Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bring Advertising to the Library

We have all heard the adage "Don't judge a book by its cover", but let's be honest, we all do this. In this day and age there really is no excuse for a bad cover, yet they still exist. As a librarian, I want students to read a book based on its merits not the cover, but what if this doesn't happen? Why not advertise those books that we know will get student attention if we can just get them to crack it open?

I worked with an AIG teacher to develop an advertising unit. Students had to develop their advertising agencies, and they basically had to sell a book. We used Caldecott winners that were worthy of attention, but that did not get checked out much. Students had to develop commercials and book trailers for their books. They also had to recreate the covers. We had a couple of covers after the completion of the unit that did increase the circulation of the book.

It also didn't hurt that these advertising agencies had to market these books. It brought attention to some worthy books that were not necessarily on the student radar. In addition to the marketing tools, they had to set up booths in the media center to "sell" their books. Groups had been accumulating funds throughout the project, so they were able to bid on prime real estate. Tops of bookshelves were used as marketing booths. Because my shelves were mobile, the group with the highest bid could move their display space anywhere they desired. They, of course, chose to move it right outside the library door so they could catch students as they entered the library. The group that received the most monetary donations was recognized and earned "income" for their agency. All of the donations were then given to the library for the purchase of additional books.

This project made for a great collaborative project, increased interest in reading, and helped raise money for the media center. Student engagement was at an all-time high, because there was a definite competitive edge for the agencies to be better than one another.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I have really enjoyed reading about why members of my PLN became librarians. It has been great to learn their histories. As with many of those, my path to librarianship was not that direct. I started my professional career as a middle school teacher. While I loved middle school, I knew that I needed to find something to challenge myself. I started with working on a Master's degree in Middle Grades Education. One class in, and I knew this just wasn't what I wanted to do. 

I took some time to evaluate and make some decisions about my professional future (oh, and I got married, completed my National Boards, and bought a house in the meantime). After looking at school administration and various other career paths, I decided to pursue my MLIS. To be honest, my initial goal was not to be a school librarian. I actually intended to become an academic librarian. 

I took the classes for academic librarianship and avoided the classes for school libraries like the plague. Then as I was finishing up, I decided I should go ahead and take the classes for school library certification just in case. Boy, that turned out to be a great move. Our school librarian was taking a year off for maternity leave, so I asked to take that position during her absence. That was the best thing that ever happened to me. She actually ended up not returning, and I stayed for ten years in the position. 

Being a school librarian has been one of the most rewarding experiences. My evolution as a professional started when I took that position. I was lucky to have supportive administrators, and I am so thankful for all the students and teachers I had the opportunity to work with over the years.