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.

Attend These Free Webinars in October

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.


Browse the Stacks, Not the Racks: Black Friday @ Your Library

ImageYou probably don't want to think about how many "shopping days 'til Christmas" there are, but it's a good idea to plan now for the holiday season at your library.

Take for inspiration the "Black Friday at the Library" campaign run by the Lester Public Library (Two Rivers, WI) last year, in what director Jeff Dawson said, "What began as a tongue-in-cheek idea to raise visibility in an un-library-like way became a very successful marketing campaign" which included these "deals":

  • ... a “doorbuster” (a short-term, super-low-price deal). We decided to offer 50% off fines from 10 a.m. until noon.
  • We decided to offer three all-day deals. The first was a Buy One, Get One Free deal from our perpetual book sale. With bargain prices already set at 50 cents for hardcover books and 25 cents for paperbacks, we were looking to raise awareness of the ongoing book sale rather than to make money.
  • Our second deal was the chance to check out one extra DVD for free. Our normal limit on DVDs is seven at a time, but on Black Friday, patrons could take home eight.
  • Our third special promotion was a “guess the pod” competition... The DVD cases on the shelves are empty, so when patrons choose a title, they have to bring the cases to circ for check out. ... So for each DVD a patron got, he or she had a chance to win a $1 Off Fines coupon for future use by guessing which pod the disc would pop out of.

Jeff quantified the success of their event with these figures:

In terms of real numbers, I compared Black Friday stats to those of regular Fridays in 2013. Our average Friday door count was 426 patrons; on Black Friday it was 745, a 43% increase. The average Friday haul for fines was $43.32; on Black Friday it was $243.04, an 82% increase. The average Friday income for the perpetual book sale was $5.25; Black Friday’s total was $61.35, a 91% jump.

Read the whole 2-page article to get details on their newspaper ad strategy, see the ads they ran, and figure out if you'd want to do something like this at your library.

Take note: "Black Friday" (the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the U.S, often regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season) falls on November 28th this year.

P.S. Information Today has made all the articles in their Sep/Oct 2014 issue of Marketing Library Services free on their website.

Get more ideas at ‘Tis The Season: Ideas for Public Library Holiday Campaigns for ways your library can help the less fortunate in your community by running holiday giving campaigns to collect donations for the needy. As Tiffany McClary says, "Holiday giving programs are a meaningful and important way to establish connections with your community."

Black Friday Ads for — Lester Public Library?, pp. 4-5 of the Sep/Oct 2014 issue of Marketing Library Services
‘Tis The Season: Ideas for Public Library Holiday Campaigns from New Jersey State Library's It's Time to Rediscover Your Library

image credit: Harris County Public Library's Facebook page via The Wisconsin Library Association's Facebook page


9 Success Stories You May Have Missed in August

ImageHere are great ideas and good news from around the Winnefox Library System:

⇒ Menasha Public Library has become a partner of the nationwide Read Aloud 15 Minutes campaign, and will be sharing with parents and caregivers the information, suggestions, and tips for making 15 minutes of reading a part of a daily routine. Read Aloud 15 Minutes is a non-profit organization that's working to make reading aloud 15 minutes a day a new standard in childcare.  Your library can become a partner too by filling out their online form.  And the Friends of the Menasha Public Library is collecting aluminum cans for recycling; funds will be used to increase the Friends' endowment fund which provides programs and materials.

⇒ Winneconne Public Library regularly gives Facebook "shout outs" to patrons like Grayson and Dick, and wrote a tribute to longtime volunteer Marjorie Eid.

⇒ Oakfield Public Library has a new display case in the village hall lobby, thanks to a grant from the Oakfield Community Foundation.

Cake pans are being circulated to local patrons of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose; they started with 9 different designs (Spiderman, Barbie, Bunny, Butterfly, Dora, Elmo, guitar, Hello Kitty and Lightning McQueen), and received donations of 45 more.  The library is also lending a Card Creators Kit.

Mobile printing — from a laptop, mobile device, or from home — is a new service for patrons of the Menasha Public Library.

⇒ Berlin Public Library staff worked at the Green Lake County Fair serving ice cream in the Dairy Barn serving ice cream, and were "VERY excited to see the number of kids using their free ice cream coupons from the 2014 Summer Reading program!!"

⇒ A partnership between the Fond du Lac Public Library and the Volunteer Center of Fond du Lac County created a StoryWalk on the east side of Lakeside Park.

⇒ Wautoma Public Library set up an "If you Build will be Fun!" passive program as a free-play undirected drop-in activity, setting up tables with supplies left over from earlier programs — LEGOs, marshmallow, spaghetti, clay, Krinkles, cardboard boxes, and Jenga —  for kids school age and up & younger children accompanied by a parent.

⇒ The Friends of the Oshkosh Public Library voted to allocate more than $27,000 to be used for library programs and services, including the summer reading program, events and activities for teens, holiday decorations and programs, a Dr. Seuss celebration and other children's events, author visits, the Lakefly Writer's Conference and National Novel Writing Month activities. This generous allocation comes primarily from the Friends' Used Book Sales.

image credit: Oshkosh Public Library's Facebook page

2 Free Online Conferences to Attend in October

ImagePlan to attend these free continuing education opportunities next month; attend a full day, or choose just the presentations that interest you.

1. The Digital Shift: Libraries @ the Center virtual conference
October 1, 2014
9am - 4pm CST
Schedule of presentations (EDT)
Register here
It aims "to provide actionable answers to some of the biggest questions our profession faces, including:
• How can libraries adapt and adopt emerging technologies and tools, new ways of learning, and the evolving publishing ecosystem?
• How can libraries meet the 21st century needs of children and young adults?
• How will libraries continue to be at the center of their communities?"
Conference sponsors: Library Journal & School Library Journal

2. Library 2.014 Worldwide virtual conference
October 8 - 9, 2014
9am - 10pm CST
Schedule of presentations
Registration not required; just join a session that interests you.
A sample of the presentations:
• 7 Tactics to Gain Big Savings Through Collaboration
• Get Noticed: Create Compelling Images that Spark Engagement
• Marketing on a Budget
Conference website
Conference sponsor: The School of Information at San José (CA) State University

Attend These Free Webinars in September

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.


Your Patrons Will Appreciate This: 6 Tips to Avoid Overdues

you can get this book bag at Café PressWe all know library patrons who have trouble returning library materials by the due date. Here are 2 of the 6 tips you could share with customers — via your website, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook page — to stop the overdue cycle and help get materials back on time:

1. Designate a special library bag. We have a specific bag that we always use for the library. It's big and bright and you can't miss it. Phee can go dig it out of the closet herself. When we're finished with a particular book, sometimes it goes right back into the bag for the next trip. If you always use the same bag, then any family member going to the library will know what to take. No more books left behind!

Hmmm...does your library or Friends group sell tote bags decorated your library's logo?  If so, you could set up a "point of purchase" display at your circulation desk to make it easy for patrons to buy one with this use in mind!  You could market them as "Make it Easy to Return Your Books on Time" bags.  :-)

3. Set a due date reminder on your phone/calendar. I'm terrible at this. I even get emails reminders that books will be due in a couple days and I still can't get them returned on time. I make it a point to enter the due date and set a reminder in my phone as soon as we get to the car. You could also make a big note on your paper calendar. Whatever it takes so that you see, and heed, the reminder!

To get the rest of the 6 tips, read Helen's post at her Life in Random Bits blog.

• Hat tip to Kimberly-Little Chute Public Library who shared the blog post on their Facebook page
• You can buy or design your own "Library Books" tote bag like the one in the photo at Café Press


7 Success Stories You May Have Missed in July

Oshkosh Public Library's Discovery TablesHere are great ideas and good news from around the Winnefox Library System:

Open Mic Night at Princeton Public Library is "a monthly program where patrons are encouraged to bring their stories, poetry, and music to share with the group" in a casual and fun atmosphere.  Here's a photo album showing recent participants, which includes an accordion & banjo duo.

⇒ The Fond du Lac chapter of Women in Management presented Fond du Lac Public Library support services coordinator Lori Burgess with their 2014 Woman Manager of the Year award. Dorothy Bliskey, Women in Management’s 2014 president, said, "Lori is a wonderful example of the women who make our organization what it is. Her leadership is an asset to our community."  And the Fond du Lac City Council honored Circulation Supervisor Nancy Groff for her 25 years of service at the library.

⇒ Oshkosh Public Library's children's & teen services department set up Discovery Tables to offer fun and hands-on science activities for kids.  The theme in early July was Exploring with Microscopes & Magnifying Glasses; "Kids will look at real insects, prepared slides of textile fibers, plants, pollen & spores." The tables were set up in the KidSpace area on weekday afternoons.  In the same vein, the Wautoma Public Library had a scanning electron microscope on loan from UW-Madison, and invited people to bring objects like butterfly wings to view at a magnification rarely seen first-hand.

⇒ Ripon Public Library held a "Minute To Win It" program that was "a laugh-out-loud evening of fun and camaraderie."  Staff worked with area businesses that helped sponsor the event by providing prizes.

⇒ Three libraries increased their visibility this summer by being part of parades and community events: Campbellsport Public Library particpated in the 4th of July parade with kids dressed up as robots (children were invited to make their costumes at the library); Winneconne Public Library's "Club Winston" marched in the parade and had a lemonade stand at Sovereign State Days; and Patterson Memorial Library was part of the Wild Rose Days: Party on the Pond parade and celebration.

⇒ The Taste of Wautoma is an annual library fundraiser that "features area restaurants highlighting their most delicious dishes. It's a great opportunity to enjoy an evening out and mingle with old and new friends while helping the library at the same time." All proceeds from the event go toward payment of the 2009 Wautoma Public Library remodel project.

⇒ Caestecker Library in Green Lake is slated to have a new elevator installed in their building, thanks to a pledge from Thomas Caestecker, for whom the library is named.

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

Photo credit: Oshkosh Public Library's Facebook page

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