Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Valentine's Day Library Materials on Display

It was a year ago this month that I was back in Florida working as a library volunteer at the Gulf Beaches Public Library, where my main responsibility was gathering and assembling the library materials for the main display table just inside the front door. I enjoyed brainstorming theme ideas with Library Director Maggie Cinnella and discussing which areas of our library collection needed circulation most. Popular themes always included holidays, so Valentine’s Day was obviously a given for the first part of February (although as a huge sports fanatic, I certainly jumped at the chance to do something tied to the Winter Olympics, and was sadly disappointed to not find a single book on curling in our collection – not surprising for a beach library located in FL!)

In generating the list of materials to include on the display table, I not only gained experience in how to search for materials in our library catalogue, whether it be books, audio books, DVDs or music CDs, but I also learned where they were kept in the stacks. There I would be every Thursday afternoon, pushing my book cart through the aisles of our little library, anxiously in search of titles that I hoped patrons would find interesting enough to want to take home.

In addition to putting together the list of materials and then removing them from the shelves to showcase, it was also fun to design the display sheets announcing the theme of that week’s table. The artist in me got a chance to play with graphics and fonts, while thinking of funny catch phrases or borders, all with the purpose of igniting interest from patrons to wander over to the table and perhaps select an item or two.

For Valentine’s Day, I went with the phrase “Materials From the Heart” and tried to include books about chocolate, flowers, writing romance, poetry, last minute date ideas, and of course, several romantic films, where I included one of my personal favorites, True Romance, starring Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette! And wouldn’t you know it, the next day, the entire table was pretty much cleared out except for that one film! And they say love is blind - ha!

Now Gary Oldman as a cracked-out pimp may not be your idea of romance, but unlike a dozen red roses and a box of Godiva chocolates, your library is absolutely free. Use it - love it - make love to, wait, let's not do that last one, we librarians have already seen too much of that sort of thing and cleaning it up isn't fun, anyway, you get the point, right?

Love your library. I do.