A well-organized school book fair is not only a great way for schools to raise money, but also a wonderful way to get parents and kids interested in reading.
Planning a Book Fair
Book fairs are typically hosted by a group or person that is connected to the school. They might be run by a parent teacher organization, community committee or school librarians. Many schools host a book fair at least once, if not two to three times, throughout the year. The book fair is a highly anticipated event for parents, children and school officials. Create a successful event with just a little planning.
Book Fair Companies
The first consideration for most book fair planning committees is to choose a book fair company. While Scholastic Book Fairs are probably the most recognizable, many other companies sponsor fairs, too. Additional companies might include:
Before committing to a particular book fair company, find out the answers to these questions:
- What books does the book fair carry? The fair should have a mix of famous kids' books, including contemporary books and classic award winning literature.
- Does the fair include "extras" for parents and children to purchase? Some book fairs include posters, pencils, or even toys. Not every school wants to promote these items, so find out if you can opt out of offering these extras.
- How does the rewards program break down? Find out whether you can get rewards in cash, free books or a mix. The rewards vary from program to program, so compare them carefully.
- What is the customer service for the book fair? Some book fair companies provide a representative to the schools, while others communicate via email. Learn what the policy is for ordering out-of-stock books, returns, credit card sales and returning the fair materials and unsold books.
Each book fair company will also have a different amount of time for the school to have the book fair. Some fairs are as short as three days, while others are as long as ten days. Choose a timeframe that works with volunteer schedules.
Promoting the Book Fair
Most school book fairs send promotional materials several weeks before the scheduled event. Often, the materials have a catchy theme, such as Catch the Reading Bug. Promote the fair by doing the following:
- Include the book fair dates and information in the school newsletter.
- Send home informational material with children for parents.
- Send a press release to the local newspaper.
- Hang posters near school entrances.
- Take children to the fair the day before it is open for a "sneak peek" at what is available.
One of the best ways to make a fair successful is to have it open when parents, grandparents and other community members can visit the event. Try to have the fair open during parent-teacher conferences, before or after ball games, a weeknight evening or a few hours during the weekend.
Reasons to Visit School Book Fairs
School book fairs offer several advantages over visiting a bookstore. First, parents and children are supporting their local school district by purchasing books. Secondly, the books are often organized by grade or reading level, making it easy to find books for every reading level of child.
Books are typically affordable, with a mix of soft and hard cover books, bargain books and special edition prints or sets, making it perfect for every price range. Book fairs are easily accessible to everyone in the community, especially rural areas where people may not have ready access to bookstores. The narrower selection of books available at a book fair versus a bookstore also makes it a good place to find the perfect book without wading through the massive children's section at a bookstore.