Tag Archives: Summer Reading

Career Crossovers

This Thursday, I’m presenting my first library-sponsored writing program at a local coffee shop. I’m really excited for this — and the whole series — but also a little nervous. I consider both librarianship and writing careers, but I’ve never combined them for a program like this.

Writing Elements.

As a librarian, I’m looking forward to the series because it’s the first time (at least in my tenure here) that our library has reached out to a local business to present a program there. Off-site programming is becoming increasingly popular as libraries are focusing more attention on community engagement. Dozens of libraries across the country now run book clubs that meet in bars, and I’ve heard of libraries partnering with local gaming stores, restaurants, and other businesses for various programs. For the Writing Elements series (a tie-in with our summer reading theme, Literary Elements), I reached out to a new local coffee shop where individual writers already practice their craft.

The librarian in me is also excited about the series because I know the target audience. I don’t know everyone who will be coming, but I know a few who have already told me they’ll be there. And not just because they’re my friends, but because they’re genuinely interested in a writing program.

I’m looking forward to the series as a writer because it’s a chance for me to meet and network with other local writers. I’ll have exercises related to a different topic each week (characterization this time around), and I’ll lead the group’s discussion, so the series will give me a chance to hone my skills as an instructor a bit. The writing community is so helpful and supportive, I always enjoy a chance to return that support, whether that means critiquing a friend’s work or hosting a library-sponsored series of programs.

Any tips as I make my foray into library outreach and more formal writing instruction?


Get Caught Reading Program Ideas

Get Caught Reading raffle ticket.

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!