Book Fair Best Practices

Book Fair Best Practices

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Last week was my library’s Scholastic Book Fair, a rite of passage for any school librarian. Before I started working at my school, I had nothing but fond memories about the fair.  My mother gave me 10 bucks and a “spend it wisely” lecture and I would immediately blow it all on cool looking bookmarks.

Now I’m on the other side, selling the books instead of reading them in a corner during my library time.  Here is what I have learned during my last three book fairs.

  1. Shamelessly hype the fair! I show a video filled with book trailers a week before the fair, then I give flyers with lots of the books for sale.  Then I have the kids circle the books they want with markers to take home with their parents.  Then I had the kids come to the fair and make another wish list (written or memorized) and THEN a back up list in case they arrived with their grandparents and the thing they wanted was sold out.  I definitely felt like a used car salesmen, but all’s fair in book sales and grandparents!
  2. Rely heavily on your parent volunteers.   I used to feel bad when parent volunteers would show up and there wouldn’t be a lot of customers. I felt so bad last year that I limited volunteer times to only my busiest parts of the day.  That was a huge mistake because I forgot about all the other things that I had to do for, you know, my job and was chained to the register for a week.  Having parents there means that you can go make your photocopies, deliver books, go to meetings and do all the other stuff you have to do without worrying that the fair is going to burn down.
  3. Save some of the toys for the end of the fair.  It will bring old customers back to the fair for one more lap!
  4. Get your teachers to make wish lists. And then post them somewhere prominent. Parents want to support their kids’ teachers, teachers want new books, I want more funds. It is a win-win-win!
  5. Have a fund raising goal in mind before you start. I wanted to start a graphic novel collection my first year and I needed a projector my second year. These goals are helpful for you so you remember what you are working for and also for parents and students so that they know exactly what they are supporting when they are buying out your eraser collection.  This year I am using the money to start an audiobook collection.

So that’s it!  I always love running the fair but I am always happy get my library back in the end!  Do you have any book fair memories??

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