Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Going Bananas Over New Book Bunches

Greetings from the Land of Colby Cheese!  The Colby Public Library (CPL) is located in smack dab in the middle of the state…and yes, that Colby cheese you buy at the grocery store was invented in our home town! While cheese may be our claim to fame, the staff and patrons at the CPL are going bananas over our new Book Bunches program.

Book Bunches On An Endcap at CPL
 We have a vibrant pre-school story time running Thursday mornings during the academic school year, but we also realize there are families who cannot attend these weekly sessions.  To help them, we came up with the idea of bundling books into “bunches” to provide mini-story times in the comfort of one’s own home.

Our staff selects about twenty “themes” such as elephants, water, rocks, time, etc.   Juvenile books are pulled that support our thematic ideas.  We include three fiction books and two non-fiction ones.  We have found in our library picture books are checked out at a high rate, while non-fiction books are not as popular.  It is our sneaky way to introduce young listeners to the world of non-fiction by including these books in the bunches.  The books are then fastened together with strong two-way rubber bands.

An eye-catching laminated monkey label is attached.  The monkey’s tummy holds a picture clue as to what the bunch is about.  As most of these children cannot read yet, they have a fun time guessing the theme.  On the back of the tag, a list of the books is printed.  (This is helpful for when the bunches come back willy-nilly in the book drop—they are easily reassembled by consulting the tag.)

In another lifetime, I was a store display designer/decorator.  For me, the most fun portion of
Going Bananas For Books
designing the Book Bunches program was the decorating.  Inflatable monkeys hang from the ceiling among felt leaves and yarn vines.  Green burlap provides a jungle floor base on the shelves.  Banana boxes are joined together and fastened to the shelf end cap to provide fun peek-a-boo holes to place some of the smaller bundles.  Children gravitate to the section, as they cannot resist the allure of the display.

Our autumn story time will focus on zoo animals.  The story time children will also be encouraged to check out the Book Bunches.  At the first session, the treat for the children will be—you guessed it—healthy, delicious bananas.

If you are ever passing through Colby, I invite you to stop in and visit.  We are busy “Growing Wisconsin Readers,” but we are never too busy to show everyone our facility and programs.

Vicky L. Calmes, Director