Books are our brand, reading is our business.

Libraries spend so much of their time selling themselves, or maybe I should say, promoting themselves.  You know, staying relevant, convincing others of their importance. 

For quite some time we have heard libraries say, “We are more than just books”, even I have said this, yep, multiple times.  I guess it is something that comes with the constant need to validate ourselves and we assume people know that we have books, so we go out of our way to make sure they know there is more. 

Guess what?  Books are our brand and reading is our business.  Yes, we offer public computers, access to low cost printing, movies, STEM kits, toys, the list is long, but books, that is really the heart of the library and it is time for us to be okay with that being the source of our value.  Will we stop all the other things?  No way, but I plan to really focus on our brand, our heart, in the next year.

Sometimes I share books in the bookworm, we have a weekly Facebook post, “What are you reading?”, we have a monthly book club, we have reading challenges, etc., but we are going to become Reading Advisors, all of us, yep, you included. 

Lesson 1:

If you could pick only one book to recommend, what would it be?  Don’t say the Bible, yes, important for some, but we are trying to find things for you to add to your reading list, to check out from the library, to recommend to friends, trust me, I am pretty sure most have heard of the Bible.  I do not mean that with any disrespect, if it helps, let’s go with what is the second book you would recommend? 

Now, here is the part we are going to start working on, why?  Why do you like this book?  The main thing most of us have to unlearn is that the why, cannot be what happens in the book.  The reader needs to find out what happens. 

We all need to learn the vocabulary of appeal: pacing, characterization, story line, frame and tone and style.  Are you thinking about your book?  Is the book fast paced or is it unhurried? Are the characters lifelike, quirky, or dramatic? Is the story line violent or tragic? Is the tone of the book dark or nostalgic?  Is the style of the book classic or showy?  These are just a sampling of the various versions of the 5 appeal terms.  Don’t worry I have a list with all the words.  After you go through the 5 appeal terms, go a step further.  What is the most important part for you?  Can you recommend your book using just 3 words?

The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry is my book, yes, I have cheated because there are 4 books, but bear with me.  My 3 words, again, I have cheated, trust me I know how to count: thought provoking, loosely tied together and timeless. 

Don’t worry this is a process and this will not be our first lesson, but hopefully it will start guiding you in the right direction.  Step 1, pick your book, #2 if need be.  Step 2, don’t tell them what happens and expect them to want to read the book.  Step 3, start practicing looking at the 5 appeal sections for each book you read. 

I have plans: staff picks endcaps with appeal terms, post-its at the circulation desk for patrons to leave a short advisory of the book they just finished, a library Goodreads page, shared videos of us unboxing new materials, just lots of book stuff.  Why? You remember, books are our brand and reading is our business. 

Upcoming Events: 11/9 Lap Time Story Time at 9:45, followed by Story Time at 10am, 11/10 Homeschool Activity at 1:30pm, Board Meeting at 5:15pm, 11/11 CLOSED, 11/12 LEGO Play at 10:30am and Bookopoly Reading Challenge continues.