I've always wondered whether my librarian friends think I'm crazy for waiting until December to have the book fair. To be honest, I sometimes question whether I'm crazy myself. Most librarians I know have their book fairs earlier in the fall, sometime around September or October. I think they choose the earlier months because, by December, we are all too tired to even think about setting up a book fair. I, on the other hand, have always gone with December because it seems like a good time of year with all the holiday shopping that happens during the month.
My favorite thing about book fair is seeing the students' reactions when they first see the fair set up - the big eyes, open mouths, and the "Whooooaaaaa" sounds they make when they walk in. It makes me really happy to see them so excited about the books.
I have to say, I'm pretty pleased with the book fair so far. It was a lot of work setting up - this one took me twice as long as it usually does to set up, even though I had a couple of helpers for the first time ever. We even have a huge sign in front of the school to advertise it!
Last year, which was the first year at my current campus, we brought in $400 more than the previous year's book fair. Today is only Wednesday, and we've already beaten last year's amount by $500 dollars, with one and a half days left in the book fair!
I think there are several reasons for this improvement:
- The huge sign in front of the school advertising the book fair this year draws people in.
- More parents are coming to shop.
- Opening the book fair before school begins. This year I open it at 7:15 AM, and within fifteen minutes of opening, there are at least twenty students shopping.
- A big smile on my face as they come early for shopping.
- Including the little knick knacks, like pencils, erasers and bookmarks, which I usually forego because they're too "messy."
- Allowing students to purchase books even if they don't have enough money, as long as they owe less than a dollar. I send a note with them that shows how much they owe. Most of them are pretty good about coming back with the change the next day. (I'll personally make up any shortage when the fair closes.)
- Morning announcements to update students on the biggest selling items from the previous day, informing them of restocks, and making suggestions to students in book clubs on what to buy.
While I'm tired and achy at the end of each day, I try not to focus on the two week break that is coming up. Instead I'm focusing on and discussing the books we have at the fair and encouraging them to read over the break.
About next year's book fair - I'm up in the air about whether I should do it earlier in the year, like most other librarians do. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to seeing the students' beaming faces as they walk into the book fair tomorrow morning.