This spring, I had the opportunity to plan the events and related publicity for my library’s National Library Week activities. I thought I’d write about how I went about it.
At the end of January, a call was made for a volunteer and I stepped up. In February, I looked into the costs of prizes for the drawing I had to plan and goodies for the kids. As this year’s ALA bookmarks and stickers were not kid-friendly, I thought about purchasing National Library Week-themed from a different vendor. However, those plans fell through when material being purchased for another event ended up not being bought from that vendor. Without that extra purchase, the shipping on what I wanted would have been nearly as much as the cost of the items. Instead, for the kids I placed an order for a Snoopy-themed bookmark, sticker, and poster set through ALA’s website. After all, who doesn’t love Snoopy? With that, our week’s mascot was determined.
In March, the planning began in earnest. I placed the order for a Kindle, the predetermined prize for the yearly drawing. I also created signage for within the library. Signs were placed at the doors, circulation and reference desks, near the self-checkout stations, and near the catalog computers to announce the drawing and it’s rules. A banner was designed to announce the goodie bags to be given out during library-themed story times, with extras available at the children’s desk the rest of the week. The banner was placed above the aforementioned Snoopy-and-reading-themed poster in the children’s section. I also purchased two runner-up prizes-$15 gift cards to a local restaurant-and sent out a press release about the drawing.
I also drafted posts for the library’s Facebook account. Each post was accompanied by photos I staged and then tweaked and cropped (sadly, the program we had did not allow me to remove some glare). Monday’s post announced the drawing and children’s goodies complete with photos of the prizes and children’s goodies. Tuesday, being National Library Workers’ Day, was a reminder to thank library staff when visiting the library. It was coupled with a photo of a librarian shelving material. Wednesday was a reminder about the contest with the Snoopy display I created (see photo). Thursday’s post celebrated Teen Literature Day and the accompanying photo showed part of the library’s teen section. Friday’s post was another reminder about the drawing with the prized pictured. Saturday’s post was a final reminder with a picture of the ballot box used to hold the tickets for the drawing.
In the latter part of March, I put the children’s goodie bags together. Each contained on Snoopy bookmark and sticker, Hershey’s Kisses and Hugs, and a role of Smarties. Then I counted off the expected number needed for story time and boxed those separately from the rest.
In April, I had just about everything ready for the events, which were held April 13-19. The signage had been up since March, but I set up the displays. I also tore apart tickets from the role and placed bags of them at each circulation stations. This was because the predetermined rules allowed us to give patrons age 16 and older two tickets for using the self-checkout stations and one of they checked out with one of the circulation clerks. I also drafted an “event cheat sheet” with all the rules and regulations, event plans, etc. which I sent out to everyone in my branch via e-mail and placed a copy at the circulation desk. I also announced the contest to our other branches.
During National Library Week itself, I handed out tickets, ensured the Facebook posts went up (we had a dedicated Facebook poster at our branch), and fielded questions. I was great to see happy kids with their story time goodie bags. The following Monday, I drew names for the prizes and contacted the winners by phone. When the winners picked up their prizes, photos were taken and photo releases were signed. This allowed me to have the photos posted to Facebook to announce the winners. I also wrote a press release announcing the winners and it was sent out to local media outlets accompanied by the photo of the Kindle winner.
Yes, it sounds like planning these events was simple. And, for the most part it was. However, it was time-consuming. I spent significant time writing and editing everything, designing the signage, creating over a hundred goodie bags, and taking and editing the photos. I know this was nothing compared to the speaker events, open houses, banquets, exhibits, and workshops I planned for student activities or as a graduate reference assistant, but after two years being out of practice (aside from an informal open house at my undergraduate’s homecoming), it was good to do again.
Would you have planned anything differently? Do you have other suggestions about planning events and activities? Or wish to share your experiences doing similar planning?