Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Bags for Summer Reading

Lizz and I spent all year promoting recreational reading and promoting library programs.  We didn't want to stop just because school was out for the summer.  So we initiated a new summer books program:  Book Bags for Summer Reading!

For the first time, students and staff were invited to check books out for the summer.  We made themed bags based on genre or subject and invited people to custom-make their own bag.  We aimed for five or six books per bag; some people (our favorite people) took ten or twelve books--or even more than one book bag!

Bags were reserved with the name of the student or staff member on book bag tags that I made in PhotoShop.  Tags also showed what the bag's theme was--science fiction, historical fiction, nonfiction, books by a certain author, books in a series, etc.

Lizz and I spent an entire day putting themed bags together, and had a wonderful time and got completely carried away.

We ordered something like 200 bags.  We didn't use them all, but that was not for lack of trying!
Books for the Steampunk Book Bag

Books for the True Crime Book Bag

Books for one of the Mystery Book Bags

We allowed students and staff to browse through the bags at their leisure and to pick and choose from multiple bags as they built their own book bag.  We even took it upon ourselves to make bags for a couple of our frequent library users who didn't come in on their own.  We promoted for two weeks with signs and a stop-animation video that we made, and had of week of actual check out.  We kept careful records of who had checked out what books, and made sure everyone knew that books were due during the first week of the 2012-2013 school year, and that fees would apply if books were not returned.

Science fiction and fantasy were very popular (especially dystopias--we had four bags of sci fi dystopian books) and a lot of our newest arrivals went out the door for the first time.  The Game of Thrones series was also frequently asked for; we even went out to Barnes and Noble and bought another set!  We made a few very specific book bags that were reserved almost immediately:  "Classics and Classic Spin-Offs" (Pride and Prejudice with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the like), "The Plague!" (fiction and nonfiction books about plagues and diseases), "Books with Titles that Relate to Food," etc.  We had an almost equal mix of students and staff--just a few more students.  Building bags on the fly based on personal interest of the reader turned out to be relative easy, since making the themed bag had provided us with an excellent refresher of the books in our collection.  By the time all the students and teachers and staff had gone home for the year and the building was empty, we had checked out over 200 books in nearly 50 book bags.  That's a lot of summer reading, and we were pretty damn proud of ourselves.

Tagged, bagged, and ready for summer reading!