Volusia County Public Library follows the annual summer reading program themes as specified by the state of Florida. In 2017, the theme was Build a Better World.
To promote and raise awareness about summer reading, library staff created a visualization of the world to display on the branch's curving staircase wall. Staff then invited patrons to write their reading recommendations on individual "bricks" that "built" the community reading wall. Each brick included a book title and author recommended by local participants.
Planning for the summer reading program began in April for implementation in June. A librarian trainee and library associate primarily planned and designed the marketing for the program, developing a plan that doubled as a passive program.
Paper brick templates were placed at each service desk for the duration of the summer reading program. (See the brick template under Attachments at right.) Staff encouraged patrons to fill out a brick when checking out or returning materials, or when engaging staff at the reference and youth desks.
The wall itself was a marketing tool for summer reading, but we did spread the word about the wall as well. We shared news abouts its growth on the library's Facebook page and on promotional TV monitors inside the library. The marketing part of the overall program began in May, and the addition of bricks concluded on July 30.
Staff used library copiers and printers to print the bricks; the lettering, globe and continent cut-outs were traced and cut from rolls of colored paper (already on hand as supplies for bulletin boards). Volunteers assisted staff with tracing, cutting out shapes and installation.
The total budget — less than $50 — included:
- 150 bricks printed on 11-by-17 paper: $14
- Globe (using blue roll craft paper) with continents (using green roll craft paper): Free, made from existing bulletin board supplies
- Brick Wall roll paper from Amazon.com : $17
The initial lettering ("Build a Better World") was set up in the stairwell in May to generate interest in summer reading, as were a few blank “foundational” bricks to start the wall. The display was added to weekly and will remain up in the stairwell through August 2017 to allow visitors to continue taking advantage of the reading recommendations.
Patrons submitted 129 bricks during the program period. The completed bricks were folded and affixed in the staircase on either side of a main staff picks wall display. (See photos under Images at right.) Blank bricks were placed between each written brick to add to the look of the wall.
Staff-pick books were at the bottom of the stairwell, on display throughout the program, and proved to be a very popular place for browsing. Patrons frequently looked at the bricks and asked staff for help finding the recommended books.
Thirty patrons inquired about books they found referenced on the reading wall, requesting the titles for checkout or placing them on reservation for upcoming checkout.
Further, as this passive program served as marketing for the overall summer reading program, it assisted with marketing the 33 active programs and the reading log programs (with 658 and 150 participants, respectively).
A stairwell is not necessary for this passive program. In our instance, because the staircase is located in the middle of the library (and is a high-traffic area), it provided wonderful in-house, centralized marketing for the summer program. It would be advised to select an equally high-traffic area of a department or branch — utilizing any blank wall available (or even the front and sides of a service desk).
The bricks were somewhat time-consuming to fold and place on the staircase wall, so it is advisable to seek out volunteers for help in assembling the bricks. Our staff found this very helpful in maintaining the growth of the wall over the summer months.
About This Library
DeLand Regional Branch, in DeLand, Fla., is one of 13 branch libraries of the Volusia County Public Library (VCPL) system in central Florida. The only two-story branch in the Volusia County system, the branch offers full services in adult reference, genealogy, children’s and teen services, and multimedia. Situated in downtown DeLand, this regional library serves a diverse community. In the past fiscal year, this branch saw an average of 276,201 visitors, hosted 1,243 programs, and drew in 13,447 program participants.