Monthly Archives: March 2015

Visual Marketing

ND LIB 002

An example of a North Dakota library

This is a guest post by Kristin Byram, the Public Awareness Coordinator at the North Dakota State Library.

I want to highlight the importance of limiting the amount of marketing materials around your library. It is common for people to plaster posters and signs all over the place in hopes of “maximizing your audience” but the truth is the library already has a lot going on visually. Your posters and advertisements have to compete with your books. Here is a test: enter your library and walk around and see where your eye goes. If you can get someone (preferably who doesn’t work at the library) to help with this, that would be great! Take note of what your patrons are seeing when they walk and use that to your advantage.

Along these same lines, it is very important to keep your library clean and open. It gives your eye the ability to naturally flow around the room. If your library is cluttered, or too full, your patrons will be visually overloaded and will be less likely to take in the important information you want them to. One of the best ways to control this is to create a spot in the library that you can put all your marketing materials up on. Keep the area clean and up to date. Make sure to change out the information frequently so patrons don’t continue to see the same thing and ignore it.

Are you interested in learning more about marketing? Kristin will be teaching a session called “Let’s Make a Marketing Plan” at the Spring Workshops next week that will help you do just that! Kristin’s session will be Tuesday morning, April 7. Register to attend if you haven’t already.

Week of the Young Child

WOYC 2Week of the Young Child is April 12-18, 2015. Established in 1971, it is an initiative of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The goal is to “focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.” The library is definitely a place in town that fits this description!

The theme this year is “Celebrating Our Youngest Learners!” You can participate at your library by planning activities for children around the themed days:

  • Music Monday: sing, dance, celebrate, and learn
  • Taco Tuesday: healthy eating and fitness at home and school
  • Work Together Wednesday: work together, build together, learn together
  • Artsy Thursday: think, problem solve, create
  • Family Friday: sharing family stories

Visit the Activity Resources page for guides you can use to create programs for families at your library. There are many resources you can share with parents. There is also an Event Planning Handbook that includes press releases, a social media guide, flyers, and graphics. NAEYC also offers Suggested Activities that focus on larger issues such as raising public awareness and public policy issues. There is also a guide for Community Outreach which you can use to help build partnerships.

Does your library celebrate Week of the Young Child? How does your library focus on the needs of young learners the rest of the year? Share your stories in the comments!


Encourage Your Patrons to Read Diversely

Have you ever thought to yourself “Diverse books don’t circulate in my library because my community isn’t actually diverse”? While you may feel your community is not diverse, a lack of diversity may not be the reason why diverse titles aren’t circulating. It may be that you as the librarian need to make your patrons aware of these titles and promote why your patrons might enjoy them. Have you ever chosen not to purchase books because you think they are too “diverse” to circulate in your library? They definitely won’t circulate if they are not on the shelves! Remember that books don’t have to be about diversity, they can simply be diverse.

Once you’ve purchased them, what can you do in your library to help get books circulating?

  • You probably already do book displays, but do they highlight diversity in your collection? Try using an infographic to help people select a good match. There’s no need to make the display only about diversity, simply incorporate diversity into displays you already have planned.
  • If you do a program such as Blind Date with a Book, be sure to include some diverse choices. The whole idea of a Blind Date program is to get patrons to try something new that they might not usually read.
  • Diversity in YA, a blog which highlights “young adult books about all kinds of diversity,” has a guide for how to encourage diversity in your collection. One of the suggestions is “recommend diversity.” What’s one primary reason books are often popular? Because people are talking about them! Kids in particular want to read what everyone else is reading, so talking about books will go a long way toward getting them to circulate. Even adult patrons come in asking for books they heard about on TV or the radio. Once you have the momentum of word of mouth, you will see increased circulation. What are some ways to talk about books?
    • Mention titles in your weekly article in the newspaper
    • Mention titles on Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
    • Mention titles at book club meetings
    • Work with the school librarian to cross-promote
  • If you’ve never tried book trailers, try featuring them on your library website or Facebook page. Not all books have them, but you can find them on YouTube, or you can try the website of the author or the publisher.
  • You can’t read everything, so familiarize yourself with websites that can help you advise readers on what books they might like. Also, the State Library offers access to NoveList (under Books & Literature), another great resource for connecting readers and books.
  • If you don’t usually do book talks, read up on how to do a book talk and try it with some titles you’ve enjoyed.

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Mindfulness at Your Library

3747796338_ae8565af88_z[1]At the Summer Reading Workshops in February, one of the ideas I suggested for an adult program was “Escape Your Stress,” a play on the “Escape the Ordinary” slogan. Potential topics included stress management, mindfulness/meditation, and yoga. While it’s great to offer these types of program to patrons, perhaps it’s you in the role of librarian who needs some stress reduction.

Minitex recently hosted a free webinar called “Insights and practical tips on practicing mindful librarianship to manage stress,” which was lead by Kristen Mastel and Genevieve Innes. There is a recording available if you were unable to attend. If you don’t have time for a webinar, Kristen and Genevieve also wrote an article by the same title, and they have developed a website to walk you through the concepts of mindfulness and share additional resources.

If you are not familiar with the concept of mindfulness, Psychology Today defines it as “a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

If the idea of meditation seems a little hokey to you, check out the research from well-respected medical institutions:

If you are interested in mindfulness, the UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center offers some free guided meditations to help you get started.

Do you practice mindfulness? How do you manage stress in the library? Share your recommendations in the comments!

Summer Reading Workshop Wrap Up

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Thanks so much to everyone who attended the Summer Reading Workshops over the last two weeks! If you were not able to attend, you can find all of my presentations on the Summer Reading page of the State Library website. I have included resources mentioned by participants, and this is where you will find links to various Pinterest pages.

To find instructions for the pipe cleaner ninja craft, visit Frugal Fun for Boys.

For additional resources featuring the platypuses on the summer reading program, check out:

Also, be sure to check out  our customizable bingo card template for Adult Summer Reading Bingo. If you would like to offer adults a summer reading program but don’t think you have the time, this is a great solution. If you usually just offer a program for kids, this is an easy way to involve the rest of the community as well!

If you have any questions about summer reading, please let me know!

Art Project for Teens and Adults

I stumbled across a site that had directions for a project called Song Lyric Wall Art that may work as a program in your libraries.  Instead of song lyrics, you could use quotes from books, movies, etc.

They say to find a painting at a thrift store or use one that you already have and are willing to paint over. Next, attach letter stickers over it in the form of whatever quote or saying you would like, and paint over it with acrylic paint or spray paint.  After it dries, take off the stickers and you will have a unique wall hanging.

I decided to try this to see how easy it actually was. Instead of using a painting, I bought a canvas and spray painted it black.  Since it took multiple coats, it did take longer than originally anticipated.  Also, if you use spray paint instead of the acrylic paint, make sure to go outside for this project.  Once it was dry, I stuck the letters and numbers on and spray painted the whole thing yellow.  This also took multiple coats.  Then, after it was dry, I took off the stickers.  The stickers weren’t too keen on staying on the canvas so some of the yellow paint got where I didn’t want it but, all in all, it was a fun project.  Next time, I may try the acrylic paint and see how that works.  Here is my finished project:

wall art

Have you done something similar at your library?  How did it turn out?  Do you have any tips or ideas on how to make this a successful program?