“Support” at your Library’s Bookfair

Supporting Lavallette School during Lounsberry’s Book Fair

It’s been a few weeks since we held our  “conference time” book fair at Lounsberry, but I wanted to wait to write this post until we had a better idea on how we made out.  Due to a change in the conference schedule, this year’s fair only lasted one week with three of those days limited, due to early dismissal for conferences. In year’s past, the fair lasted one full week plus the three half conference days. This change was more a matter of circumstance while the following change was my initiative…

This year we took a bit of a risk and decided to use a local book store, Sparta Books, to run our fair. We’ve used Scholastic Book Fairs in the past, and in all honesty, I haven’t been thrilled with the selection. I wanted a bit more control over the books we were selling, especially when many in our school community thought I chose what we were selling! I was inspired to call  Sparta books, since I was aware that my own hometown district uses their local book store. So here’s the low down…

The good…

  • Set up was awesome and easy
  • No monstrous containers to try to fit, get to and move around in in our space; our custodians were very happy!
  • Personal service which included set up help and personal delivery of reorders.
  • No mishmash of titles that seem to make no sense where they’re placed
  • It was incredibly easy to sort books by genre since I was familiar with the books
  • I was familiar with the books!
  • The fair itself  felt far less invasive, even though the tabletops were being used for display.
  • It was much easier to find what students were looking for
  • No junk!

The not so great…

We didn’t make as much money. However, other factors contributed to loss of sales, such as: a much shorter fair, not enough books (we will include more copies and titles next year), no junk! and students use of e-readers. In addition, ringing up was a bit harder because we needed to enter dollar amounts in a basic register; Scholastic uses a scanner.  Also, we needed to take orders, since Sparta books is not a warehouse and doesn’t have the financial ability to order way more than they think we can sell. Students were  fine with placing orders, however, sorting books after they came took some time and effort.

The best…

  • We were  supporting a local book store!!!
  • I had six or so students come back and tell me how much they loved their new purchased book, (I’ve never, ever heard that in previous fairs)

Will we do it  again? Definitely! I love supporting a local book store and the fact that our students left with good books. I’ve always questioned the whole book fair concept in the library setting,  but I  do know that more books at home encourages more reading.  I may even add a Barnes & Noble online sale for Valentine’s Day to support Nook owners, possibly earn a few more lost  dollars and foster the gift of reading.

And here’s the best part…as an additional way to show our support during the book fair, our school community collected $500- to support the students of  Lavallette School, which have been displaced due to Hurricane Sandy. Our students are totally psyched about helping and our planning to connect with their fifth and sixth grade students, (yet to figure out the details, but we’ll make it happen!). It’s all good!





Book Fair: Reflections

Slob.phpThe Book Fair has taken most of my, and the library’s, time and attention during the past week and a half.  Other than making money for the library to purchase materials, (I’ll get to that later in the post), I learned quite a lot of other things about books and getting them in the hands of students!

First of all I loved talking with students about book heroes, why reading stories, and identifying with the characters in stories. makes us smarter and wiser. I realized in our short book talks, promoting books which were for sale, that I need to make book talking a regular part of the library learning experience. I loved seeing students excited about the books we discussed. So many of you purchasing like books, presents a great opportunity for book discussions. I think our next Ninth Period Book League book may be Slob, since it was a popular purchase and a great read. I’d also love to offer virtual space for small book club type discussions for other popular books purchased. I’ll have to think on that one.

I also realized the need for face out shelving to showcase book collections. It’s extremely difficult finding books in the library when all you can see is the spine! Yes we’ve discussed other ways to find out about good books, such as talking with friends, the Reader’s Advisory section of the library website, and the OPAC. However, there’s nothing like the attraction of a book cover, with the opportunity to peruse its pages, to draw readers in. That’s why I’m thinking about spending some of the book fair funds on face out shelving for the ends of the fiction book cases.

We’ve already earned a rug for the sitting area and books, for both the library collection and book clubs, through Scholastic dollars. Other thoughts for book fair earnings are: a paneled display unit on wheels for student art work, which can double as a way to separate an area in the library for buffered audio/visual use, e-book readers, flip video cameras, Playaway audio books, and graphic novels. Although we raised a good deal of money, it’s not enough to cover it all. Good thing I’ll have some time to make decisions based on our needs!

Thank you everyone for supporting the book fair. I honestly felt a little funny about selling books in the library when libraries are all about lending them out for free, but I realize there’s a need and a desire to own them and keep them!

Ok a couple of questions: What should I do next year about all the “stuff” disguised as school supplies?! I asked all of you to purchase a book first, out of respect to those who provided you with money, and a bit of my personal wishes, but we didn’t make a big deal about it. Were any of your parents/caregivers upset about your purchase decisions? Also, what were your thoughts about this year’s fair? How was the selection etc.? Any ideas for improvement? Thanks in advance!