Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’s birthday! Dr. Seuss is one of the most beloved authors of children’s book in the English language. I created a book trough about 2 weeks ago celebrating the event (the trough banner is featured above). I originally filled it with Seuss board books, picture books, easy readers, and Spanish versions, and could not keep the trough stocked often enough!  Even the more obscure titles are circulating. I ended up adding CD kits (each kit contains a book and CD) and audiobooks just to keep the trough from looking empty. I think it’s great that this will bring some attention to the kits and audiobooks. I’m sure that some patrons who would never give these items a second look may be tempted to try them out. Hmmm, this gives me an idea – the next time we feature an author, perhaps we can create flyers or bookmarks to promote the ebook versions. We can also include the qr code to make it easier for those with devices that have qr code readers (see previous post here). Definitely something to thing about.

Book Programs with a Twist

blind date with a book display

Book displays are ways for libraries to highlight certain books in their collections, and they’re usually centered around a theme. For instance, a display can be focused on a holiday or an event or even a color. In March, I plan to gather up books with green covers and set up a display to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Last month, I set up a children’s Chinese New Year display featuring informational and picture books about this holiday. I also included a few props to somewhat capture the flavor and festiveness of Chinese New Year. It’s a great way to increase cultural awareness and increase the circulation of  books that may not normally get much attention. It was a resounding success–the books were all checked out (including the backups) a week before the lunar new year even began.

For Valentine’s Day this year, I took the plunge and set up a book display that I had seen on various library Pinterest boards: Blind Date with a Book. I wrapped several books in craft paper so patrons are for all intents and purposes blindly checking out books–except for a clue or two hinted on the front. Each wrapped book included a slip where patrons can “rate their date.” This is a great (and fun!) way for patrons to try out a book they may not otherwise pick up.


Rate Your Date form adapted from one by Furman University Libraries

Since we didn’t have a barcode label maker, I simply wrote the barcode number on the back of each book. I love programs like this where both the librarian and the patrons take risks. The librarian isn’t sure how patrons will respond to an out-of-the-ordinary book display and the patrons aren’t sure what kinds of books they’re getting. Hopefully, both will be pleasantly surprised!

Promoting Library E-books

I read a very intriguing post in the ACRL TechConnect Blog on promoting library e-books: give e-books a physical presence by using dummy bookmarks much like the way dummy books replace physical books shelved elsewhere for whatever reason. Since online library collections are still largely invisible to users, the staff at Florida International University created plastic dummy bookmarks and dispersed them throughout the stacks in locations where the titles would have been shelved had they been physical books. Each bookmark was printed with the book cover’s image, title, author, and call number. A library user browsing the stacks can note titles that are available as e-books within each subject section.

You can brainstorm all sorts of ideas off this concept, as the comments following the ACRL post show. I especially like the idea of using QR codes on these bookmarks. Scanning one of these codes will take the user immediately to the online catalog page where the e-book can be checked out. I’d like to see a display of  print books that have matching e-books in our library and produce bookmarks containing QR codes that link to corresponding e-book records. Not only does this physical display create more awareness of the library’s e-book offerings and digital collection website, it also gives patrons easy and convenient access to these e-books via QR codes. Of course, you run into the problem of the e-book already being checked out because of the marketing. At least the online page will also offer the option of placing the e-book on hold. The premise is that once users get a chance to see how it all works, they will  be encouraged to use the e-book lending program.

Oh, and a cool note on the way I found the ACRL blog post – through Carnegie-Stout Public Library’s Pinterest board

© 2016 JoAnne Chen