A Sherlock Holmes Themed Community Reading Event, a guest post by Anna Behm
The entire library staff is involved and on board. We’re a mediumsized suburban library with eleven full time staff members and twentyone part timers. We wanted the whole staff involved in Westmont Reads, so the first thing we did was open the book selection up to a vote. Once The Hound became the clear choice, all staff were encouraged to join a committee programming, outreach, or marketing. Not only do we have a large pool of talent to draw from, but getting all staff involved has given everyone a stake in the success of the program.
|A staff created video trailer for the program builds interest.|
We created something unique for our patrons. The Hound of the Baskervilles is in the public domain and available for free as an ebook from sites like Project Gutenberg (and easy to load onto a flash drive and give to patrons), and inexpensive as a paperback. We decided to give away copies of The Hound of the Baskervilles for free. A local artist who happens to work in the circulation department (again, drawing from that pool of talent) designed a custom dust jacket for the book. She also lent her talents to the design of the Westmont Reads website, posters, bookmarks, and swag (I’m talking some of the COOLEST one inch buttons on the planet).
|The library uses Facebook to interact and conduct trivia events. Showing the prize right in the post is a great way to build interest!|
We planned tons of activities and events for all ages. Programming was by far the most popular staff committee, and it shows. From lectures and book discussions for our adult patrons, to mystery game nights and The Hound themed LEGO adventures for families, to special storytimes and tea parties for children, and forensics training and special volunteer opportunities for teens there’s a little bit of something for everyone going on at the Westmont Library this winter. Many of the events have not taken place yet (Westmont Reads runs through February), but I’m impressed by the range of activities the staff has come up with. Staff even planned a Westmont Reads event for themselves dressing up as their favorite character from the book on Halloween.
The community is involved in a variety of ways. The outreach committee solicited a variety of partnerships with local businesses and organizations. Many businesses agreed to hang posters promoting Westmont Reads. Some locations let us drop off copies of The Hound for their customers. Other businesses acted as destinations in our community scavenger hunt. We also fostered a relationship with the local humane society they agreed to come to the library to give a talk about rescue dogs, and the library set up a donation bin so that patrons could help provide them with much needed supplies. The local community theatre group is even getting in on the fun they are scheduled to perform a Sherlock Holmes radio play at the library after hours in two weeks.
Aligning Westmont Reads with the new season of Sherlock was just a coincidence (though if
anyone were to ask, I’d be tempted to say that yes, we really are that hip and with it at the WPL). Personally I am a big fan of the BBC series, and am thrilled to have an excuse to incorporate it into Westmont Reads. It’s certainly a testament to Arthur Conan Doyle and his work that Sherlock Holmes remains such an engaging presence in popular culture. I am more than happy to ride those coattails, and enjoy everything Sherlock Holmes, for a few weeks more.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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