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Success stories from Hereford January 7, 2008

Posted by sneaks in adult, BCPL best practices, cube fixtures, display topics, fiction, nonfiction, recommended by.
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From Jo Blankenburg‘s monthly report:

“Our primary set of display cubes near the entrance is a huge success covered with “Best Books of 2007,” titles culled from lists appearing in the NYT, Baltimore Sun, Amazon, Time, and Newsweek. A few customers each day leave with their arms full and keep librarians busy placing holds to keep it stocked. [NB: Booklist has come out with their “Best of 2007” lists as well…]

Eyewitness books flew off our secondary cubes, and a dump devoted to titles ordered in for our “Crime Time” branch generated booklist empties regularly.

All 200 copies of our first “Staff Recommends” booklist are now gone and are responsible for 200 items added to our YTD circulation. Each bookmark left tucked into a copy of one of those titles ordered in and on display on the top shelf of that popular area.

Easy book bundles stalled during December, but the addition of small Beginning Reader bundles are satisfying happy parents. Could Hereford someday of leftover SRC prizes?”


On-the-fly booklists October 4, 2007

Posted by sneaks in BCPL best practices, programming tie-ins.
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From the Arbutus monthly report:

Our Reiki program drew an enthusiastic audience. Many asked questions, some books on display were checked out and Julie Harrison printed out a list of all BCPL holdings on Reiki for the attendees.

Do you do this? Even if you don’t have time to put together a program-related display or pull a cart full of books, you can at least print up a “shopping list” for patrons to take home with them and bring back next time they’re in the library. If your printed list covers all of BCPL’s holdings on the topic (not just the material available at your branch), they might also use the list to place holds from home.

Manga manga manga! September 18, 2007

Posted by sneaks in adult, BCPL best practices, graphic novels, great ideas, manga, paperbacks, problem solving, science fiction, series books.
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Graphic novels at Towson

Here’s one way to display paperback series in an eye-catching way:

Stack each issue of the same series horizontally, with the least shelf-worn issue face-out on top.

If there are more than 4 or 5 issues of the same titles, space permitting, you might want to put the face-out issue to the immediate left of the stack.

Rev up your Reader Advisory August 5, 2007

Posted by sneaks in BCPL best practices, display topics, great ideas, recommended by.
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How do you decide what to read? We may follow certain authors, take clues from book covers, or even read reviews… but personal recommendation is still one of the strongest factors in selecting a book. Outside the library, people get recommendations from friends and colleagues, and from Amazon’s extensive web of cross-references, like the “Other people who bought this book also bought…” feature. Inside the library, we get to recommend books face-to-face.

If you maintain a Staff Recommends display, with the staff member’s name attached to each book, you are in effect creating brands specific to your library. Ruth Brown in Pikesville is a brand – there are people who will read books she recommends, no questions asked. This is priceless added value, something that most bookstores cannot match, and it’s in our best interest to promote this service with staff and the public alike.

Here’s how they do it in Hereford, according to Jo Blankenburg:

Melissa Gotsch started this up here. It’s very simple: everyone on the staff–volunteers, teen CAs, part-time, full-time– EAGERLY writes their name on the Staff Recommends bookmarks and sticks them in a handful of their choices. We have devoted a full section of shelving at the end of our New Fiction area to these staff selections (in ALL formats). It has become so popular with customers and staff alike (and so congested with recommendations) that in July we also devoted our portable round unit on wheels to an auxilliary display at the entrance of the branch. I’ve been astounded at the turnover of these materials!

When the “Picks” are checked out, the bookmarks are (aggressively) collected and tallied at the end of each month on a spreadsheet at one of the computers at our combined desk. The full list of staff members and their monthly totals are posted in the office. Just last month, I started rewarding the top three “producers” with cheezy cheap prizes.

Many branches do a variation of this, but I’ve never been in a place where the staff enthusiasm was so great that it is an constant feature in the branch, and the materials on view was so varied. Many staff members have developed their own groupies; “Sam” is always #1– one of our customers was shocked to hear that Sam was the woman who had just helped her at the Information Desk….

What do you do to show off this service?

LII discovers BCPL August 2, 2007

Posted by sneaks in BCPL best practices, fun.
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Do you get Librarians’ Internet Index: New This Week emailed to your inbox? Every Thursday, it delivers up-to-the-minute topical Internet content… in their words: “between thirty to sixty websites representing the best of the Web, selected and described by the LII Team.”

And what website made their weekly “best of the Web” for August 2? Why, the Harry Potter page on the Baltimore County Public Library web site. Woo-hoo!

PS: Good news for you MD 23 Thing-ers who have discovered the beauty and convenience of RSS feeds – LII is available as an RSS feed too!

SRC Displays June 12, 2007

Posted by sneaks in BCPL best practices, display topics, Summer Reading Club 2007.
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Quoted from each branch manager’s monthly reports, here’s how our libraries are looking for Summer Reading Club!

Essex: As you enter the library you see the lighted arch with small cars traveling in rows. Dangling from the center of the arch is a working traffic light and on the SRC table a ‘smiling car’ tablecloth. The ceiling is arrayed with numerous hanging vehicles and the window is painted with a colorful three panel window of Sneaks and friends. The Essex Staff is serious about Summer Reading Club decorating.

Hereford: Doris Somers and Jeanne Andrews have taken the lead with SRC planning and decorating, with beautiful results. Our customers can come to HE and look around to see an adventurous Sneaks driving to DC, New York, the beach, and other great destinations.

Landsdowne: While Lorrie Jackson was working on finishing her SRC painting in our gorgeous area way, she looked through the window and saw a different kind of moon in the form of a naked derriere  belonging to a young patron unhappy at being asked to leave for the day.

Parkville: Spotted through the window with a sleeping kid in the back of the Subaru: a cool signpost noting direction and mileage to several exciting destinations that you can visit virtually in books!

Reisterstown: Put your seatbelts on – Sneaks is on the move. The library has been transformed into a travelogue by our excellent SRC team. What a wonderful team! For example, the lobby is the West Coast complete with waves, sun, vineyard, and a “bathing beauty” sunning herself on the top of the hold shelf.

White Marsh:  Our information desk is decorated in a cool road sign cloth Mary Power picked up at a crafts store. Table displays are covered with maps.

… and not to be overlooked just because it’s not open to the public:

Diana Harrison decorated the hallway in front of Cataloging to reflect the SRP roadtrip theme

If you’ve got photos or additional inspiration and description, please send them to pwilley@bcpl.net. Thanks!

Blockbuster season is here! May 16, 2007

Posted by sneaks in adult, BCPL best practices, display topics, fiction, summer.
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… and not just at the movies. Sure, Spiderman 3, Shrek 3, and the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie are going to get a lot of attention this summer, but publishers have their big guns at the ready too!

Make a space for best-sellers (if you don’t have one already) and keep it filled with hot titles straight from the return room. Put up multiple copies of the same title, or celebrate a single author by loading up a display full of their recent titles. Authors such as James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, Danielle Steele, and Janet Evanovich use the same cover layout for each book – makes for a striking display!

The sure-fire hits you can count on for this summer are:

Patterson, James. The 6th Target.

Hosseini, Khaled. A thousand splendid suns.

Connelly, Michael. The Overlook.

Sandford, John. Invisible Prey.

Evanovich, Janet. Lean Mean 13.

Baldacci, David. Simple Genius.

Coulter, Catherine. Double Take.

Griffin, W.E.B. The Double Agents.

Frey, Stephen. The Fourth Order.

Parker, Robert B. Spare Change.

Steele, Danielle. Bungalow 2.

… and some J series book by this British woman named Rowling, due out July 21.

Look into the future whenever you want using Amazon’s New and Future Releases list (presented in order of popularity) and BCPL’s Hot Titles list (alpha by author).

Mayday! Mayday! April 26, 2007

Posted by sneaks in BCPL best practices, display topics, great ideas, spring.
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Flood at Mt. Holyoke College library. Photo: Fred LeBlanc

This year, cultural institutions such as libraries, archives and museums are using May Day, May 1, to promote emergency preparedness.

Much attention has been paid to the devastation suffered by museums and libraries in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the damage and theft that occurred during and immediately after U.S. forces entered Baghdad. 

The Heritage Emergency National Task Force urges cultural institutions across the country to observe MayDay by taking at least one step to prepare to respond to a disaster.

Here are some useful links:

The Heritage Emergency Task Force

ALA’s Field Guide to Emergency Response

National Trust for Historic Preservation – Preservation Month

Program bookmarks March 29, 2007

Posted by sneaks in BCPL best practices, great ideas, programming tie-ins.
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Do you bookmark upcoming programs? Here’s a great idea we’ve seen at a number of branches – we wondered if everyone was in on it.

When you promote a program in advance with a display of on-topic books, slip a flyer (fold it in half lengthways if necessary) into each book. That way, every interested customer walks away with a reminder of an event they’ll surely be interested in.

Towson recently pulled a batch of Star Wars books and displayed them with flyers for their upcoming author program (Star Wars from the Inside Out, with best-selling author James Luceno, April 1) folded into each.

Ye olde separation sheet March 1, 2007

Posted by sneaks in BCPL best practices, display topics, great ideas, winter.
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Another good idea executed cleverly in Towson – to commemorate Dr. Seuss’s birthday and the 50th anniversary of The Cat in The Hat, Tyler Wolfe pulled all the Dr. Seuss books from their accustomed places and displayed them prominently.

To prevent confusion when patrons went looking for Horton, Thidwick, Gerald McGrew, the Lorax, and their buddies, Tyler made a quickie sign. In bright colors and illustrated with Dr. Seuss characters, it read:

They’ve all disappeared

Every Sneetch, Who and Zuk.

They’ve moved to our Fireplace

Go and look! Go and look!

It’s impractical to do this with every item pulled for display, but when a section of shelf is suspiciously empty, it helps patrons feel less frustrated when we leave a clue to help them find what they are looking for.

The happy ending to this story is that nearly all the Seuss books had been snapped up three days later.

We stoop to conquer October 19, 2006

Posted by sneaks in BCPL best practices, slant shelving.
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Are your bottom shelves packed with books? Loosen up a little!

This New Fiction display is a good example of how to utilize those hard-to-reach bottom shelves. We chose books by best-selling authors, with easy to read titles and bold colors for greatest visibility, and shelved them face-out on the lowest shelf.

Paperbacks on display October 7, 2006

Posted by sneaks in BCPL best practices, paperbacks.
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We hate to use the word “never,” but when it comes to paperbacks and face-out display, that pretty much never looks good.

Instead, try laying them down horizontally and making stacks of different heights, as below. It takes up shelf space and is much much neater.

Circle of friends October 7, 2006

Posted by sneaks in BCPL best practices, cube fixtures, tables.
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Don’t overlook the obvious when arranging materials. Simply setting items out in a semicircle, as in this grouping of DVDs and videos at White Marsh, adds grace to any display.

Pretty picture books all in a row September 13, 2006

Posted by sneaks in BCPL best practices, J is for Juvenile, Picture Books.
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Sometimes it’s exciting to have a huge overlapping crowd of books on display, and sometimes some space between makes each book stand out.

The spacing, height variances, and color selection of these picture books makes for a very nice example of the latter.

This is at Parkville.

First impressions count! September 12, 2006

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First impressions count!

Originally uploaded by hypatia atoz.

What do people see when they enter your branch?
Walk in from the outside and be critical —
Is it fun?
Is it full?
Is it colorful?
Is it current?

Thanks to Essex for sharing their gorgeous entryway.