Wednesday, July 17, 2013

At the Baby Fair

One of my favorite outreach events that the library participates in each year is the Baby Fair, held at our county hospital. There's usually a nice crowd and, even though not everyone lives in our county, expectant parents and grandparents are hungry for information. The Baby Fair crowd is very engaged and eager to take whatever handouts I bring along.

So, what do I take for my table at the Baby Fair?

1. BOOKS! A display of books is great for catching people's eye and quickly branding your booth. I select books from our parenting section, board books, and media items to show parents what we have to offer. Classic favorites that parents will remember from their childhoods are also a great bet. Anything to catch their eye and draw them over to your booth.

2. Early literacy information. This is a great time to break out your Every Child Ready to Read brochures and bookmarks.

3. Book lists. We updated our "New Baby" book lists (books for siblings about to get a new brother or sister) and I put together a new list of some of my favorite books for babies. My list includes board books, picture books, nursery rhyme collections, and music CDs. Also consider bringing other book lists you might have, since many of the families might have older siblings.

4. Program information. I brought along our summer calendar and I made a separate flyer just for our baby storytime. I included the summer and fall dates for the program since I know I'll be seeing many expectant parents who might not have a baby to bring until the fall or spring. Since I am in a community where I know I'll be seeing patrons with other home library districts, I try to familiarize myself with their offerings for babies. That way when I get "Oh, I don't live in Floyd County", I can let them know that their home library has programs for them, too. This isn't too hard since we're fairly collaborative and communicate frequently with our neighboring districts.

5. A door prize (if the event asks for one). I usually fill a little bag with a few of my favorite board books with bookplates (read: printed labels) on them to tell parents that they came from the library. This is a great opportunity to spread love for some of your favorite titles and to help start a baby's library!