative program.

An absolutely awesome way to excite an interest in literature and a joy of reading!

Check out more pictures and news articles saved on the Biloxi Junior High School website.

Avenue of Literature - lockers

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All schools believe in the importance of encouraging its students to learn languages other than English.   While some schools offer classes in one or perhaps two additional languages, I’m really lucky to be working in a school which offers our secondary students the opportunity to learn any one of four foreign languages!

Recognizing that literacy extends beyond English, I decided that it would be valuable to incorporate all of these languages in our yearly literary focus during Book Week.

So, I approached our head of LOTE (Languages Other Than English) to see if he and his language teachers would agree to get on board and team with the library staff to create an event that would involve all of our secondary students giving them an opportunity to have a ‘taste’ of each of the different languages on offer in our school: French, German, Japanese and Chinese.

And so began the process of figuring out how best to do it!

With the luxury of a very large library, we offered our space for each language to set up a ‘work station’.  Each of the language teachers were asked to approach students who would be the key players and leaders of the event by reading stories in their chosen language.   Because finding sufficient appropriate books in each of the languages was proving to be difficult, I jumped on the phone and soon discovered that one of our local libraries had a heap of both picture story and fiction books in each of the languages we taught.   After taking out a library membership there, I had a ball selecting a huge bundle of books in languages I was unable to read!

The final element to be incorporated into the event involved food and music.  With a very meager shopping budget, it was amazing to see the range and amount of food that was assembled with much love and attention by the students and staff of the different languages.  With music sourced the LOTE teachers, we provided either a CD player or a laptop from which they could play their music.

The event, held over a lunch time, was preceded by much publicity – posters, flyers, write ups in the school newsletter and announcements at student assemblies.

With four work stations in the four corners of the library, just a trickle of visitors started to arrive at the designated start time.   It didn’t take long though before the library was flooded with students who came in to see what was going on.  Excitement and engagement ensued!

With a cacophony of music in four different languages at the same time, our library was transformed from its usually quiet space to the kind of sight normally seen at an Expo!   In amongst the food and music, it was a delight to see many students wandering around to the different language stations to ‘catch a glimpse’ of the different languages taught at our school.   Most thrilling of all was seeing students read to each other!   A group of students pulled up some floor space and enjoyed a reading in French by a proficient French student.   One of our Chinese students who is learning German, entertained another group of listeners.  Speakers of Japanese, German, French and even one of our students who comes from Singapore, as well as many of our ‘just English speakers’ were mesmerized by an ongoing talk given by one of our Chinese students about the construction of written Chinese.

It was a fabulous event.  Exciting, engrossing and enticing.  Students involved in the presentations loved it and those who attended raved about what a great event it had been.

Give it a go.  If it worked for me, it may also work for you!


Following the success of this event, a request was received from INCITE, a publication of the Australian Library and Information Association, to write up details for publication.   The article was subsequently published on March 1, 2015 in INCITE – Volume 36, Issue 3, March 2015 .

Inspiring a love of reading among senior school students

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There’s nothing better than sharing a love of reading. Creating opportunities to do this can be very exciting and very contagious!

This year was the first time I’ve organized an event such as this, so I admit to lots of decisions being made on the go.   Given the experimental nature of the event, it was decided to invite teachers to participate rather than students!

So, an email was sent out a couple of months ahead of the scheduled event inviting teachers to volunteer for our inaugural Speed Book Dating event planned to be held over lunch time in our senior library. The rules were fairly simple: enthusiastically ‘sell’ your book to another so that they will want to borrow it!!  To run with the event, a minimum of ten staff would be needed.  Staff volunteering, were asked to let us know the title and author of the book they planned to ‘sell’.  To add a further dose of excitement and anticipation, the titles of participating teachers were kept under lock and key until the start of the event!

Closer to the date, details of the event were shared with participants:

  • each teacher would be seated opposite another teacher; all up we had five pairs
  • one of each pair would then have one minute to ‘sell’ (tell, convince, persuade) their selected book to the teacher seated opposite them
  • on the ‘gong’ teachers would be required to stand up and move to the next chair and then to repeat their ‘sell’
  • those listening were asked to rank the books into one of four categories: Doesn’t interest me; Sounds so-so; Good; Awesome!

Ranking Sheet

Once the first five teachers had completed their ‘sell’ the tables were turned and those teachers who had been listening/ranking were asked to ‘sell’ their book.  At the end – ranking sheets were tallied to determine which book was the most popular and won first prize!

Students and other staff were encouraged to be an audience to the teachers as they worked really hard to ‘sell’ their book.  A palpable air of excitement filled the room as teachers battled it out to win approval for their book.

This was a fabulous event which was enjoyed by both those participating and those watching.  I look forward to repeating the event with student participants.

Give it a go.  If it worked for me, it may also work for you!

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It’s really nice when a promotional idea pops up out of the blue!

This is what happened last year when our school was contacted by our local public library asking if any of our students would be interested to join in a poetry showcase event which they were organizing for later in the year.

Knowing that there were a number of enthusiastic students who had a love of poetry, it was a given that at least two or three of our students would agree to attend this off site event being held on a Saturday morning.  To the delight of our Head of English, six student voiced their interest to get involved.

Invited to share an original poem, our students were polished representatives of the school as they presented a range of their original writing which included a spoken word poem as well as extracts from memoirs and short stories on which the students had been working.   Being able to receive encouraging feedback from a children’s author who had been invited to attend this event, was an added bonus.   Offering our students an opportunity to take on new challenges and move a little out of their comfort zone into a safe and encouraging environment is a welcome challenge.

In hindsight we realize that there is no need to sit back and wait for an invitation from our local library, but rather we should be proactive in getting together with them to see whether we can pool our resources and plan together.

Give it a go.  If it worked for me, it may also work for you!

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Oooooh!   I just came across this bit of info and fortunately it’s not too late to explore some of the cool locations listed!

Coffee & Books at Libraries is all the rage until the end of this month!.  Be quick to check out the links though so you can savour two of the best things in life: coffee and books!  With numerous FREE coffee fuelled activities at Melbourne libraries, this listing may just be the impetus to eplore some of the cool sites on offer.

Coffee and books

My mind is already ticking over on  how this idea can be implemented in our school libraries.   It may well be a variation or extension on a previous event ‘Books ‘n Bikkies’.

Hmmmmm……  the cog wheels are turning!!

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This idea is so simple, you kind of wonder why we aren’t doing it more often!Donate then take a book box2

Have a check of your personal bookshelves and select a few that you really enjoyed but don’t necessarily want to keep forever – especially if these could be replaced with books that others have and are happy to share with you!  Then set
up a box on your circulation desk with a big sign “Pass it on!” and invite others in your school community to pop books into the box.   The idea is that as they put one in, they take one out for themselves.   By passing books along to each other, we are sharing books that we each value.

Many of us can be very possessive of our books though, so if members of your school community tell you that they can’t bear to part with their books, vary the idea a little by putting an ownership note on the front of the book saying something like: This book belongs to xxxxx.  Feel free to borrow it, but please return it to this box when you have finished.  The owner would be very upset to lose the book!

Give it a go.  If it worked for me, it may also work for you!

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What better way is there to successful book promotion than to combine it with fundraising for a worthy cause?

Using the library to host Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea – a fundraiser for Cancer Council – is an awesome way to be able to showcase your library, enjoy a social event with work colleagues and to raise money for a very worthwhile cause all at the one time!

For several years now, I have been organizing this event in the various libraries I’ve worked in.   It is a fun and very easy event to organize.   By involving library work colleagues and a few key people from the Staff Association, getting the event together is a breeze.

The approach I have taken over the years is to hand over the food side of the event, particularly the planning and purchasing components, to the Staff Association and then having the library team deal with the advance publicity and set up of the event.   In my present school, which has a junior and senior library, we have taken to alternating the location each year.

As posters are sent out by Cancer Council, there’s little to do on the publicity side other than to display the posters around the school, enter the event into the school IMG_0674calendar and send reminder emails to staff to be sure they remember to come.   Negotiating with senior management to extend our usual 20 minute morning recess to 30 minutes not only sends a positive message to all staff that this is a worthwhile event, but has ensured that we get enough time to relax and chat over a cuppa.

As far as the library set up goes – this event is really very non demanding.   Reshuffling tables around the library so that there is sufficient room for food and ensuring that there is a safe area set aside for the urn, cups and saucers and other bits and pieces is fairly easy.   Because my intent is also to showcase the library, it has become an annual event to pull off the shelf some adult ‘absolutely must read books’ so as to ensure a bookish element infiltrates the event.   By distributing these books around the edges of the food tables or in and among the platters of food is a really great way to get the books noticed.

Throw in some collection boxes for the fundraiser, a bit of background music to add to the atmosphere and voila – there you have it!

Give it a go.  If it worked for me, it may also work for you!

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Probably one of the easiest events to organize and help to create a real buzz throughout the school is a Book Fair.

Ashton Scholastic is probably one of the first companies that springs to mind.  If you haven’t used them before, it’s worth giving them a go.   While I’ve found their stock to be of appeal to mostly a younger age group, if organizing a Book Fair is a new event for you, much experience and know how can be obtained by using the tried and tested ideas and format Ashton Scholastic brings.  They will deliver and provide a wide range of books, supply heaps of stickers and posters to help you promote the Book Fair and even loan you a fold out book shelf on which to all the books can be displayed.

Once you’ve gained some confidence though, you will be ready to take more control – particularly of the kind of stock that is included in the bundle offered up to your school community.

Contact publishers or book shops and give them a deal they can’t refuse!   If you are able to convince them that you have a ready supply of patrons hanging out to buy their books, you have leverage on your side to get them to organize the whole Book Fair.  No – I’m not kidding!   I have done this using three different well know book shops.  One they agreed to be involved, they delivered the books, set them up on display and – most wonderful of all – manned the Book Fair for the hours we agreed it would be open – and – best of all – handled all of the money transactions – a headache that is a pleasure to do without!

A book shop will not want to make the commitment of setting up, manning and then packing up a Book Fair though, unless they get something good in return.  The good for them is, of course, lots of book sales.   So, to be fair, you have to do your part too by publicizing the Book Fair lots, well in advance.  And by lots, I mean, lots!   Put posters up around the school.  Write articles and ads for the school newsletter.    Send notices home with students.   Create circulation desk publicity like book marks or brochures.   Make sure that everyone knows the date/s times and location of the Book Fair.   Include some ‘sneak peeks’ in your publicity material so that you help build expectation.   Ask the book shop you are using to also assist in the publicity by giving them posters and flyers to distribute.   If they are a ‘big’ book shop, ask them to list your event in their monthly newsletters.   In short – make a big  noise so that everyone who comes within sight of your school knows that there’s to be a Book Fair.

Then, during the Book Fair, just sit back and enjoy it.  Delight in the discoveries that your students make.   Be sure to include books that are of interest to the many adults that will be popping in.  The last thing you want is to have disappointed adults unable to find something for themselves!   To ensure that lots of adults do attend, hold the Book Fair outside of school hours too, either at morning drop off or afternoon pick up, so that parents can have a look too.   Extend the patronage by inviting colleagues from nearby schools and public libraries to attend.  In short – make your Book Fair an event!

Give it a go.  If it worked for me, it may also work for you!



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It is some years ago since the idea of the Birthday Book Club was initiated in one of the school libraries in which I worked.   It was an initiative introduced by one of my work colleagues – another Bev – prior to my arrival at the school.

The idea of the Birthday Book Club is quite simple.  At one level it is a fundraiser while at another it is a lovely way to acknowledge the birthday of students.

Working with the support of the school administration (which may translate to the ‘Development’ or ‘Marketing Department’ in other schools) each student was presented with an attractive birthday card incorporating the school logo and a warm individualized birthday message.  Each year a new birthday card was produced by the school to ensure that this didn’t appear as a routine request for donations, but rather, had an air of warmth and sincerity for the greeting imparted.  Cards were distributed to the students at the beginning of the month of their birthday.  Inserted inside the birthday card was a donation slip inviting the student and/or his or her family to make a donation to the school library in honour of their birthday.

The school admin setup a separate tax deductible account in which all Birthday Book donations were deposited.   Receipts generated by admin were then passed on to library staff signaling us to request the student to come to the library to select a book from the pile of books we kept on hand for birthday book donations.  Once the book was chosen, the receipt was given to the student to pass on to his/her family.  A week or two later, once the book was accessioned and processed, the student’s donation to the school would be formally acknowledged by mention in the school newsletter and/or mention at the campus student assembly where the donation template inserted into the book would be read out.  Students who donated the book into the library were given first option to borrow it.

The donation template, created in Publisher, was printed on gold sticky labels and inserted into the book.  It looked something like this:

Birthday Book Club

And if you think that acknowledging the birthday of students is something that only young students enjoy, you’ve got it totally wrong!   Our older students thoroughly enjoyed the recognition of their birthday and the fact that a book they chose was to live on in our school collection long after they had graduated!  As part of the processing, we would enter the student’s name as a key word, so that their book could easily be found.  What a delight it was to see the look of joy on the face of one of our old students who returned for a visit, did a search of the catalogue and then found their book on the shelf!

Give it a go.  If it worked for me, it may also work for you!

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Have you ever enthusiastically shared what you’ve recently read with a friend, a colleague or even a bunch of students that just happen to be in the room with you?

If you haven’t ….. you’ve simply got to give it a try!   As the sharing gains momentum, the conversation quickly collects an electrifying  buzz.  The more you rave on about the book you’ve so thoroughly enjoyed, the more the person or group you’re sharing with want to talk about their recent reads too!  One comment feeds off another.  Before you know it, the conversation goes on for longer and longer and the words themselves become contagious!!

As part of a three day Literary Festival I organized at one of the schools I worked at, we threaded such conversations into the program.  Aiming for simplicity, we called the event ‘Read a good book lately?’  It was so simple to organize, but turned out to be one of the most successful sessions.

A call to staff across the school asking for volunteers to talk about their favourite reads with students ended up drawing more teachers than we could accommodate!   Wanting to ensure that we included as many as possible, it was quickly decided to team teachers in pairs.   We also knew, that working in pairs, the teachers would ‘feed’ off each other.  After double checking that the pairs of teachers were happy to team with each other, the only instruction to them was to talk about books and aim to enthuse the students who were listening to them.  This Literary Festival ‘event’ was assigned an hour for three Year 10 classes.  Knowing that teachers could relocate quicker than classes, we gave the teachers a 20 minute time limit before moving into the next class.

It was full on, but wow – was it powerful!   Students saw our senior art teacher trundle in with an overnight bag packed full of books from her home bookshelf – some powerful reads for senior students.   Other teachers had overflowing piles of books in their arms. The art teacher teamed with the special ed teacher while a music teacher teamed with a religion and society teacher and a chemistry teacher teamed with a maths teacher.   The teachers were in their element and the students just lapped it up.   At the end of an hour, all of the Year 10 students had listened entranced to six teachers working outside of their normal roles.  They witnessed and valued the common bond of literature shared by these teachers and the joy that each of them expressed of reading.

We had given the students a magical gift.  Very powerful role modelling was achieved with very little effort.

Give it a go.  If it worked for me, it may also work for you!

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