We had a huge turnout for our Back to Books program – 52 folks resisted the temptation of a picture perfect summer day, overcame the jet lag of returning from ALA, or were able to sneak off desk (and covering those who couldn’t resist or overcome) to attend our workshop emphasizing books and how to get more folks to use them.
Becky Spratford talked about how the Berwyn Public Library is incorporating technology into their readers advisory services – with great success. Here’s the link to her talk (and blog – if it’s not on your feed, it should be!). Becky had great ideas – using book lists as many different ways as possible – on Goodreads/Shelfari/Bibliocommons/etc, on Facebook, as bookmarks (gasp – paper?!?) and don’t forget to post them on your website and save them for future use. Link to staff reviews from the ‘about the staff page.’ This is a brilliant idea, but may cause some consternation among the rest of the staff or administration, so work deliberately. I took her overall theme to be putting all your work into a circle so that it feeds back upon itself. You read a book and review it for your website so patrons can read the review and want the book for their discussion group. The discussion group, looking for other book titles, will find a read-alike display in the library that encourages them to take part in an online book discussion. Don’t re-invent the wheel – just make that wheel bigger and bigger!
Carolyn Muci from the Mount Prospect Public Library talked about their successful programs outside the Library. Her presentation, Think Outside the Box focused on their book club held at a nearby Caribou Coffee stressed that creating a positive experience for the patron, wherever they were and however they used the Library was more important than making them feel obligated to visit the Library. By expanding the presence of the Library into the community through story times at local businesses or even simply offering them no-hassle internet access after a storm lets patrons know the Library will be there for them when they need it.
Jason Smith from The Book Table was our final speaker. Have you ever noticed that way more people claim to have witnessed an event than could ever have actually been there? I mean, only 15,758 people were at Wrigley Field when Kerry Wood struck out 20 batters in one of the best games ever pitched. But at least 50,ooo say they were there (heck, even I’ve done it on more than one occasion). This just may be one of those events. I predict BIG things for Jason Smith on the speaking circuit. He was funny, insightful, and intelligent. Five years from now, when he’s keynoting ALA, way more than 52 people will be claiming to have seen him talk at Park Ridge in 2011.
Big thanks to all three and to all who attended. You made our first summer program a big success!