Friday, February 8, 2013

Passive Reader's Advisory

I'm currently taking an online class through ALA and one thing that we were asked to share were passive programming ideas.  I took things one step further with a fun passive reader's advisory activity.

The image above shows an example of a flyer that I created to get kids into reading.  I would pick a book, any book, write up a little blurb and then use a substitution code for the title.  As you can see the code is written at the bottom for those interested in solving the title.  Then I'd wait for kids to start asking me for the book.

Usually, I didn't make it too hard.  I would display this sign on a shelf row end cap, and display the book on that same end cap, but the flyer worked so well that I sometimes had to place holds for the books.

Also, I liked to make this seem like some mysterious person was recommending these books.  I sometimes said things like-your teacher doesn't want to you read this book-or-this book is so funny you might laugh so loud the librarians will shush you!  Stuff like that makes kids want to read the book.  Also, the mystery and codes make the books seem almost forbidden.

I usually displayed little known funny or exciting books this way.  Or, if I accidentally had two copies of a book I would try to get them out a little more with this method.  My favorite book that got this treatment was The London Eye Mystery.  It was a oops-2-copies book, but a great read.  A boy walks onto the London Eye and his cousins wait below for him after the ride is over, but he never gets off.  Where did he go?  You're hooked already!  Well, I put together a code flyer for it, and both copies were checked out immediately.  Then I had a young man come to the desk and ask about it.  I coyly asked him how he heard about this book, and he said in a "duh" kind of voice-that flyer over there tells all about it.  Ha!  The flyer works!

So, if you are tired of boring book displays that practically shove books into patrons faces, try this sneaky approach.  You'll find that they are willing to work for it.

Happy Reading!