It all begins and ends with my friend and colleague, the fabulous Polli Kenn, Readers' Services Coordinator at the Lawrence [KS] Public Library. Polli and I have worked together before and you can read about those programs here and here [this one has a recording of the event].
But, she is also featured in the January 2017 issue of Corner Shelf [you can access the entire issue here]. Click here for Polli's "Notes from the Field" where she answers editor Rebecca Vnuk's questions about her work providing Readers' Services and the creation of the amazing Book Squad [which is also the subject of the links in the previous paragraph].
Also, remember that Rebecca features a different person in most issues under her "Notes from the Field" feature. You can click here for the newsletter archive. Taken together, "Notes from the Field" creates a full picture of how library workers are actually helping leisure readers, in public libraries today. You can learn quite a bit from spending some time going back through past issues.
But back to the current issue where Polli is also the author of an article that recaps LPL's extremely successful Book Club Speed Dating program which took place this past November. Look, I know a lot of library's do these events, and even more are looking into hosting them, but you all need to read Polli's article because she gives some of the most practical and useful advice I have ever read about how to make an event like this successful. Here is just one example of that advice:
"Let me reiterate that the most important ingredient is passionate staff who booktalk quickly, clearly, and well."Please, do yourself a favor and listen to Polli.
Throughout the last nine months as I have been working with Polli on other projects, we were also trying to hatch a plan where I could come down to Lawrence and do some training, and that day is almost here.
First on the evening of February 9th, we will be building off of Polli and her team's success with the Book Club Speed Dating program by hosting another outside the library event for area book club members. It is going to very much like this program I did last September at Hinsdale [IL] Public Library where I give book club member advice on how to lead better book clubs for a bit and then I take questions from everyone there. We will have food and drinks. It will be tons of fun.
This is a program I have done many times. Patrons love it. It is a wonderful way to gather your area book club participants whether or not they use the library. It demonstrates that you care about them and their bookish pursuits and reminds everyone that you know how to have a some fun.
Since I was already coming to host this book club party, Polli and I also worked on a regional training for any and all library workers who can make it for the next day, February 10th. Co-Sponsored by NEKLS, this is an entire day of intermediate level RA training at Lawrence Public Library, including book discussion training for book discussion leaders. You can pull up the details here and even a full itinerary here. Anyone who can get to Lawrence Public Library is welcome. And it only costs $10 including breakfast and lunch!
But back to the beginning of this post. I know not all of you can make it to Kansas to see me and that not every library or regional system who wants me to come to them can manage it. Heck, I can barely fit in all the requests I get, but there are ways to stay connected and involved. The Corner Shelf Newsletter is a great place to start. It is free and you can sign-up here. Rebecca highlights library workers from all over the country who are doing great things and with just a few clicks, you can learn a whole lot, get some great advice, and plan your own fabulous programs to serve leisure readers without leaving your desk.
Don't forget, no matter how long you have been doing this job, we all have something to learn from each other.