Each month, my library offers Book Lovers Events on a specific topic. We spend an hour sharing book recommendations in an interactive format. It’s a mix of live book talks (2-3 minute talk on a specific title) and book trailers or author interviews in a slideshow. There’s also a prepared list of each title we cover.
This month’s topic was YA/adult crossovers. I am one of five library staff members involved in this month’s events (two per event, and I’m on two of the events).
Each participant contributed recommendations to a master list. I chose ten adult and ten YA books with crossover appeal. I tend towards fantasy and science fiction, so I was careful to include as much of a range as possible in my selections, and to balance my picks against those of my co-workers. Combined, we have an eight page list of books covering all genres.
Our Book Lovers events are normally held twice: one an evening event which draws mostly younger adults and working families, the other a morning event which draws mostly retirees and older adults. Because of the topic, we added a third event to reach our teen patrons directly.
Reaching multiple audiences
The same set of information is presented three completely different ways for different audiences. For the formal hour-long events, we used our slideshow. We picked which titles we would do live talks on in advance, and the slideshow covers the rest in between. Because those events are attended primarily by adults, we focused on YA titles they might like.
For our teens, we focused on adult titles of interest. I joined their regularly scheduled Teen Library Council, and spoke at the end of the meeting. No slide shows this time, just me talking for thirty minutes about books. I presented by myself, as a guest speaker, and another librarian ran the regular Council meeting.
I will also speak at the morning event this Friday, to our senior crowd. This event runs longer than the teen presentation, but with a slideshow and a co-presenter, I will spend less time talking.
It’s an interesting challenge to present to different age groups. You tailor not only the books you present, but also your diction, tone of voice, and dress. And hardest of all, your body language. The on-paper preparation of a book list ended up being the easiest part. I’m not a natural in front of an audience, and I find each situation brings up a different source of anxiety. But in the end, I have in common with my audience a love of reading. That’s enough to build a connection and make the words flow.
More Library Life features to come
Every library offers a wide variety of services and programming. From public, urban, neighborhood, private, academic, or research library, each library serves a different community and fills a different function within that community. Each worker will fill a different role according to interest, background, and skills. So there isn’t really a typical library experience. These are mine.
More Library Life posts will follow, about once a month or whenever there’s something I want to talk about. Some of the things I cover are one time special events, some are daily occurrences. Questions are always welcome.