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Working Toward a Successful Book Fair!. A Team Effort!. Robyn Corum. Julie Hall. Paige Dobbins. Penny Hanners. Martha Eaton- Library Aide (not shown). Hartselle is middle-class community Population – 13,000 5 schools: 3 elementary, 1 middle, 1 high

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Working Toward a Successful Book Fair!

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working toward a successful book fair

Working Toward aSuccessful Book Fair!

A Team Effort!

Robyn Corum



Paige Dobbins

Penny Hanners

Martha Eaton-Library Aide (not shown)


Hartselle is middle-class community

  • Population – 13,000
  • 5 schools: 3 elementary, 1 middle, 1 high
  • Hartselle is NOT a suburb of any large city
  • Crestline Elementary is 50 years old
  • Enrollment is 570
  • 5.82% minority 29% Free & Reduced lunch
  • Not a magnet school - just a GREAT average school

Working Toward aSuccessful Book Fair!

Considering Your Motivation

Evaluating Your School Support

Choosing the Right Book Fair Provider

Choosing the Right Date

Finding the “Right” Chairperson(s)

Building a Team

Starting From the Beginning Not the Middle

Having a Detailed Plan and Starting Early

Keeping It Simple

What You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Volunteers

Setting (Reasonable) Goals

Getting People Excited!

Seeing “The Big Picture”

It’s a Wrap for This Year…Now What?

i considering your motivation
I. Considering Your Motivation

Why do you hold a Book Fair?

(Or are considering one?)

Is it:

  • Because it’s always been done, and as the media specialist, you’ve just been handed the responsibility?
  • Because you love books?
  • Because SOMEBODY’S got to do it?
  • Because if it’s going to be done right, you’ll have to be the one who does it?
  • Because you love to share the gift of reading with children?
  • Because you’re interested in adding to your library’s resources through the money raised through Book Fair profits, and it’s a necessary evil?
  • Because a successful Book Fair makes you look good-it gives you a chance to shine and shows off some of your talent and your organizational abilities?
  • Because you’re a glutton for punishment?
  • Or is it a combination of some of those?
ii evaluating your school support
II. Evaluating Your School Support
  • Principal, office staff
  • Teachers
ii evaluating your school support1
II. Evaluating Your School Support

Let’s just see the impact a successful Book Fair can have:

Our 2001 Fair Total = $9,000

x 30% in cash profit = $2,789.62

= $2,700 total profit from a one week Book Fair!

Our 2008 Fair Total = $21,000

x 25% in cash profit = $5,000

x 10% in books = $2,100

= $7,100 total profit from a one week Book Fair!

iii choosing the right book fair provider
III. Choosing the RightBook Fair Provider
  • Case quantities
  • Customizing book titles for our ages and reading ranges
  • Sending certain ‘specialized’ requests in odd situations
  • Helping us figure out inventory problems as our sales grew
  • Field Reps, willing to help put up, take down, and answer Qs
  • The online resources, especially the Coordinator’s Toolkit area
  • The Planning Kit Box
  • The Hands-On Idea Book
  • Author Video
  • Themes with patterns, clipart, and matching signs
  • The Scholastic Sales Consultant – one of our favorite resources!
iv choosing the right date
IV. Choosing the Right Date

The timing of your Book Fair has a lot to do with your success.

  • Pick a date without other school conflicts
  • A date that coincides with payday, if possible
  • Scholastic offers extra benefits during certain slower periods of the year and if you’re able to host a 2nd fair.
iv choosing the right date1
IV. Choosing the Right Date
  • Consider your library’s capabilities - Can you suspend library classes for the fair?
  • Remember any important testing schedules.
  • Decide on the length of your fair.
  • Extra events?
  • Family Night
  • Grandparents’ Day
  • Extended Hours
  • Friends and Family Invitations
v finding the right chairperson s
V. Finding the “Right” Chairperson(s)

Be willing to share the load.

(Or even hand it off?)

  • Chairperson’s Qualities:
  • Dependable
  • Trustworthy
  • Organized
  • Enthusiastic
  • Has the time
  • Love of children/reading
  • Finding a chairperson:
  • Signs near library asking for volunteers
  • Announce at PTO meetings
  • Ask the Principal
  • Talk to teachers
vi building a team
VI. Building a Team

“If I want my Book Fair to grow...I'm going to have to share the responsibilities, do some delegating, and build a team.”

  • Regardless of the size of your Fair now, if you want to GROW, you need to start building a foundation that will support GROWTH.
  • New people with new ideas can shake things up.
  • Be willing to OPEN YOUR EYES to the possibilities
  • Be willing to OPEN YOUR ARMS to let go of some of the responsibilities and let in
  • some help.
  • Remember “if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've
  • always got.”

They can help by:

Calling volunteers and scheduling work times

- remember to schedule extra for any special events planned

“Outside” PR duties -- radio, news, TV, etc -- any and all

Decorating for the theme --

- the halls, the entrance, the interior of library, costumes, etc.

Creating signs for interior/exterior of school, laminating, etc.

Set up/take down/ Getting Help/Deciding When

“Staging”/Making Book Displays look appealing

Getting the word out – “Inside” PR -- students, teachers, parents - letters, signs, etc.

Finances- setting up registers, being in charge of the money, Deposits

Ordering – Looking ahead, What's going fast? What's out?

Volunteers- On the job?– keeping them busy and on track (not just warm bodies)

Teachers- Keep them happy- snacks and treats?

Book Cases – Label them with case number and shelf ID?/ “Favorites Labels?”

Teachers Wish Lists – Accept State, Reading and PTO monies? What kind of Wish Lists?

Decide if you want to deal with backorders?

vii starting from the beginning not the middle
VII. Starting From the Beginning Not the Middle

From the moment we first began doing Book Fairs, this was one of our biggest problems! And we didn't even realize it.

It's obvious that while we thought we were running our Fairs, in truth OUR FAIRS WERE RUNNING US!

Start Early!

viii having a detailed plan and starting early
VIII. Having a Detailed Planand Starting Early

Decide where you are and where you want to be.

What is your current level of sales?

Are you satisfied?

Make a call to your sales rep.

What are neighboring schools your size doing?

How do you compare?

Can you improve?

Ask for ideas.

Get Organized!

Make use of all your tools

ix keeping it simple
IX. Keeping It Simple

Suggestions to Help Maintain

Sanity During the Fair:

Ordering -

Teacher's Wish Lists -

Cash Registers -

Volunteer Instructions -

Tags for Shelves -

Scholastic “BookList” Newsletter -

x what you ve always wanted to know about volunteers
X. What You’ve Always Wanted to Know about Volunteers
  • Hang Volunteer Recruitment Posters
  • Include Recruitment notice in school newsletter and on website
  • Call past Fair volunteers
  • Set up volunteer kiosk with sign-up sheet at your next school event
  • Ask school staff and teaching assistants
  • High school students who need community service hours
  • Volunteer workers from local businesses
  • Parents and Grandparents
  • PTA, PTO, and PAC members
  • Classroom Volunteers
  • Library helpers and grade5-8 students
  • Family and friends
  • Retired teachers and librarians
xi setting reasonable goals
XI. Setting (Reasonable) Goals

There is no secret in setting goals.

The secret is in being able to reach them.

Find your starting place.

Add Excitement And Momentum

xii getting people excited
XII. Getting People Excited!

An easy and effective way to get people excited and working for you...?

Offer them something great!

Rewards, go for the OUTRAGEOUS!

Rewards, get people to commit first!

Consider helping others instead/also?

Reading contests

Challenges between classes

Challenges between individuals: principal vs. coach, maybe

Challenges with multiple levels

You know your school and students best (and your parent volunteers)

xiii seeing the big picture
XIII. Seeing “The Big Picture”

Be original! Be creative! Try new things!

But most of all STAY FOCUSED!

Make sure you spend your time where it brings you the most return – and that always comes back to the bottom line.

Add or implement your ideas a little at a time, and always try to use sound judgment.

xiv that s a wrap for this year s book fair now what
XIV. That’s a Wrap for This Year’s Book Fair… Now What?


Breakdown and Cleanup Book Fair

Do Final Calculations

Make Deposits

Send Money, Info to Scholastic

Send Thank You's to Chairperson(from Librarian),

Volunteers (through letter to editor in paper),

teachers (by email, or by school mailbox, etc)

Send final letter to parents thanking them and announcing results.

Did you make your goal?

Begin making notes immediately – while you have the team together


What worked? What didn't? Talk it out.

What changed – what was the same?

Pictures – develop, identify, save, and make notes now.

Start thinking about the reward for next year.

Plan the date for next fair. Talk with your Sales Consultant.

Is there anything you can do now, while pressure is off that would help for next year?

Organize files, create signs, laminate....?


What problems or glitches did you face?

Traffic flow improvement?

Improve: The sales appeal of displays

Improve the “selection” of titles

Improve ordering or Deliveries

Getting/Directing volunteers

Staying organized

How will you “fix” them?

these are our secrets
These are our Secrets:

Take copious notes

Trust nothing to memory

Start early -- from the Beginning

Have a Detailed Plan

Bring Friends

Make something happen

Don't get lost in the details

And last, but not least…

Have fun along the way!

after you get back to school
After you get back to school:
  • And your head is spinning from all that you tried to absorb through this presentation….
  • You might want to ask us a question:
  • So here are our email addresses:

If you want to come see our Book Fair “in action,” it is always the first full week in February (after payday), this year – Feb. 2nd thru 6th! You are welcome to come – but we may put you to work, so watch out!