Formula for a Successful Book Fair

Hosting Book Fairs is another important component of library advocacy. This year along with my Usborne Book Rep, Maria Bihari, we hit upon a winning formula and managed to hit her record in sales. 

We have tried various methods. The first is the 2 regular school days when classroom teachers are expected to support by monitoring students money, and anyone who has taught younger students knows this can be challenge which can end in tears if money is forgotten. We had done well with hosting the book fair during a student conference day so parents are encouraged by their child to visit after seeing their teacher and then followed this up with a regular school day. The benefit was that classroom teachers didn't need to keep track or sign up their classes to visit. Most of the sales for the second day were from kids who had found favourites and returned to by them, either independently or along with a teaching assistant.

However the winning combination was a regular school day in which I encouraged older classes to visit but not necessarily bring money, and then the second day was the conference day. We found that older students ended up purchasing more books since they had spent their own money the first day and then brought their parents back the second day. Maria and I have both found that parents are willing to buy more expensive and special books than what the students select for themselves.

The end result was great for the library. Usborne gives the hosting libraries a certain percentage of spending money from the book fair's earnings. This means I can replace old copies of books that needed to be weeded with 'free' high quality books. I often purchase beautiful hard covers from them so they will last longer than the paperbacks.

So if you want a successful book fair I suggest you try our two day method - first a regular school day followed by a student led conference day! You'll be pleased with the financial results.


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