It’s great when you get inspiration from the blogosphere. I know a number of you have been using bingo cards to set reading challenges- that got me thinking. Yesterday was National Libraries Day and I volunteer at my local community library which stopped being funded by the Isle Of Wight Council and was taken over by the Shanklin Town Council, one paid member of staff and a team of volunteers. Fund raising in circumstances like these is important. So with the seeds of an idea sown I visited one of those bingo card generating sites in an attempt to devise something that will raise funds for the library and perhaps more importantly – get library users talking about and excited about books.
I put in about 50 categories which will get people using various sections of the library, selecting books off their bookshelves or maybe supporting their local charity shops. The randomly generated cards chose 24 of these. I didn’t want to be too specific because I didn’t want to put the general reader off (24 books is quite a challenge!) but thought it would be fun to put in a few that might require the odd bit of research. I included some that will get people recommending and talking about what they’ve read and we’re following the system set up with the children’s summer reading challenge where the children bring in the books they’ve read and talk about them with the library staff before they get their reward. When you’ve proved you’ve read the book then you get a sticker to cover up your square (we’ve gone for an attractive, sparkly balloon design!)
To turn it into a fund-raiser we’re charging £3 a card with a small prize for everyone who completes a line and a six month deadline for the Full House. The fairest way to do it, after much deliberation, is to have a draw from those who manage to complete the whole card after the closing date. Fund-raising wise, it doesn’t matter if people do fall by the wayside (although I’m sure everybody will be able to do at least a line) because you get the money upfront at the beginning.
We started the volunteers off a few days earlier at a “do” and they are chomping at the bit. I’ve already talked more about books than I would do normally. For National Libraries Day we had a launch of our “Friends Of Shanklin Community Library Book Bingo” and invited the High Sheriff of the Island and our town mayor. The local press and radio were also in attendance and it was a radio item on the hourly news bulletins throughout the day (even got to hear myself interviewed on the radio). The response has been incredibly enthusiastic and because it’s running for six months and there’s not a race for the finishing line then we can get people enrolled over the next few weeks or even months. And all because I saw something on WordPress…..
“Playing” Book Bingo for the press
I’ve read two books since the volunteers started off and I’ve got my first two stickers. I’ve covered up The first in the series for “Death In Profile” by Guy Fraser-Sampson (the first in the Hampstead Murders series) and by an author whose name begins with a vowel for Vaughn Entwistle and his “Angel Of Highgate”. Both of these books will be reviewed on here soon. I’ll be giving you a monthly update on how things are going. It will take me a while to get the Full House – I’ve got quite a few I’ll need to borrow from the library shelves on my card and I’m already grappling with a significant pile with review deadlines – so I better get on with reading…………………..