The Local Author Fair was a three-hour event for people of all ages to meet and speak with published writers in the Chicagoland area. Authors included fiction writers (children's, teen and adult), nonfiction writers and those who were self-published. Attendees were also able to meet the 2014 winner of the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project , Joanne Zienty.
The Local Author Fair was created by the head of youth services and the adult services programming librarian. They accepted submissions from authors September 1, 2014, through December 1, 2014. Writers were asked to send their published book with their application. The event planning committee went through each submission and decided which authors would be a part of the fair. We had a great turn out from authors writing in a variety of genres, including children's, young adult, nonfiction and comics.
The event was advertised in our fall and winter newsletters. In the fall, the advertisement was mainly to gather authors for the January event. The winter newsletter promoted the fair to potential attendees. We also advertised the event on our library website, Facebook page and Twitter. From our surveys, we learned that many of the participants heard about the event through the Chicago Writers Association (which had learned about us on Twitter).
The cost was minimal, and only due to the snacks we supplied for authors.
We used our meeting room and the hallway for the fair. We set up tables for the authors to showcase their books and displays. Writers were allowed to bring copies of their books to sell at the event. In some cases, we also had their books ready in case someone wanted to check a copy out from the library.
The event lasted for three hours and was the only program happening at the library, during this period. We consider the program a success, as we had over 40 authors participate and feedback from a post-event survey was positive.
Since this event was focusing on authors within the Chicagoland area, advertising was key. Using social media, local newspapers and resources (like the Chicago Writers Association) are important.
About This Library
For over 25 years, the Indian Prairie Public Library has been serving 42,259 residents in Willowbrook, most of Darien, and a portion of Burr Ridge, Ill. There are over 70 staff members throughout the library, 13 of whom are in the youth services department. Youth services connects with 20 schools in the district.