The Reading Group at Lancaster Library
It was decided that an Open Evening at Lancaster Library would be a good way to promote both our local Reading Groups and Reader Development. To encourage a relaxed atmosphere and make the event less "formal" wine, soft drinks and nibbles were provided.
Invitations were sent to the Organisers/Secretaries of all our Local Groups with an RSVP enclosed so that we would have some idea of numbers due to attend. Posters advertising the event were sent to local Libraries and displayed in Lancaster Library. The staff in the Administration Department worked hard producing the publicity for the event.
We also invited a representative from Litfest (Lancaster Literature Festival) and a local Author (Max Haymes). Unfortunately a representative from Bibliographical Services could not attend to talk about how materials are selected.
A member of staff approached Booths Supermarket and they agreed to provide some nibbles free of charge, glasses free of charge and wine and soft drinks on a sale-or-return basis. Entertainment costs were kept to a minimum.
Web pages which are useful for Reading Groups were researched and lists were printed out to use on the night and to take home. The public computer terminals were set to various sites to give a "taster" of these sites.
New Stock was kept back for the week leading up to the event. It was then used to form 2 displays to give people an idea of the choice available in Local Libraries.
A copy of each title in the Reading Group Catalogue was ordered in various formats. Large Print, DVD, Book, and Talking Book. A display of all titles was then used to promote this service.
Between 60/65 people attended, most Lancaster Reading Groups were represented including Galloways visually impaired Group and our own "Military Gentlemen" Group.
7 people joined the Library on the night and some took forms to bring back to Lancaster or Mobile Libraries later.
A short welcoming speech was given by the Branch Manager and other members of staff were introduced.
Although the evening was intended to be structured most people seemed to prefer to just chat amongst themselves, approach the Litfest Representative and Max Haymes in their own time and generally have a "GOOD TIME" As it was our first attempt at anything like this event we just took a step back and let them lead us.
The evening was a great success judging by comments on the night and since. The time and effort put in by the staff members was cost effective in feed back, positive publicity and good will. The staff felt a sense of achievement and had an enjoyable (if busy) time. All our guests enjoyed themselves and some even became friends.
We have been asked to "Do this again please" and hope to stage an evening at least once a year. We would like to have an evening for people who are interested in forming a Reading Group. We may combine the two.
The evening was supposed to draw to an end at about 20.30pm but the last stragglers were leaving at 21.45 so the evening could be termed as a success.
Comments on the night were VERY positive and forms for feed back were given out... to be returned later.