Friday, March 24, 2006

Fair game

I always see some creative sales pitches at fairs, and VCU's Off-Campus Living Fair I participated in today was no different. I handed out a library resource guide with renter information for the students who were checking out all of the rental properties represented. What was most interesting was doing a little recon to scope out how all of these vendors differentiated themselves. I stopped by one popular table and asked the staffers what they were doing to draw people in. What I found was a fun idea that might work for librarians too:

The table had a Finding Nemo theme and a colorful poster that read, "Finding the Southside," which was a take-off of the Nemo theme that referred to finding properties on the south side of town. They also had a wheel students could spin that featured different Finding Nemo characters and, depending on what character the spinner landed on, students won a certain prize. Prizes included tiny cans of Play-Doh (my favorite give-away of the day), erasers and other small items. What I especially liked is that the table had a fun feel to it and that the game created a little experience for students to walk away with.

This got me thinking, of course, about what librarians could do with this idea in a fair setting. I liked the spin-the-wheel game and thought that a library take-off of Finding Nemo could be something like "Finding Library Resources" (or something catchy) where the spinner could land on all of the most helpful or new resources/services the library has to offer be it a podcast, Interlibrary Loan, online journals, or whatever (Nemo character decorations optional). Then, when students land on the spaces, librarians could (conveniently) talk about what the resource is and give a library-ish prize (gummy worms aka "bookworms," bookmarks, pens, pencils, etc.) along with printed information about the resource/service. Of course, other games would do too, but the most important things would be to 1. Create an experience patrons would be drawn to, have fun with, and could talk about with others and 2. Teach patrons what the library has to offer.

This isn't a new idea, just one that saw working well and want to try. I'd like to hear about games you've tried in similar settings - leave a comment!

Categories: real_life | tips_to_try

1 comment:

Meg Canada said...

The wheelis a great idea- we used it for the Minnesota State Fair to advertise the states' public libraries!