Take Time to READ in Washington
A promotion for King County (Wash.) Library System's Take Time to READ campaign, displayed at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
By the time ALA Midwinter attendees fly into Seattle’s airport, the bookshelves will be put away for the year. But King County (Wash.) Public Libraries’ Take Time to READ program, which included books and four comfy reading chairs in the Sea-Tac airport through September, continues.
In communities around Puget Sound, giant book covers that look like framed art offer a phone number for a recorded book review of the featured cover. Fourteen cities each hosted up to 15 “book cover art” displays and the promotion helped drive readers to the libraries and their collections.
In a transit campaign, 240 busses featured ads with lines like “Coffee Break? Take Time to READ.”
The program, launched in October 2010, expanded in 2012, and is expected to grow again in 2013. It won a John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award this year and recognition from the Urban Libraries Council. The idea behind Take Time to READ was to expand beyond the one book, one community model, and to encourage the local Seattle suburban community to read. Julie Brand, community relations and marketing director for KCLS, says that they discovered through focus groups that if people were encouraged to find time or found reading material in unexpected places, they’d read more. So the library system set out to help them, with assistance from the KCLS Foundation.
In addition to the airport, ads, and city book review art/tours, KCLS offered quick-read shelves in a variety of locations, including YMCAs, tire stores, and the department of motor vehicles. In short, places where people might have to wait. There were 25 locations this year, and more places wanted shelves than were available.
“Our staff has gotten really excited,” said Brand. “Staff interfaced more in the communities as they came to restock shelves. It’s been an opportunity to get out there in a different way. And some have done book talks in transit.”
If you fly back to Seattle in summer 2013, you’ll find quick-read shelves in up to five concourses, up from one this year. Grab a book, and Take Time to READ.