Readers Day Toolkit
12. Case Studies
Over the last 2 years a number of different models have been tried. While the above notes represent the general learning about the organisation of readers' days, below are some specific points which came out of individual events.
12.1 Engaging families- Trafford and Blackburn
At 2 events in 2004 the readers' days were specifically intended to attract family participation. In both Trafford (June 04) and Blackburn (Sept 04) days were designed which audience members could drop in and out of and which were free to attend. Both events had standard readers' day content with parallel activities for children and families running alongside.
At both events the children's activities- storytelling, illustration, music and dancing proved very popular and easier to attract audiences to than the main author discussions and workshops. This indicated that there is a marketing problem in trying to advertise combined events, the readers' day elements needed additional promotion to a wider adult audience beyond the library-based audience normally attracted to children's activities.
A day with parallel activities is more demanding in staffing and resources but adds to the "buzz" in the venues.
Dropping in and out did mean that the days lost the coherent feel of whole-day events and this perhaps made it more difficult for the panel. It was noticeable in Blackburn in particular that some different people did attend the afternoon session. I would definitely favour this approach when designing a day for young people who will find it difficult to commit to a full day.
For further details contact Blackburn Libraries: Geraldine Wilson 01254 587 236
Trafford Libraries: Diana Ashcroft on 0161 912 3560
Download publicity for Blackburn with Darwen Readers Day Event:
Blackburn with Darwen.pdf [ 3.1 MB ]
12.2 Focusing on one genre of writing- e.g. poetry
Poetry can be included as an element of any readers' day. There are so many poets around in the region that there seemed to be opportunity for organising days using only poets. This inevitably means a smaller potential audience, but one which is prepared to travel further.
A poetry day can use exactly the same model as other days- panel discussions, workshops, Q & A sessions. You should try to include opportunity for the poets to read from their work to give a flavour of their style. At the day organised in Bury (June 03) I tried to include a representative from each of the major poetry publishers- Faber & Faber, Picador, Carcanet and Bloodaxe.
In Liverpool (Oct 04) we went for a wide ranging panel- one or two newly published writers as well as some "older hands".
At a poetry day you also have ample opportunity for small and independent presses to advertise themselves, as there is a large number of these publishing poetry in the region.
For further details contact: Jane Mathieson on 0161 236 4451
12.3 Engaging new audience- Cheshire
The Cheshire Readers' Day (Nov 04) wanted to reach some new reading audience.
It was decided to undertake some outreach work with a centre for visually impaired people in Crewe, encouraging them to talk about books and reading, with opportunity to attend the readers' day offered as a bonus activity. A partnership agreement was made with the National Library for the Blind (NLB) who held 6 workshop sessions for a group of approx. 12 visually impaired people. As part of the activity, extracts of writing by authors attending the readers day were recorded and played with the group to try and engage their interest in writers they could later have opportunity to meet. The whole group was encouraged to attend the day and help and support would be provided. In the event only 4 of the group did attend- these 4 were extremely appreciative of the day. A further legacy from the outreach work is that the reading group established at the centre now aims to continue and be self-supporting. The development programme included a visit to Crewe Library to be introduced to the wide range of services provided for visually impaired readers.
To ensure the day was as fully accessible as possible we tried to include writers whose work was already available in a range of formats. Large print extracts or audio tapes of books were offered to people booking for particular workshops. We also prepared some targeted goody bags for visually impaired people containing audiotapes.
As part of the day the National Library for the Blind ran a very successful raffle and bring and buy stall. Funds were also raised through asking for voluntary donations at the point of booking. Almost £1000 was raised for the NLB through these means.
For further details contact:Elizabeth Newall on 01244 602 898
Download publicity for Cheshire Readers Day Event:
Cheshire.pdf [ 224 K ]
12.4 Cross- authority events in Stockport & Tameside, Oldham & Rochdale
Readers' days inevitably attract their largest audience from their immediate surroundings. This means that they often only benefit single library authorities. In an attempt to widen their impact, two readers' days this year were organised by two authorities working in partnership. While not hugely successful in drawing audience from a wider area, some useful learning points did emerge:
- A wider pool of staff to draw on - they are a good opportunity for staff from 2 authorities to work together- eases the burden on one authority alone
- The administrative workload can be shared- bookings could be administered by one authority while the other looks after the details of venue, writers etc.
- Increases available resources. e.g. costs of publicity or author fees can be shared
- Increased marketing opportunity- a wider number of outlets, community groups, and readers' groups to promote through. But the authority which the event is not happening in needs more work in terms of word-of-mouth promotion
For further details contact:
Stockport Libraries Paul Howarth Tel 0161 474 5604
Tameside Libraries Chris Smith Tel 0161 368 2447
E mail email@example.com
Oldham Libraries Helen Robinson Tel 01457 820 0025
E mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Rochdale Libraries Janice Tod Tel 01706 864 976
E mail email@example.com
Download publicity for Oldham Readers Day Event:
Oldham.pdf [ 180 K ]
Toolkit written by Jane Mathieson Dec 2004 with especial thanks to all staff in the region who contributed to making the readers' days held so far successful and enjoyable.