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Promotions help point you in the right direction

Clare Champion, 13th May 2005

Ever gone into a library or bookshop and been unable to find a book among the thousands on display that you would like to read? Research has shown that the majority of readers are browsers. Many people can’t remember names of authors or titles of books and most are looking for a “kind” of book, not a specific title. Consumer research has also shown that people are overwhelmed when faced with a wide choice and find it easier to choose from a small selection.

It is the policy of Clare County Library to actively promote the reading habit, not being content to simply stack books on shelves, and hope that our clients will find them for themselves. The overall aim is to increase access to material. Book promotions have been a major feature of the library’s efforts to assist readers with their reading choices and to widen people’s reading horizons by introducing them to authors and genres of fiction they would not usually read.

Book promotions are themed collections featuring an average of 30 carefully selected titles. Leaflets are produced providing reviews of the chosen titles, ensuring a suitable and enjoyable read according to one’s choice. Multiple copies of these - usually in paperback - are displayed together in prominent positions on tables, similar to a supermarket policy for “special offers” or bookshop display for lead titles/bargain books.

This informal display is undoubtedly part of the success of the venture. Each promotion is circulated in turn - for a period of three months - to the branch library network, ensuring a continuous supply of fresh promotions. Once a promotion has done the rounds of the branch libraries, the books are released into the general system, and may then be reserved by members.

Clare County Library initially took its promotions from the British-based Well Worth Reading scheme. Commencing in 1993 with Voices from Europe, a collection of contemporary novels in translation which explored aspects of life on the continent, formal book promotions continued with Better Read than Dead, City Limits, With a Little Help from my Friends, Obsession, Turning Points, and Foreign Bodies.

However, as it has always been the library’s intention to significantly expand this area of operations, the library has been actively developing in-house promotions, the most recent being Eureka - a popular science book promotion for both adults and children and Blúirín Gaelige - an Irish language book promotion to celebrate Seachtain na Gaeilge.

Book promotions for children such as Picture This, a picture book selection, have proved particularly useful for adults as aids to choosing suitable reading material for their children.

Teenagers have also been well provided for, with their own book promotion, divided into three main subject headings, namely Books With Attitudes, Thrillers and Spinechillers and Kiss and Tell.

There are currently 12 book promotions doing the rounds throughout the Clare County Library branch network. Readers of all ages should find something of interest in the book promotion on display in their local library.

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