For many schools near me, there are less than 6 weeks left of classes before the summer break. At my library, we started pre-registering for the summer reading program on May 1st. With just a few weeks to go, now is a great time to kick your collection merchandising up a notch.
Here are some surefire tips that not only will have your library looking great but you’ll also be demonstrating one of the ALSC Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries found in Section II – Reference and User Services.
1. Do a Quick and Dirty Weed – Nothing makes your collection look dated and tired more than torn pages, broken spines, and water damage. Do a quick sweep of your shelves and scoop out the worst offenders.
2. Replace the Hottest Titles – If your budget allows, surprise your kids by having fresh copies of their favorite books – Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries, Big Nate, I Survived, anything by Rania Telgemeier – you get the idea.
3. Tidy Up Your Shelves – Bring all the spines of the materials to the edge of the shelf and shift materials so the rows are even top to bottom. This helps the overall appearance of your shelves and makes it easier for kids to browse your collection.
4. Don’t Have Display Fixtures? – Not to worry just about any flat surface (table tops, top of shelves, in shelf) can make a great display.
5. Props or No Props? – Stay away from props! A professional looking sign can help explain a theme but it’s best to let the books and other library materials sell themselves. If the display is too perfect it may deter kids from touching and, more importantly, taking.
6. Get Out of the Children’s Room – Move a display to the front of your library so families see it when they come in the door. Put one by the circulation desk or meeting room to catch people before they check out or as they leave a fun program.
7. Go Interactive – Create a display of kid recommendations. This is a great way for kids to recommend to each other and for staff to learn what the current “it” books are.
8. Are We There Yet? – Long road or plane trips can be more enjoyable with an audiobook for listening to help the time pass. Pull out your favorite books to listen to and parents are sure to thank you!
9. Include Diversity in Every Display – Make sure your diverse books aren’t hibernating on your shelves. A great way to do this is with the Reading Without Walls Challenge.
10. Think Outside the Library Walls – Don’t forget your e-customers. Create collection “displays” on your e-platform if you can. Make sure you highlight your e-resources (Overdrive, Hoopla, Axis 360, Flipster, etc) on your website and at library programs.
What else do you do to get your collection ready for Summer Reading?
Mary Schreiber, Youth Collection Development Specialist at Cuyahoga County Public Library, is writing this post for the ALSC Public Awareness Committee. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.