Creating the right image for the reader

17th March 1995 at 00:00
Making quality happen:a practical guide to promoting your library, Edited by Gayner Eyre. Library Association Youth Libraries Group Pounds 8.99 0 946581 17 7

Promoting libraries and reading does not require a large budget or a range of high profile activities. This booklet emphasises the value of day-to-day promotion. Talking to user groups, holding a class visit or keeping the head teacher up to date with professional reading can promote your library and its services just as effectively as organising an author visit or running a book fair. It's all a matter of targeting your audience.

Aimed at librarians working with young people in school and public libraries, this book contains practical ideas for promotional activities large and small. Case studies from libraries and library suppliers show how to make storytelling come alive, how to get the best out of sponsorship and author promotions and how to run a class visit, while extracts from Birmingham public libraries "Image book" offer practical tips on planning, funding, running and evaluating promotional activities.

The book is most valuable when it is most practical. For anyone faced with promoting books, reading and libraries for the first time it contains lots of useful advice firmly grounded in experience. It is least interesting when establishing a rationale for promotion, labouring the obvious at considerable length.

It has other defects: sloppy proof-reading, low production values and poor visual impact. Considering its subject, the book sadly fails to promote itself with an eye-catching cover. More attention to design and layout would have broken up the solid slabs of text, while firmer editing could certainly have shortened and improved the early chapters. Nevertheless, it contains good things, not least some useful pointers to further reading.

Skip the theory and concentrate on the practical advice: I think you'll find it's worth the Pounds 8.99.

Pearl Valentine is Assistant Director Education, Special Users and Training, Norfolk Library and Information Service.

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