Teachers, students, and parents love the book fair. It's exciting, it's fun, it's new stuff. But for librarians responsible for running it, it is not always a fun experience. There is no "Book Fair Class" in library school, and new librarians do not get any special book fair training. Setting up, running, and taking down book fair takes tons of time and energy, and none of our other daily responsibilities go away during book fair. While book fairs are fun for the school, they are often exhausting and stressful for the librarian.
For years, I dreaded my book fairs. I would worry over them for days before, and I was constantly exhausted during the fairs. After doing 17 book fairs over the past eight years, I have a few tips to help calm your heart rate during your school's book fair.
I have only used Scholastic for my book fairs, so these tips definitely work for Scholastic. I bet they would work with other book fair companies as well.
Where applicable, I give specific suggestions for elementary librarians on the Art-Music-PE rotations. For these librarians, you have my utmost sympathies. I only worked one year "on the rotation" and changed schools because of it. That said, I did not use the modifications I suggest for more than that one year. If you are on-rotation and have better ideas, please, please share them.
Clicking each tip will give more details:
1. Request early fair delivery to add more time to your fair.
2. Abolish preview day!
3. Set clear guidelines for teachers wanting to send individual students to the book fair.
4. Watch your book fair video and give students a chance to watch it.
5. Stop Sweating the Small Stuff
6. Know the location of every item in your book fair flyer.