Events are a great way to raise Bookbug's profile in your area and raise awareness of the work you do. Events engage people with Bookbug, attract new audiences and help them to get the most out of their local programme. Families love them, the press enjoy writing about them; and they help to get people talking about Bookbug and so spread the word. Here are some of our tips for planning a great event.
Organising an Event
Themed Bookbug Sessions
You might want to hold a special session to tie in with a local or national event, time of the year or a special theme. We have produced some sample themed Bookbug Session templates, but you might find our themed book lists or our songs and rhymes selection helpful too. If there are any themes you’d like us to look at, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bookbug Week Events
Bookbug Week, our annual celebration of Bookbug held in May, is a great time to hold a special event or themed Bookbug Session and we can help! Additional free printed marketing materials are available through your local coordinator, but you can also find resources on our website in the months leading up to Bookbug Week, including themed templates for your Bookbug Sessions, book lists, and ideas for activities or events you could hold.
For Bookbug Week and Book Week Scotland events we also have a dedicated webpage that allows families to search for events near them, and we also produce events brochures for local areas. Let us know about your events in plenty of time and we can include them in our listings.
You could invite an early years author to come to your library or early years setting to deliver a session for young children and their families. Bookbug Week is a great time to do this. You could try applying for funding for this through Scottish Book Trust’s Live Literature Programme, which helps to bring Scottish authors from our database into local communities. Find out more about the Live Literature Programme here.
Promoting Your Event
- Where you display your posters is crucial - make sure you put them in places where your target audience are likely to go, i.e. doctors’ surgeries, supermarkets, shops or local play group notice boards.
- Add details to your own website, Facebook page or Twitter account. Find more ideas in our Bookbug PR and social media toolkit.
- Many towns, newspapers and councils are happy to advertise local events on their websites free of charge.
- Let us know and we can add your event to our website or promote it on social media. E-mail email@example.com with details of your events.
- If you are running a Bookbug Session, try making appointments to visit local playgroups, parents’ groups and nurseries to provide taster sessions to demonstrate what a Bookbug Session involves.
The most effective, and free, method of getting messages out to your target audience is telling the press about what you are doing, in the hope that they will publicise it to their readers, listeners or viewers. It may be a good idea to contact your local council's press department to see what help they can offer you and any protocols you will need to follow. If they are happy for you to produce and distribute the press release yourself, see below for hints and tips on writing a press release and on contacting journalists. Alternatively, please feel free to contact Miriam Morris (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will be happy to give you advice and contact details for your local press. For Bookbug Week, we produce a template press release that you can adapt which is available to download from our website.
Creating a Press Release:
- At the top of the email write PRESS RELEASE in block capitals, followed by FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE if this is the case or EMBARGOED UNTIL plus relevant date and time.
- Write a catchy headline to create interest without exclamation marks or exaggerations. Puns work well, e.g. Book in for a Great Author Event
- The first paragraph should be a short summary of the announcement.
The body of the press release should contain the following information:
Who, What, When, Where, Why?
- Give details of any well-known local names, dignitaries or celebrities who are involved in the story or support the project.
- You should include one or two quotes. Good spokespeople include the head of your organisation, someone from a partner organisation or local VIPs.
- Insert Notes to Editors at the end of the release – this is information about your area and about the Bookbug programme. (Notes to Editors text about the Bookbug programme is provided in Appendix 1 of PR and social media toolkit).
- Don’t forget to include clear contact details and a mobile number at the end of the release.
- Ensure that your press release clearly states whether photographers are welcome to attend.
- Make sure you include your organisation’s website (if applicable) in the body of the press release e.g. ‘For additional information, go to scottishbooktrust.com/bookbug’
Contacting the Press:
- It is best to paste the text of the press release into the body of the email rather than sending it as an attachment.
- Find out the publication day and print deadlines of your local paper and send them the release in plenty of time.
- If you would like a list of press contacts in your local area, please email email@example.com.
Social media is a hugely effective way to reach new audiences, engage further with your existing audience and networks and publicise all the great work you do.
Even a few updates can make a difference to your reach and help families and partners keep up to date with what’s happening with Bookbug in your area.
- If your organisation has a Facebook page, please let us know so we can make sure we’re connected with you, see and then share your updates.
- Please join Bookbug’s Facebook community by liking our page: facebook.com/BookbugSBT
- Please follow Bookbug on Twitter: @Bookbug_SBT
- Photos work really well to draw attention to your posts – for themed events try dressing the Bookbug doll in costume, or post some photos as teasers in the run up to an announcement or event.
Why it’s important that all Bookbug Sessions/Events are free
A recent poll from Play Talk Read (http://playtalkread.scot/30-things-results) showed that parents consistently voted Bookbug Sessions at their library as one of their favourite things to do.
Bookbug is, and always will be free for all families to attend. We sometimes get asked if Bookbug Sessions can be included as part of a day or activity session where families need to pay an entrance fee e.g. a family fun day where you have to pay to get in. We always say no, as even a small entrance fee means that some families will not be able to take part. Paying any amount, no matter how small, would go against our value of being a “universal” programme.
We know that budgets are not only tight for local authorities, but also for families too. At our recent conference we heard from Neil Mathers of Save the Children who revealed that 1 in 5 children in Scotland are living in poverty (http://scottishbooktrust.com/neil-mathers-how-poverty-threatens-childrens-rights).
Poverty not only impacts on children’s rights, but also damages their prospects for the future. Fortunately, reading stories and doing songs and rhymes can play a significant role in mitigating against the negative effects of growing up in poverty, and free local Bookbug Sessions in every local authority are a brilliant start.