Norfolk's Great Big Read

07 December 2019

By Alison Thorne, Community Librarian

For the last two years the World Book Night recommended reads have been promoted across our 47 Norfolk libraries and 6 mobile libraries as part of our ‘Great Big Read’ campaign – an annual reading promotion for adults and young people. This year the Big Read ran from Monday 18 March and finished on World Book Night with 8 events on that day – including book groups, book chats, a book quiz and a yoga and wellbeing session highlighting mood-boosting books and the benefits of reading. Events were promoted via our What’s On pages, social media platforms and on the World Book Night website.

Our social media campaign across Twitter, Instagram and 43 Facebook pages highlighted the 23 book jackets and offered three ‘now read on’ suggestions for each title. We also used the Norfolk Borrowers’ Facebook group (a closed group of 250+readers) to encourage debates about the books and share reviews.

Library staff created attractive cube top displays of the 23 titles, and we created ‘headers’ using the World Book Night graphics. Promotional items were produced centrally and sent out to libraries with the books as a ‘shelf ready’ collection.

We topped up on every title so that there were a minimum of 30 copies of each non-fiction book, and up to 140 copies of fiction titles, and bought audio, large print and e-book and e-audio where possible. Titles were highlighted on a World Book Night-themed carousel on our online public catalogue. This year the books were borrowed a whopping 1,898 times during the 6 weeks! Not surprisingly our most borrowed book was the Norfolk-set Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths with 192 loans.

Using the World Book Night titles as the focus of our annual Big Read has been really successful. We make the most of nationwide publicity and are able to offer a fabulous range of writing that we know will appeal to a wide range of readers and potential readers. We are able to re-use the multiple copies we buy and promote them as part of our reading group offer, adding titles to a centrally held ‘Reading Group Collection’, that can be requested at short notice by our book clubs.

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