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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Easy and Better Olympic Display Ideas

The Summer Olympics begin on Friday so let’s get those books lists and displays up now. The Olympics get a larger share of the public’s attention than any other event in our country-- we are talking 100 million more than watch the Super Bowl. Doing nothing to acknowledge that the Olympics are happening with displays of some kind is not even an option.

Thankfully there are many articles and book lists coming out to help you. I will link to a few of those below but here are some other ideas to make your Olympic displays a little more engaging to your patrons without more effort on your part.

  • Use the keyword search functionality on your catalog to identify books that contain information about specific sports, especially the more obscure ones in fiction. Even if you only find one, for example, romance where someone plays team handball [I have no idea if this book exists, but it makes my point], you can highlight that one book for its uniqueness. Place it up front on a larger display, put it on a service desk, highlight it on the website, etc. The point is you are providing the unexpected for patrons.  Whether or not they check that specific title out, they will be impressed that you put so much effort and thought into finding interesting titles. If you find a bunch of more unique Olympic books, you can find ways to highlight them over the 2 weeks of the games.
  • The Olympics are popular and of interest to all ages levels. Use this as an opportunity to display materials for all ages together. People will love to find books for all members of the family in one place. Now, I have heard libraries tell me they cannot put books for children on the same display as books for adults. In those cases, move some furniture around for the 2 weeks of the Olympics and put displays next to each other.
  • Just as all ages are interested in the Olympics, so too are those who enjoy all formats.  Make sure you are displaying fiction, nonfiction, audio, video, and music, all together. Seriously, the Olympics even get people interested in national anthems; I interest in hearing national anthems increase every time there was an Olympics in my 15 years at the library.
  • Ask all staff, from every department in the library to help. Again, the Olympics are of interest to a majority of people in general so this is a wonderful time to engage your entire staff, no matter where they work in the building, to help make book lists and displays. Including anyone who wants to help in the planning process is also a great way to encourage RA service. The more staff who provide RA the better your service. It also promotes team building and makes for happier staff and patrons. And it is less work for you.
Those are some outside the box, broad ideas about how to make better Olympic displays.  In terms of links to help you find books, I don’t want to give you specific lists today because there may be better ones coming out in the next few days. Rather, I am going to provide some links here that will run searches to identify lists for you. This will insure the most up to date lists pop up. This will also allow this post to be useful in the future:
Have fun with this one. The Olympics always bring people together, and since the library also brings people together, the two things make for a perfect match.

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