And while children’s books may be the trailblazers, they’re by no means the only ones with enhanced content. Novels for older readers have been published electronically with multiple reading options — for example, a book that begins in medias res with an option to read the story as the author initially wrote it, and one in which the events happen chronologically. I see a world of possibilities with this kind of thinking — books where readers can choose their own adventure, choose which viewpoint character they’d prefer, or choose which plot-line to follow. I see fantasy novels with interactive maps that let readers explore the author’s world, even embedded video games that allow them to go on adventures in that world. I see movie tie-in editions which include trailers, deleted scenes, and interviews with actors and directors. And let’s not forget enhanced textbooks containing interactive diagrams, adaptive self-tests at the ends of chapters, and educational games.
In honor of Get Caught Reading Month, I’ve introduced a program this May in which the librarians in my department hand out raffle tickets to people we “catch” reading around the library. It gives us another way to see what our patrons are interested in, and to show them a more human side to the library, even if that’s just a short conversation about what they’re reading or the raffle they’re entering. Along with the raffle tickets, we’re also handing out bookmarks with information about Summer Reading, which starts on June 1. So we’re encouraging reading, engaging patrons, and promoting other library programs.
The nice thing about this is that it’s relatively simple and inexpensive to implement. I designed and printed the tickets and bookmarks myself, and we’re raffling off a gift certificate to the Friends of the Library book sale, so there were virtually no overhead costs. (Side note: a huge thanks to the Friends for supporting my last-minute contest ideas!)
Since this is the first time we’re doing this, we’ve kept if fairly simple. However, I’ve come up with a few ideas for more involved programs that could tie in with Get Caught Reading Month that I thought I’d share, in case any of you want to try a Get Caught Reading promotion at your library.
1. Have people submit pictures of themselves reading around town for a Get Caught Reading photo contest. You could award prizes for the whackiest or most unique photo. With the patrons’ permission, you could post some of the pictures on your library’s Facebook page or other social media site, and let people compare their favorite reading spots.
2. If your community is big on local history or has a lot of unique sites, you could have a Get Caught Reading scavenger hunt where people check in at various sites throughout town. This could be as simple as snapping a photo with a book and the building/statue/monument in the background, or if you wanted (and if the necessary parties were receptive to the idea), you could partner with local businesses to have them stamp a scavenger’s “passport” proving they were reading there. If you went the passport route, you could find yourself with a number of local partners grateful for your support (and who will hopefully return the favor if you ask them!).
Does your library do anything for Get Caught Reading Month? Or have you tried anything similar to the ideas I’ve come up with? If so, I’d love to hear how the program went!