*Post written by Jennifer Anders, school librarian at West Jefferson Elementary.
For many of us, the book fair is a primary source of revenue for our libraries. Over the past few years I have tried several different things, with some success. Here is a list of ideas:
•If you use Scholastic, use the promo video. It really generates interest. The books featured are always top sellers. Their other promotional material is really useful, too. Send home the sheets so parents can send the exact amount of money and know what their kids are buying.
•Have a parent or community night, combine it with something else. For instance, hold the book fair during Grandparents' Day, and stay open late at least once during the fair. The first few fairs I stayed open late for, I may have had 4 or 5 parents, but over time this has turned into a big event. I can make nearly ½ the week’s sales during this time. (Oh, I always feed them, too.)
•Advertise early and often.
•Get parent and community volunteers to help setup and run the fair. Teachers are much more appreciative (and willing to spend) if you don’t cancel their classes. And the more times stakeholders come into the school, the more comfortable they feel, and the more involved they may become. (This is not research-based, just an observation.)
•It’s okay to make kids buy a book first, before they buy all that junk. I would happily handle a parent complaint that I made their child buy a book. Incidentally, this has never happened.
•Let the kids get involved in the theme, and give out book fair gift certificates for participants. For instance a dress up day or something like that.