Punxsutawney Phil, the beloved groundhog of Pennsylvania, saw his shadow just a couple of weeks ago and declared six more weeks of winter. While this may be happy news for our skiers and children (and teachers) anxiously awaiting the school closings each week, many of us experience the winter doldrums. Because it may be difficult to get patrons actively involved in the library, the Lackawanna County Library System is holding its annual Winter Reading Program.
Previously known as March Madness and Cabin Fever, this year’s Reading Challenge is to simply read four books by March 31. If patrons would like to try something new, a list of categories is provided on the form which is available at any library in the county. Librarians have also created a list of suggestions if patrons are having difficulty finding titles related to the categories.
This straightforward challenge allows for libraries in the county to adapt the program for their individual needs. Libraries may create a simple bulletin board or displays with different genres or programs based on the numerous categories.
Another great way to engage patrons is with fun displays. Kristen Wallo of Valley Community Library recently made a “Have You Seen My Shirt?” display for Valentine’s Day. The display features romance books in which the men are bare-chested and a clothesline with cutout paper shirts.
Also very popular in February is the “Blind Date with a Book” display. Libraries wrap books in either colorful or plain brown paper, write an enticing message or synopsis on the cover, and include the barcode on the book so the patron doesn’t see the item before it’s taken home. Many libraries will include a “Rate Your Date” form in which patrons can rate their “date” from “Dud,” to “Stud,” or “Love at First Read.” Other fun questions to ask patrons could include: 1) Where did you go on your date?, 2) Would you share your date with your friends?, 3) How would you describe your date?, and 4) How far did you go on your date?
For more ideas on how to promote the PA Forward Literacies in your library, visit the PA Forward Commons and be sure to add your programs to the database by completing the PA Forward Commons Submission Form!