Friday, August 28, 2015

Year One in Review: The Best of the Best Blog Posts

Happy One Year, 5MinLib readers! What an amazing year, as we look back at all of the content we created for your education and entertainment. We thought today we'd take a moment and create a list of our most popular posts, in case you've missed them:

From ALA to Zuckerberg: Librarian Facebook Groups
By far, this has been our most popular post. We had no idea how viral this one would become, but Jess knew that she loved connecting with other librarians on Facebook. It was a daunting task to hunt for different kinds of Public Librarian Facebook Groups, but with an 8K+ reach since it's posting last February, it has gotten a lot of attention.

Why Your Library Needs A Mascot
Kat wrote this masterpiece highlighting the different types of mascots and how to utilize them to their full potential.

15 Viral Content Ideas for Your Library's FB Page!
Inspired from the Facebook Group The Shareable Clique, this post clearly states different ways to engage library patrons that has been successful for other libraries.

50+ Ideas for Summer Reading Swag That Will Make Your Patrons Dance
No one was wanting for Summer Reading ideas after Kat put together this fabulous list of prizes that have worked well in other libraries.

17 Ways to Accomplish Summer Reading
Who knew there were so many different ways to run a Summer Reading Program? We didn't, but Jess asked and compiled the answers.

ARCs: Advanced Reading Copies
Want an advanced reading copy? Well, we learned the secret handshake and we'll teach it to you, too! Come join this exclusive society.

6 Hot Tips for Creating Topnotch Shelf Readers
Jess shares her tips and tricks for running an efficient shelf reader program. Includes templates, a shelf reader test, and more!

Why I Love NoveList, And You Should, Too: Part One
Kat wrote a three part series about how to use NoveList and all of its great features to power up your librarian tricks.

10 Facebook Tips Patrons Wish Their Libraries Knew
Jess investigates what makes a successful Library Facebook Page.

Ready to Go Book Display: Everyday Heroes
Allie's most popular Ready to Go Book Display! It was perfect for this year's theme and, really, a great list of books to add to your every day collections.

Thank you for being our readers! Here's to another great year!
-Jess, Kat, and Allie

Friday, August 21, 2015

Ready to Go Book Display: Art Heists

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go!" Book Display. Once a month, we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group (Adults, Teens and Children) that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. 

Recommendations for Adults:

An artist whose reputation has been tarnished stumbles on a piece of art that disappeared twenty-five years ago and agrees to forge it for a gallery owner, until she realizes that the art she is forging may itself be a forgery.

The authors track daring entries into and escapes from the world's most renowned museums, and robbers who coolly walk off with multimillion dollar paintings.

Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World's Greatest Art Heist by Stephen Kurkjian (March 2015)
A definitive account of the Boston criminal underworld's role in the infamous $500 million Gardner Museum art theft traces the contributions of master thief Louis Royce and gangster Ralph Rossetti while examining the FBI's controversial announcement that they had identified the responsible parties.

Gabriel Allon, art restorer and occasional spy, searches for a stolen masterpiece by Caravaggio. Sometimes the best way to find a stolen masterpiece is to steal another one.

The creator of the FBI's Art Crime Team recounts his dramatic career, describing high-stakes undercover missions involving valuable stolen antiquities, in an account that covers his role in a famous unsolved crime.

The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel (Sept 2009)
The previously untold story of a little-known WWII Allied division whose mission was to track down European art and treasures that had been looted by the Nazis at Hitler's command.

Recommendations for Teens:
A group of teenagers uses their combined talents to re-steal several priceless paintings and save fifteen-year-old Kat Bishop's father, himself an international art thief, from a vengeful collector.
After a high-profile art heist of three van Gogh drawings in her home town of Seattle, sixteen-year-old Violet Rossi finds herself in Japan with her artist father, searching for the related van Gogh painting.
Instead of spending a carefree summer exploring downtown Boston with best friend Ollie, thirteen-year-old Moxie must solve a famous art heist in order to protect those she loves from her ailing grandfather's gangster past.
Teenage Vidalia's summer in Paris studying art settles into a stimulating and enjoyable routine until she becomes romantically involved with a mysterious young man who seems to have ties to an art-theft ring.

 Recommendations for Children:
Great Art Thefts by Charlotte Guillain (Oct 2014)
Describes some of the most famous art thefts in history, including the theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum burglary in 1990, and the repeated thefts of Edvard Munch's The Scream.

The Orange Outlaw by Ron Roy (Oct 2001)
While visiting Dink's uncle in New York City, Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose help uncover who is responsible for stealing a very valuable painting.

Who could have stolen the Mona Cheesa? William, the international cat of mystery, is on the case.
When thirteen high-value pieces of art are stolen from a secret museum, Calder, Petra, and Tommy are grouped with two new companions to solve puzzles that are complicated by the clever Mrs. Sharpe.
Tells the story of the famous Leonardo Da Vinci portrait known as the Mona Lisa, including its 1911 theft from the Louvre in Paris, from the point of view of the subject of the painting.
Sixth grader Edmund Xavier Lonnrot, codename "Eddie Red," has a photographic memory and talent for drawing anything he sees. When the NYPD is stumped by a mastermind art thief, Eddie becomes their secret weapon to solve the case.
After Marvin, a beetle, makes a miniature drawing as an eleventh birthday gift for James, a human with whom he shares a house, the two new friends work together to help recover a Durer drawing stolen from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Friday, August 14, 2015

How to Throw an Epic Library Party

Having a "party" program at the library is one of the new trends I've been hearing about lately, and, as an event-loving librarian, I am completely on board. I've held many parties of different types and for varying age groups, and they almost always go over well.

Everyone loves a party - it's a scientific fact. Library parties are fun to plan, fun to hold, and fun to attend; there is very little downside. They often are low-cost and appeal to fans of a specific genre or series, and can be tailored to fit seasonal or timely events, such as a movie release or the arrival of a new book in a series.

OK, I'm sold. What do I do first?

The first thing you need to do is choose a theme. There are so many different themes you can choose from when throwing a party! Some that have been successful for me include:
  • Character or book series parties
  • Fandom parties
  • Birthday parties
  • Anniversaries of major events
  • Holidays
I will write more about these topics in a moment. Once you have chosen a theme, you get to start planning! I find that Pinterest is particularly useful for this, because somewhere in the world, somebody has had a birthday party in your particular theme - it's almost guaranteed. A quick search will lend you ideas for:
  • Themed food and drinks - Alice in Wonderland's "eat me" cakes. Doctor Who adipose cookies. Incredible Hulk pudding cups. Go crazy!
  • Decorations - the more thematic the room for the party is, the better. Even something simple, like streamers in Harry Potter house colors, really makes a difference.
  • Arts and crafts projects - Some of my favorites, and not just for children.
  • Activities or games - A bean bag toss can easily be converted into "toss the marshmallow into Frosty the Snowman's hot cocoa." The riddles in Jane Austen's books can be found online, and printed out for people to solve.
  • Invitations or posters - promote the heck out of this! Try not to break copyright while doing it.
...and anything else you could need. 


Character Parties

Choose your favorite book character and use them as a theme. This is particularly useful for children's programs, where the characters are the main source of entertainment in a book or series; with teen and adult programs, you may be more interested in the "Fandom Parties" section below.

I recently held a Geronimo Stilton party for grade school kids. For those not in the know, Geronimo is a middle-aged newspaper reporter who travels around the world, bumbling through various misadventures and writing about them. He also happens to be a mouse! His sister, Thea Stilton, has her own series, and there have been spin-off books about Space Mice, Cave Mice, and the scary Creepella von Cacklefur. As well as chapter books, there are also graphic novels and a television show.  Our party included a cheese tasting (4 different varieties of cheese with crackers, and a page directing kids in things to notice while eating them, such as texture, flavor, and color), a craft (make your own reporter notebook), some printed pages of mazes and games from the Scholastic website, and a visit from the mouse himself. (That is - me. I was dressed as Geronimo Stilton.)

Many children's book characters have adult-sized costumes that are available to purchase or rent. I've used Costume Specialists to rent characters, which are provided by the publishers for use by schools and libraries, and cost me only shipping. In addition to the Geronimo Stilton costume, I have already reserved Pete the Cat for a party coming up in October. A warning for those who are interested in this: it's hot. I spent two hours dressed as a giant mouse, and I was sweating buckets by the end of it. It's also fairly difficult to attempt to run the program when you're wearing a giant fake head and hands.


Fandom Parties

What is a fandom? It's a group of people who are really interested in a specific title, series, or author; this pertains to television and movie franchises as well as books. Fans may enjoy just watching or reading their show or series, or may be more active in a fandom community, and contribute by writing fan-fiction, drawing fan-art, or engaging in cosplay - that is, dressing up as a particular character and acting as if they are part of their favorite world. A note: depending on the fandom, this is a great way to reach adults who have not been library users. Some people have been fans of a show for decades, and will come to your party, and they will come in costume.

I have done fandom parties, and they are ridiculously fun to research, plan, and hold. If you can tap into a fandom that has a physical presence in your area, you are golden; by telling participants that you want to throw a party, there's a good chance they will assist you in coming up with ideas. Some successful ones we have done include Star Wars (with pool noodle light sabers), Firefly (with marshmallow guns to shoot at "Reavers" we put onto empty plastic bottles), and Doctor Who. (Note: Be careful with fandoms, though: they can be addictive. Doing a Doctor Who party was what actually got me into the series, and I am now a proud Whovian myself.)

The Doctor Who parties are probably my favorite, because I enjoy the show. We eat themed snacks: adipose cookies, "fish fingers and custard" (vanilla pudding with gummy fish), jelly babies that are actually gummy bears, etc. There are games, such as pin-the-face-on-Cassandra; and crafts, like make-your-own bow ties. If you have a movie license and it is permitted, fandom parties are the perfect time to use it. Play a marathon of episodes from a tv show, or a movie that fits the theme. I could not get in touch with anyone at BBC about showing Doctor Who, but many shows are owned by companies that you can get licenses for.

This flows nicely into...

Birthday Parties

The party doesn't have to be for an actual birthday, though it is a nice touch if the person/character has a known birthday.  I have held birthday parties for Frosty the Snowman and for library mascots (Our library turtle Spike's birthday is January 31, because it's a particularly dead time of year), but my favorite one was probably for Jane Austen.

We had a Jane Austen Tea Party for her birthday a few years ago, and it was delightful. Tables were set with (paper) table cloths, and a random assortment of tea cups, saucers, and tea pots were available, having been donated over the years. We made a few different kinds of tea, with and without caffeine, and had freshly baked scones. (I baked the scones myself, being that kind of person, but store-bought biscotti would have worked just as well.) This party was held in the library's art gallery, and a version of "Pride and Prejudice" was shown on the movie screen while party-goers enjoyed their refreshments. We even had a deck of Jane Austen-themed tarot cards, and a volunteer who knew how to read them. (Note: I am still unclear what Jane Austen has to do with tarot, but it was all in good fun.)

Anniversary Parties

Birthdays aren't the only days that should be noted in our calendars. There are also many anniversaries out there that should be celebrated. Is your library 100 years old? Party. Is it the publication date of The Hunger Games? Party.  My coworker (and creator of this blog), Jess, recently threw a party for the first anniversary of the opening of the Teen Room.

I did a great anniversary party for The Hobbit. The publication date is in mid-September, so we chose a Saturday, started up The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and had an array of foods available for patrons to enjoy "second breakfast" (as hobbits are known to do). Sometimes that's all you need to do!

Holiday Parties

There are also hundreds upon hundreds of holidays to celebrate. Sure, we've all thrown Valentine's Day parties or Mother's Day Teas, but have you considered having a Talk Like A Pirate Day Shindig?

One of the fun parties we did when I worked at the Lawrence Library in Pepperell, MA was for the Kentucky Derby. A friend of a coworker owned miniature horses, and she brought them in for patrons to pet. We also had a funky-hat-making program for all ages, and showed horse movies in the auditorium (National Velvet transcends age barriers).

Tips and Tricks

  1. Scale back! If you're anything like me, you're going to want to go overboard, bake your own Wookiee Cookiees for Star Wars Day, have parties that last several hours, and make yourself insane. An hour or two is all you need, I promise. Write down those ideas and use them at a future date.
  2. Ask for help! Join a librarian group online and ask if anyone has done a party with good success. See if any of your coworkers, volunteers, or patrons is a fan of your theme, and ask for suggestions. Hosting parties can be a lot of work, and sometimes you'll find that people are not only willing but excited to help come up with ideas and run programs.
  3. If you want food to look fancy, put it in an empty cupcake wrapper. Instant class.
  4. Have fun with it!
Have you had a great library party? Tell us in the comments!

Friday, August 7, 2015

15 MORE Viral Content for Your Library's FB Page!

As promised from a few weeks ago, here are 15 more Facebook images that patrons love! All are taken from our Facebook Group, The Shareable Clique, which any librarian can join to share viral content with other libraries.

Please note, this list is just posts that have worked well at other libraries. It may not work for yours, but you now have 30 different post types that you can try and see what resonates with your patrons. If your reach is low, you may also want to try posting at different times and days.

1. Happy Holiday Book Images

Is there any better way to wish a reader happy holidays than with a creative stack of books? Patrons eat them up! Plan ahead and make/find your fun designs long before the holiday.

2. This Message Brought to You by the Library Staff

Don't forget that your staff can be great PR for your library. If they are willing, share pictures of them highlighting your collection or events. The more humorous, the more likely you'll get interactions.

3. Recreate Memes/Jokes with Library Spin

These two creative posts took some time to craft, but we at the 5minlib applaud them with their creativity and library inspirations! It isn't easy to make memes, but they get the point across in a fun way. And the April Fool's Joke, we predict, will be floating around MANY library pages for many April 1sts to come.

4. Visual Changes at the Library

Any visual changes at the library is a great image to post on Facebook, especially the more simple those changes are. If your local newspaper writes an article on it and includes a professional photo, all the better for your Facebook page! (And kudos to you for sharing local content. Your paper will thank you!)

5. Local Weather Pictures

We mentioned in our last post that patrons love local history pictures. Weather pictures also do well, especially if they are outside of your library. It certainly is harder to catch such amazing views, but when you do, your patrons will appreciate the effort!

6. Humor Tied to Current Events

Paying attention to current events can help you with timely posts that'll get a reaction out of your patrons. It can be something as simple as a library spin on an event like the Major League Reading on opening day or it could be a funny post about something everyone is already talking about like Shark Week. (Do note: Videos that are uploaded to Facebook automatically play in people's newsfeed, which instantly increases your reach. Use sparingly as it does eat up people's data usage...)

7. Share Book Lover Inspirations

See something on social media that makes the book lover's heart happy? Share it! Bonus points if it is library related, but anything book related will do.

8. Compare Your Free Services to Paid Alternatives

Patrons love to hear how much money they're saving and the value they're getting when using library services.

9. Highlight Interesting Items To Checkout

Have something unique in your collection? Share it on Facebook! People love to hear about new and interesting things they can check out.

10. Celebrate Milestones

Milestones are important and Facebook monitors the big key words (like "anniversary", "birthday", and "retirement"), showing these posts to more people automatically. People don't want to miss milestones, so capitalize on this Facebook bump!

11. The Human Side of Libraries

Many libraries have had great interaction when they highlight local patrons, sharing their stories and how the library helped them. We matter to the community, people love to hear about it!

12. Quotes about Reading

Support patrons' love of reading by sharing quotes about it. There is no one more excited about February being the love of reading month than readers, and you have a whole audience of them.

13. Behind the Scenes

Patrons have responded well to pictures of things happening behind the scenes, especially when it is staff working hard for their patrons. As we mentioned in #10, using certain words can help your post. The same is true of the opposite. "Sale" has been known to hurt post reach since Facebook has learned people don't want promotional posts. Also be careful of "Join Us", most likely because Facebook wants people to create Events, not posts about upcoming programs.

14. Call to Action

Don't be afraid to include a call to action in your post (asking readers to do something -- like, share, respond...). It doesn't occur to people to share, so statistics show, if you ask people to share, your percentage of sharing will go up.

15. Share Book Lover Products

I wouldn't do if often since we're not in the business of selling products, but every book lover needs a bookshelf and USB Drive, so why not let them know of the fun ones they could buy?

Bonus: CATS!!!

The internet loves cats. Find an article or image that encompasses both? You'll be golden.

Interested in Facebook? Check out our other blog posts!

15 Viral Content Ideas for Your Library's FB Page! (Part 1)

8 Free Ways to Boost Your Library's Facebook Reach

10 Facebook Tips Patrons Wish Their Libraries Knew