'Chatty Readers' Skills for Life reading group at Southend Libraries (Photographer: Ruth Knight; Image source: Southend Libraries)
Simon Wallace, Community & Diversity Manager at Southend Libraries, and based at the new Forum Library, inspires us with news of what Southend Libraries have done to promote the Quick Reads initiative.
Our approach is to raise awareness of Quick Reads by continuously promoting these resources both within the library and across a range of community settings.
Here are just some of the ways that we have promoted Quick Reads:
- We bought considerably more copies of each Quick Reads title and refreshed the collections and publicity at all branches, including extra Quick Reads titles from Accent Press.
- We extended the range of titles on board the mobile library and the manager has actively promoted the titles to parents and staff.
Quick Reads displays
- We created Quick Reads book displays, using the posters to create interesting and highly visible face-on presentations of new stock.
- We placed the displays in prominent positions in the building.
Quick Reads and reading groups
- We promoted Quick Reads through our Home Library Service reading group who enjoyed trying out some shorter reads.
- Members of the library's 'Chatty Readers' Skills for Life Reading Group continue to act as informal Quick Reads 'champions' - and are happy to tell fellow students in their classes about Quick Reads and how useful and enjoyable the books are.
- We also promoted Quick Reads audio titles to visually impaired readers through the Diskettes Reading Group, which meets monthly at the Central Library.
- Working in partnership with local RNIB Audio Book Service Volunteers and Southend Blind Welfare Organisation, we held a series of DAISY Doctor sessions highlighting the CD recordings through talks to social groups and answering queries about how best to use the DAISY CD player and make further audio selections.
Working with partners
- We promoted Quick Reads along with Reading Well Mood-boosting Books to organisations working with people recovering from mental health conditions. Rethink Recovery Point used Quick Reads as part of a new book club they set up at their centre - and members of the club took part in the Six Book Challenge and included reviews of Quick Reads titles in their diaries. Rethink also helped libraries to promote Quick Reads as part of World Book Night, with a Mood-boosting event in the library.
- We teamed up with Southend Mind's Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Counselling team and their service users; libraries gifted copies of the Andy McNab's Quick Reads title Last Night Another Soldier to them, as part of World Book Night.
- In May we worked with Union Learn Representatives at Revenue and Customs staff as part of National Learning at Work Day in May to promote Quick Reads and the Six Book Challenge.
- Libraries helped to set up a Six Book Challenge reading group with the Council's Parks team based in the Borough Nursery. This resulted in further take up of Quick Reads in a workplace setting and the BBC filmed interviews with the team as part of their Skillswise website. To view the video go to www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise
- We organised a photo-call event at which players from Southend United Football Club signed Mood-boosting publicity and in return received some Quick Reads titles to share with the rest of the squad.
- The football club mascots 'Elvis J Eel' and 'Sammy the Shrimp' visited the library to promote Quick Reads titles such as Tackling Life to appeal to football fans, and the club included copy in their weekly e-newsletter to supporters and also on their website.
- Players, adult learners and library colleagues teamed up with Waterstones Southend staff for a bookshop press launch of new Quick Reads titles in February 2013.
- We are working up ways to promote Quick Reads with Ideas in Motion by highlighting how you can try short, enjoyable reads on your way to work on the train or bus.
Quick Reads and the Six Book Challenge
- As part of the Six Book Challenge we visited classes and took along Quick Reads resources to show students. The aim is to raise awareness and highlight how Quick Reads could help them to complete the Challenge. We also offer 'instant' library membership for any student.
- We ran a marketing campaign by using locally produced posters to advertise the Challenge using sixty bus shelters and stops across the town.
- We ran a free monthly prize draw and promoted this widely. The aim was to encourage people to try a Quick Read and also write a review. We also offered Quick Reads as prizes for anyone entering the Six Book Challenge.
Quick Reads and social media
- We also added Quick Reads promotional messages to our outgoing e-mail signatures.
To sign up for Quick Reads 2014 and free promotional materials, visit the Reading Agency shop.
If you're interested in running the Six Book Challenge in your library, college or prison, check out our resources page.