Minutes of May 10, 2005 Meeting, Books & Books, Coral Gables
Present: Sandy Birch, Robin Coller, Heidi Estrin, Inez Feingold, Jackie Fine, Etta Gold, Sue Kirschner, Phyllis Levy, Annette Rindner, Rabbi Tobias Rothenberg, Sara Schandelson, Barbara Share, Walter Spielman, Lee Wixman
We opened the meeting with a discussion of potential locations and topics for next year's meetings.
Possible hosts include B'nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton (Sue Kirschner), The South Miami Branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library (Phyllis Levy), the Alper JCC (Inez Feingold), Temple Anshei Shalom in Delray (Walt Spielman & Rabbi Rothenberg), and Temple Shaarei Shalom in Boynton (Lee Wixman).
Possible topics include: contemporary Jewish fiction, how to increase circulation, Jewish music collections, Jewish stamp collecting, the newest Jewish books for kids and adults, a "how to" session on booktalking, and sharing ideas for Jewish Book Month.
Meribeth Shank of the Books & Books staff addressed the group. She took over the Children's Literature Roundtable begun by AJL member Annette Goldsmith when Annette moved away. Meribeth explained that Books & Books provides a 20% discount to libraries and that they can ship materials to the customer. She noted that if a school assigns summer reading, the store can try to have those titles in stock if they are given adequate notice. She provided BookSense handouts that recommend the best children's books and the newest hot books, and pointed out that people can shop through BookSense.com online as an alternative to Amazon.
The next item on the agenda was a brainstorm session on promoting our libraries. Heidi explained some background about marketing, the "four P's: product, place, price, and promotion." Several suggestions for promotion had been mailed in by people who couldn't be at the meeting – see handout. Ideas suggested at the meeting included:
Etta: Piggyback on other programs in your organization. For instance, when Temple Beth Am had the Scholar in Residence, Etta made sure they held events in the library and promoted the scholar's books.
Sue: Because her library is in an inconvenient location, she has successfully started a program of bringing a cart of library books to Saturday morning services. Because it's a Conservative synagogue, they have a card prepared for every member, which they clip to the book card when a book is checked out, thus avoiding writing. She also displays seasonally relevant books to promote circulation.
Walt: Tie in with the most active parts of the congregation. In Walt's case this is Sisterhood. One of his library volunteers who is active in Sisterhood sets up a table at Sisterhood meetings with duplicate books the library doesn't want and sells them for a dollar apiece. This service gets Jewish books into people's home and keeps the library uppermost in their minds.
Sara: On her desk she has a large sign saying "Welcome to the Library" and listing the services they provide: circulating books, teaching research skills, etc. This educates users about the library's function.
Etta: On t he URJ web site's Significant Jewish Books list, you can also find discussion questions that can be used for book club meetings.
Heidi: If you're in a student-centered situation, you can send a welcome letter in the fall either to all students or just to the youngest grade that's new to the school, personally welcoming them and inviting them to use the library.
Annette: This same personal welcome letter or brochure concept could be used with new members of a synagogue.
Sara: In the public library when kids could write their name and get a card they used to sign "The Book" a big impressive ledger. It was a memorable moment for them. Perhaps something like this could be implemented to build the customers' relationship with the library. Also, copying a teacher she knows, librarians could give pre-addressed postcards to kids at the end of the school year and say "if you read a good book this summer please write to me and I will write you back."
Heidi: When new staff joins your organization you could have a library orientation session for them. (and a review for old staff!)
Robin: At her public library the graphic novel club is very popular. Have clubs on popular literary themes.
Rabbi Rothenberg: Public displays outside of the synagogue, about Jewish Book Month (November) or Jewish Music Month (February), can be effective.
Annette: if you offer audio in your collection, set up a listening station or offer Walkmans so people can listen to music while using the library or test items before borrowing them.
In the YOUR NEWS portion of our meeting, Lee Wixman reminded everyone that airline discounts are available for flying to Oakland, CA for the AJL convention. Barbara Share announced the formation of an Association of Independent School Libraries, which our members are invited to join. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We wrapped up the meeting by browsing the wonderful bookstore! The meeting adjourned at 2:30pm.