Finally an event that combines my two passions: literacy and running!
This past weekend I had the pleasure of participating with a fellow librarian and McGill SIS alumni in the Legs for Literacy 10km run. Legs for Literacy is a weekend of road racing in Moncton, New Brunswick raises money and awareness for local school literacy programs. The distances include a 5km, a 10km, a half-marathon, and a full marathon. This year 1,730 participants were registered for the event and more than $40,000 was raised for literacy programs!
Participating in this event got me thinking that a road race would be an excellent idea for libraries looking for creative fundraising projects. Runners love participating in races and are willing to pay on average $40-$100 depending on the distance and the reputation of the race. I have spent tons of money over the years registering myself in races that did not benefit any particular cause. It is however much more motivating when you know your registration money is going to a worthy cause.
There would be of course the basic costs of organizing a road race to cover. However considering the possibilities for sponsorships and the tendency for race organizers to rely on volunteers, this type of event has great potential to raise money for the library (collections, programs, renovations, etc).
A running event would also be a great way for a library to reach out to the community and people who might not otherwise donate to the library. In addition to the regular race distances, Legs for Literacy also offered a shorter race which is a great idea for libraries searching to create partnerships with schools as well as family health and wellness initiatives. The race also brought business to the downtown core as runners from outside of Moncton stayed in hotels and ate in restaurants.
This is not a new or groundbreaking idea. There are libraries that have already organized such races. In fact, this year marked Magnolia Library’s 34th annual road race. I am planning to contact librarians from Magnolia to find out more about their event, since I am also curious as to why we do not see more events like this. Considering how passionate I am about running and libraries, I am definitely going to start brainstorming of the possibilities as a fundraiser for my public library for next spring/summer. I’ll keep you posted!
Two librarians running for literacy
Every day at my library tons of situations arise that I believe merit interesting discourse in the biblioblogosphere. Unfortunately tonight is not the night that I’ll be writing about all of those situations. Tonight I’m writing to shamelessly plug a picture of mine that I’ve entered in a contest to win books from Harper Collins. The premise of the contest is to get “busted” reading one of Harper Collins’ latest hot titles. In my picture I’m reading Alice Kuiper’s YA book The Worst Thing She Ever Did while riding my bike and I gave it the caption “I just can’t put down Alice Kuiper’s book”. It’s corny but the person whose pictures get the most “likes” on the Wordfest 2010 Facebook page wins the free books from Harper Collins. Considering that my library’s collection budget is reliant on fund-raising, I am hoping that I can win these books to add them to my library’s collection. Please visit the Wordfest 2010 Facebook page and vote for my picture; I’m pretty sure that you need to be signed into your Facebook account.
Thanks and happy reading!
For three years during my undergrad, my homework every day was to read amazing literature. I got my degree in French and Quebec Literature at Université Laval and I would easily read over 20 books in one semester as part of my required reading. I never once complained about all the books I had to read (although admittedly I did complain about the essays I had to write following my readings). Now that I am a librarian one might assume that I get to read all day. However as other librarians know this is unfortunately completely untrue. In fact it is extremely difficult to be a librarian when you are a huge fan of reading because every day you are surrounded by amazing books that are crying out to be read but you must concentrate on responsibilities such as serving users, organizing events, and promoting the library. Who has time to read?
The past few weeks, I have made more of a point to spend my free time reading certain books. I am running two Hackmatack books clubs for preteens (one in English and one in French). Obviously as the leader of the book club, I need to have read the books that we’ll be discussing. Also last week I attended the award ceremony for the Prix Littéraire Antoinine-Maillet Acadie-Vie, a literary award that recognizes outstanding literature by Acadian authors. I felt obligated to read the shortlisted nominated titles especially since I knew that I would be meeting the authors at the cocktail reception and I wanted to be able to say that I’d read their books. I was extremely pleased that Mme Françoise Enguehard won for her novel L’archipel du docteur Thomas. I found this novel to be beautifully written and I wholeheartedly agreed that it deserved to win the award! Of course not all of my reading has been work related. One of my guilty pleasures was that I “had” to read Mini-Shopaholic, the new Sophie Kinsella novel as soon as my order arrived before shipping it off to the Regional Office to be catalogued. Luckily Sophie Kinsella is pure brain candy and I was able to finish it within a few days.
Often I have heard library school students and librarians lament about their lack of time to actually sit down and read. One of the best ways to keep reading is to join or run your own book club or have a reading buddy with whom you can share what you are reading. Despite our mountain of other responsibilities, I believe that reading a lot contributes to becoming a better librarian. The more books you have read the better you will be at readers’ advisory, an essential library service. Also, it helps to keep one grounded in what many people believe is one of the cornerstone responsibilities of libraries: the proliferation of a passion for reading.
My public library system is largely dependent on the sharing of library materials through Canada Post. Our individual collection budgets are extremely small and it is thanks to Canada’s Library Book Rate that we can easily transfer materials from one library to another at the request of patrons. There is absolutely no way that our system could afford the amount of mail that we send if it were not for the Library Book Rate. Due to its importance, in the spring my Library Board members conducted a letter writing campaign to raise awareness of the fragility of this program and requested that individuals, community organizations and businesses write to the federal government to show their support for the continuation of the government subsidies provided through this program.
So, it has been with great interest that I have been following the developments in Canadian government for a commitment to the continuation of the Library Book rate program. I am therefore extremely thrilled to see that the federal government has announced its support of Bill C-509 in which the Library Book Rate will be integrated into the Canada Post’s Corporation Act as well as expand the current program to cover audio-visual material (not currently covered by the book rate program).
I encourage you to watch the video of the press conference below. I am especially impressed by the importance that the politicians give to the CLA. It makes me very proud to be a CLA member when I see the influence that their lobbying ! Go CLA and go Library Book Rate!