Ideas to Make Your Library Shine

Sharing ideas from around the system & around the country, on programming, fundraising, grants, free stuff, and more.
Brought to you by the Winnefox Library System.

5 Success Stories You May Have Missed in June

ImageHere are recent success stories from around the Winnefox Library System you may have missed:

Leon Saxeville Library in Pine River received a Geraldine Hartford Waushara County Fund grant through the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin. "The library was able to purchase 2 new computers for the Public Computer stations in addition to 3 new larger monitors with the generosity of the Community Foundation.  Just last week the final technology upgrade was completed with the purchase of a Tablet for staff use and patron training opportunities.  The Mobile piece of the Library System Software was being tested and now that it is available so we could finalize our purchases the Grant allowed us to afford." If your library is in Waushara County, the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin is accepting applications for its Community Grants Program through August 15, 2014; here's where to get the Grant Policies & Procedures and application form.

⇒ The Winneconne Public Library was featured in the School Library Journal Teen Newsletter because of a blog post authored by Children's Librarian Amanda O'Neal that got the attention of School Library Journal; Marketing Specialist Kelly Nelson wrote the piece for national publication.

⇒ The Mill Pond Library Photography Club in Kingston had its first exhibition, and — through sales of prints and a prize drawing — the Club raised $330 which was donated to the library.

Fond du Lac Public Library was the 2014 winner of the CitizensFirst Walleye Weekend Grand Giveback.  (The Grand Giveback is an opportunity for non-profits to tell their unique stories and earn a chance to win $1,000 to further their mission.)  In addition, FDLPL was BadgerLink's Library of the Month.

⇒ Affecting all Green Lake County libraries, "After months of debate, Green Lake County Board Supervisors have voted unanimously to keep library funding at 100%, which will maintain the current level of funding for the five-year plan through 2016." [shared by Berlin Public Library]

Did I miss your library's success story? Use this form to tell me about it!

Photo credit: Montello Public Library's Facebook page

Readalikes Display: What to Read While You're Waiting For ...

ImageHere's a display idea that...

  • is self-serve instant-gratification readers advisory
  • increases circulation
  • can ease the "pain" customers feel while waiting on a long holds list

Oshkosh Public Library used this display of readalikes for recent bestsellers that have 30+ holds:


They created a list of titles to re-stock the display as books get checked out, and they're happy to share the list with you.  It's a Word document, so you can edit and adapt it to use at your library.

Tip: if you promote these readalikes on your library's website, make sure to turn each title into a link to the item's bibliographic record in the catalog. And consider creating some Pinterest boards of readalikes, like this one by Salt Lake County Library.

You can see what the Seattle Public Library does with this idea at Movie Mondays: While you’re waiting… and What to Read While Waiting for A Game of Thrones.

3 Great Ideas for Food for Fines

Food for Fines photo credit: Lester Public LibraryIf your library does Food for Fines — letting customers pay down overdue fees by donating boxed or canned food and/or personal care items — or you're thinking of starting it, these responses to an ALA Think Tank Facebook group post are ideas you can use:

1. Timing:

• We're doing ours this month because school is out and the free lunches at school aren't available for the kids. Its been very successful. ... We used the donated food as a display inside the front door.
• We do ours Nov 1 through Dec 31, but from my experience with working for a food bank, they really need the most help during the non-holiday months (spring, summer).
• We picked February because we were told that many people donate in November and December and by late February they are running low.

2. Pet food for fines:

We held a Pet Food For Fines program this summer to kick off our sign up week for our Paws to Read SRP. We partnered with a local animal shelter to find out what their biggest needs were, and then assigned fine forgiveness prices to each item that patrons could donate. Bigger items were worth more, such as a cat bed, while smaller items, such as a can of food, was worth less. It was pretty successful and a nice incentive for the animal shelter, as well as our patrons who were able to clear off their fines before starting SRP.
Here's what our board approved:
» One bag of dried pet food: $5
» One can of dog food: $2
» Two cans of cat food: $2
» One box of dog or cat treats: $4
» One bag of kitty litter: $5
» One cat bed: $7
The rescue we worked with was not picky as to brands, so we did not have to specify. Be sure to check with the shelter you plan to partner with, though, because sometimes they only accept particular brands due to food allergies/keeping animals on the same diet/etc. It was great...good luck!

3. Alternatives to collecting items onsite:

• I actually prefer a slightly different idea so that you don't get expired cans of corn. In the past we asked for folks to put their fine money in donation box, jar etc or special envelope and then we sent the funds over to the local pantry - no arguing that 1 box of cheerios was = to 20 dollars of late fees. The Food pantry was delighted to have the $$ and most patrons were happy to write larger checks to the food pantry than to the Town which actually received the fine $!
• ... the $ worked better in ours b/c the Food Pantry could purchase what they needed at the time - sometimes they had a lot of elderly so food and depends and sometimes families with small kids so baby food diapers etc or on occasion men who needed razors, shaving cream etc. it is a nice idea for the library to show community spirit however you do it.

If you want info on starting a Food for Fines program at your library, read the Marketing Library Services article 'Food for Fines' Drives: Positive PR That Works! to get helpful hints; the article's author says,

Food for Fines is an easy, inexpensive program that any library can benefit from. For a minimal outlay in staff time and a negligible loss in income, the library reaps enormous returns in public relations, staff morale, circulation statistics, and lost-item recovery.

And here are a few examples of Food for Fines programs:

Photo credit: "Food for Fines" by Lester Public Library is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Attend These Free Webinars in July

ImagePlan to attend these free webinars; all you need is your computer & speakers or headphones (no microphone needed.) If you attend a live webinar, it may be counted as a Category B continuing education activity towards renewing librarian certification.

Webinars with a ★ are the ones I think you'll find most useful.


Attract a New Audience to Your Library With a Comic Con

photo of a woman in awesome makeup job in the Lichtenstein style by Tony Aceves is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) Creative Commons licenseConsider holding a comic con (a.k.a. comic book convention) at your library.  A comic con could benefit your library by...

  • bringing in new readers
  • showcasing your library's graphic novel or manga collection
  • letting publishers or local comic book stores connect with fans & build a relationship with your library

Hmmm... next May might be a good time to hold a comic con — maybe as part of a Star Wars Day celebration on May the 4th (as in May the Fourth Be With You), or on Free Comic Book Day (a worldwide event held the first Saturday in May, when free comics aimed at new readers are handed out.)

There's an article over at Publishers Weekly titled How to Throw a Comic Con at Your Library that'll give you ideas; here are some snippets:

Over the past few years, there’s been an explosion in attendance and enthusiasm for comic book conventions around the world. At the same time, graphic novels have become one of the hottest categories at U.S. libraries. It’s no surprise, then, that comics-themed events at libraries are drawing crowds.
The events range from simple author appearances to huge multiday international affairs, such as the Toronto Comic Art Festival, held at the Toronto Reference Library, which drew 18,000 in 2013. Libraries are hosting scholarly comics symposia and participating in Free Comic Book Day, a worldwide event held the first Saturday in May, when free comics aimed at new readers are handed out. And there are even more singularly creative events—some involving partnering with local retailers and Star Wars cosplayers. [re: cosplayers, see my note below]

And here are some tidbits from the article:

  • Originally when we thought of the event, we thought it would be teens, but we had everyone from older people to little kids. It was a nice cross-section of the community, with lots of participation.
  • Kids Read Comics holds basic drawing and storytelling workshops, but builds from there — a workshop on drawing robots was a standout last year.
  • Merritt considers Kids Read Comics to be something of a pilot program for the many library cons that have followed. “We wanted to become an open-source model so we could communicate some of these ideas to other libraries to put something together on their own,” he says. And it’s working.
  • ... a chance to spotlight the library’s growing graphic novel collection. During the event, on March 22, graphic novels comprised 63% of the books checked out at the library.
  • Topics of workshops at the Chesterfield event include how to create a comic strip, how to create your own villain, drawing your own chibi (cute) characters, manga drawing, and so on. “We had all these topics both times, and the room was always stuffed full, with kids and adults.
  • “It’s hard to get teens to come to any event, but for this, they come to the library and get so excited,” says Hamdan.
  • Another big hit was the costume contest, which readers and library personnel participated in.
  • Graphic novel checkouts are way up, and Mark Waid’s Hulk books are a particular favorite. The campaign also resulted in stronger ties with local media.
  • "... our Friends of the Library group sold hot pizza by the slice and cold bottled water and ended up having a nice fundraiser.”

Read the full article How to Throw a Comic Con at Your Library to get all the details, plus all the tips and tricks for putting on your own comic con.

Notes about cosplay:

• Hat tip to Ten Great Event Ideas for Your Public Library
• Image credit: the photo "Comic-Con 2011 - I...I'll Think About It / Lichtenstein" on Flickr is copyright (c) 2011 Tony Aceves, and made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) Creative Commons license

How to Make Books in a Series Easier to Find

photo credit: Kaleb Fulgham on Flickr attaching a "shelf talker" card or sign to your fiction shelves — it might lead to happier readers, and increased circulation of your fiction collection.

Someone browsing your library's fiction shelves might be hesitant to choose a title if they aren't sure if it's the first in a series or not. Others may be pleasantly surprised to discover a prequel or sequel that's been published, especially if it's been years since they "finished" the series.

And you might want to add at the bottom of your shelf talker... something like "Read them all? You might like the series by [insert author of a similar series here] too!"

Here are tools you can use to make your list in reading order:

  • What's Next™: Books in Series Database of Kent District Library
  • Juvenile Series and Sequels from Mid-Continent Public Library (Independence, MO)
  • Novelist database, provided by BadgerLink and available through your library's Research page in the Literature category
  • Novelist K-8 database (like NoveList, but includes books for elementary and middle school aged children), also provided by BadgerLink and available through your library's Research page in the Literature category

To see how easy it is to create one, here's an example I found over at the Facebook page for Lester Public Library (Two Rivers, WI):

• the photo "48/365: And Who Said I Didn't Read?" on Flickr by Kaleb Fulgham is made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Creative Commons license
• the photo of a John Sandford shelf talker is from the Facebook page for Lester Public Library (Two Rivers, WI)

Attend These Free Webinars in June

ImagePlan to attend these free webinars; all you need is your computer & speakers or headphones (no microphone needed.) If you attend a live webinar, it may be counted as a Category B continuing education activity towards renewing librarian certification.

Webinars with a ★ are the ones I think you'll find most useful.

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