#TBT – Going Rogue for Summer Reading

In honor of the season and the day, I am reposting an article I wrote for Novelist a few years ago for this early summer edition of Throwback Thursday.  At the time, this felt like edgy stuff – ditching the CSLP theme felt like a crazy move!  However, based on responses to the piece, I learned that many other libraries were also (and were already) rethinking summer reading.


Fast forward to 2016 and libraries are still doing just that – rethinking, reframing, and redesigning summer reading programs to create more value, reach more people, and have a greater impact.  Inspired by what many other libraries are doing, Chapel Hill Public Library is embracing the summer challenge framework and expanding the scope beyond just reading to embrace experiential learning as well.

charlotte summer
Charlotte Mecklenburg’s Summer Break Program 
Chicago Public Library’s Summer Learning Challenge

As I post this, and thanks to our fabulous Youth, RA, and Marketing staff, we are launching our 2016 Summer Challenge: Read More, Do More, Learn More – I’ll let you know how it goes.

chpl summer

Raise your hand (and comment below) if you and your library are rethinking the season and your approach to it.  I’d love to hear about what you are doing!

Going Rogue for Summer Reading: A Totally Local Approach to our Busiest Season

Originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of Kids & Books

It all started in the fall of 2011. After another summer — our busiest season at Lawrence Public Library — staff from Children’s, Teen, and Adult departments gathered to discuss how the summer reading program went. Good participation numbers? Check! Engaging slate of programs? Check! Lots of happy readers? Check!   Continue reading “#TBT – Going Rogue for Summer Reading”

Content Marketing for the RA Crowd

Even though I’m wearing a marketing hat these days, I do still keep my toes wet in the Readers’ Advisory waters. I occasionally write for NoveList’s RA News newsletter, a free resource full of great ideas for library staff involved in RA. My most recent article is just out and talks about making RA content more marketable by reducing it, re-using it, and recycling it. Read the article here and sign up for RA News here.

I’m not the only one with both an RA hat and a marketing hat!  NoveList is branching out into the marketing world with a new product – LibraryAware.  If you haven’t heard about this cool new tool to help libraries with branding and promotion, check it out.  One of the best things about NoveList has always been all of their added content – RA training, book discussion guides, themed book lists, newsletters, etc. – and it looks like LibraryAware will carry on this tradition with white papers like this and more.

Reader’s Advisory Goes Graphic!

No, this is not a post about 50 Shades of Grey or graphic novels.  This is a post about the power of graphic images to replace words and convey information in a fresh, interesting, and relevant way.

This flowchart made the rounds this summer.  And by “made the rounds,” I mean that it was picked up by everyone from School Library Journal and Nancy Pearl to GalleyCat and the Hollywood Reporter.  My colleague in our Teen Zone – the fabulous Molly Wetta – created it and she is still a little amazed at all the attention it has gotten in the past few weeks.  She’s mentioned to me a couple of times that it’s really “pretty simple.”  Continue reading “Reader’s Advisory Goes Graphic!”

Three Reasons to Love World Book Night

It’s 11:00 pm on Monday night.  This time last week, I was cruising the main drag in town with two colleagues, passing out copies of Ender’s Game, chatting up folks of all stripes, and hoisting a pint with many of them.  World Book Night USA was a great night to be a librarian – especially one whose passions are readers’ services and marketing.  And beer.   Continue reading “Three Reasons to Love World Book Night”

Steal These Tweets

We’ve been hearing the social media message for some time now – it’s important, we should have a strategy, we should all be engaged in it, we need to be measuring our efforts. We are told just about everything except for one very important thing: What exactly should we be posting on Facebook and tweeting on Twitter?  I recently contributed an article to NoveList called “What We Tweet About When We Tweet About Books” that addressed just this.

In it you can catch a glimpse of exactly what one library tweets about and why.  There’s some talk of strategy and measurement, but mostly it is real, successful Twitter content that will hopefully offer some fresh ideas if you are struggling to come up with 140 interesting and engaging characters.  Go ahead, steal them – or borrow them as we librarians prefer to say.  Continue reading “Steal These Tweets”

Ten Tips for Better Book Displays

1. Displays should reflect your customers’ reading interests, not yours.  You might be fascinated by ancient Japanese sword fighting or the history of dominos, but that doesn’t mean that books on those topics will make a good display.  While a fair amount of time might be spent filling a display fixture with books, the ultimate goal is for that fixture to be empty soon after.  Continue reading “Ten Tips for Better Book Displays”