Book Fairs and Bookmobiles inspire the reading spirit

December 4, 2009 at 6:19 pm 7 comments

by April Bunn

The tables are cleared, the mini-cash registers are closed and balanced, and the wheelable bookcases are packed and closed. The library looks  a bit empty after our PTO’s Scholastic Book Fair closed last week.

Book Fair picture

Don’t get me wrong, I am always relieved to get my circulation desk (also my personal desk) back and unpack when they leave. It is a challenge to move out of the place and teach my lessons on a cart, but overall Scholastic makes it pretty easy to “wow” the kids. They market with a theme, which this year was Destination Book Fair- reading around the world.

You should see it- the students arrive with books circled in the  flyer, chomping at the bit to get in the library and spend every cent of the money they’ve brought in envelopes and Ziploc baggies. It’s priceless to see the excitement in their eyes when they walk into the wonderland that the PTO members create with these book fairs twice a year.

Library transformed

Despite the economic conditions, the sales were good.  Of course, we quickly sold out of Jeff Kinney’s latest hit, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. Also, it was great to have a parent purchase and donate the picture book, Dewey: There’s a cat in the Library! which I had on my wish list.

I didn’t have the experience of my library transforming into a Book Fair growing up- the bookmobile came to our school and impressed us. Can you remember visiting the bookmobile? Do you remember the buzz in the school when it arrived?

At my school, in suburban central New Jersey, we’d line up, a few students at a time, old-style bookmobileand head into the bookmobile to spend our money on a brand new book (I don’t remember buying the erasers,  silly pens and pointers, posters, and all the tchotchkes they widely sell now).

Bookmobiles are back in, apparantly, because in 2010, ALA is celebrating bookmobiles and their 100 years of service on National Bookmobile Day, Wednesday, April 14th,  during National Library Week.

Bookmobiles are more commonly used by libraries now, to reach out into the community, but the idea is the same. Drive up, open the doors, and let the excited patrons, young and old, enter the magical kingdom of books.

As librarians, we are lucky to have daily experiences with the joy of connecting people to new books.  I feel extra lucky working with children, because they give us such uninhibited delight when they find the “perfect” book.  Walking into a special place focused on books, whether it be a library, book store, book fair or bookmobile can be all we need to inspire our reading spirit.

Happy Holidays to all of you for keeping that spirit alive.

by April Bunn

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7 Comments

  • 1. Cynthia  |  December 6, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Woot Woot! I loved the book-fair and the book mobile as a kid! Why don’t ‘adult’ publishers market their wares in such an enjoyable way that makes purchase so easy…..

    great post!

  • 2. April Bunn  |  December 7, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    So true. Just like the ice cream truck in the summer, we could have a bookmobile playing music driving around the neighborhood. I would run and get my money (or library card) and pick a new book!

  • 3. Lisa Kelly  |  December 14, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Thanks for reminding me about BookMobiles! My grammer school, also in Central New Jersey (Monmouth County) had book fairs that way, although I do remember the book fiar being set up in the APR sometimes, too. It was so exciting to wait outside the door for my turn to enter and see the overwhelming displays of books for sale! So much better than ordering from the Weekly Reader!

    I’ve run many a book fair at my childrens’ schools, and I also deplore all of the fancy pens, erasers, etc. that Scholastic is pushing now: expensive junk – much better to spend those dollars on a book! In my biased opinon:-)

  • 5. Andy Naaktgeboren  |  February 14, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    > I didn’t have the experience of my library transforming into a Book Fair growing up- the bookmobile came to our school and impressed us. Can you remember visiting the bookmobile? Do you remember the buzz in the school when it arrived?

    My word, yes! It was the biggest thing that happened for weeks; kids would exchange marked-up catalogues, poring through, trying to figure out the perfect set of 2 or 3 books they could afford.

    I still remember how I cannily tried to get a cheap little ‘lateral thinking puzzles’ book and an expensive ant farm as part of a buy-1-get-1-free, only to be informed that the ‘free’ item had to be the *more* expensive one.

    • 6. April Bunn  |  February 14, 2010 at 8:50 pm

      AH, those first lessons in retail purchases and money management. What makes me sad now is how much of their money goes to posters! Scholastic sends so many posters and they are not even on a reading theme- just puppies, kitties, sports, movie and music stars. I really hope they figure it out and start sending the ALA “Read” posters.

  • 7. Orlando Divorce Lawyer  |  October 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    I have some memories of bookmobiles. When i was very young. It was like you were being taken into another world when you climbed aboard a bookmobile. It was as if you could just find a book, snuggle in a corner somewhere and wait for it to drive you off somewhere fantastic! At least that was my memories.

    As a parent now I dread the book fairs. Mostly because the pamphlets my daughter brings home is already circled with every item except books, or books based on television. They are so prominently placed why would a kid want to read the classics?


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