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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Resource Alert: Outside the Box Bookish Holiday Calendar For More Interactive Displays [and a bonus bookmark idea]

Library workers love book related holidays because they are great places for us to get display ideas that will resonate with the public.

Back when I first started in libraries, all we had was Chase’s Book of Days to identify bookish holidays. But now there are so many it is hard to stay on top of them all, let alone identify the more fun and creative ones far enough in advance to actually do something cool with it. Also, many of us are sick of the same old, same old.

Don’t worry, however, help is here. Today on Book Riot, Kelly Jensen posted this month by month list of “Book Holidays to Mark on Your Calendar to Celebrate Reading All Year Long.” Kelly is specifically calling out those elusive social media holidays, you know the ones we don’t know about until the day they are happening, but she also includes this very helpful link to author and book related dates from Flavorwire.

But first, an important note about the Flavorwire Ultimate Literary Calendar. It is very pretty. Click through and see for yourself. Each month is its own PDF and even if you never used it to make a display, you could easily turn each of them into monthly bookmarks that your patrons would LOVE. Each month, put the current month at the desk and watch your patrons go ga-ga over them. And, the source is clearly sited a the bottom of each one, so you are all set to print and hand out freely. I am a little too excited about this-- its easy, beautiful, cheap to reproduce, and patrons will love it.

Okay, but those are the more “old-fashioned” bookish holidays. Back to Kelly’s list.  Here is what she lists in the article from January for example:
Beginning Second Sunday of January: Universal Letter Writing Week 
2: National Science Fiction Day 
18: National Thesaurus Day 
Fourth Wednesday in January: Library Shelfie Day
Taking this example, I could see displays both in the library and on social media around these dates. Ideas [1 per “holiday”] in order from this list include:

  • Epistolary novels
  • Recent SF award winners
  • A display where you pick a word and find books that use synonyms in their titles [this one could be fun and you could get the whole staff involved]. You could make a whole week of it, with a different word each day.
  • Library Shelfie Day would be great online where you could ask staff and patrons to grab some of their favorite books, arrange them, and take a photo. You could do it all month. Asking staff and patrons to share their favorite reads from 2018 [read in, doesn’t have to be published in] and then print the photos for an in library display with one of the “Best Books” of last year displays you will already have up in January. 
Of those ideas, the last 2 need planning-- a little for the synonyms and a lot more for the shelfie, but they are extremely interactive, more so than the old fashioned bookish holidays. Interactivity is the key to successful RA Service right now.

Getting all staff excited about promoting our collections by asking them to contribute their favorites and also allowing patrons to get in on the fun, is our main goal these days. You can read more about this topic by me by clicking on the tag “Interactive RA.

We have a lot going on, but finding easy, fun, outside the box ways to promote reading for pleasure, ways that allow everyone to participate in whatever way they want, ways that allow us to use our knowledge and collections to showcase a broader array of reading options-- this is a time saver and will make our RA service better.

Our job isn’t always to provide the content for every display we do, sometimes we just need to provide the inspiration and then ask everyone to add their thoughts, ideas, and titles. When we include all voices, we are getting closer to being truly the public’s library and not the librarian’s library.

Thanks for the list Kelly. And if you have more, let Kelly know in the comments

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