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Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

MakerSpace: Outreach Activity – Book Face

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I can obviously not begin to take credit for the fabulous idea of Book Face as it is undoubtedly something that you have seen all over the Internet. What I want to share with you, however, is how we did our Book Face and why we chose to do it in the way that we did.

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In case you don’t know, Book Face involves taking a book with a partial face on the cover and holding it over your own face to complete the picture. It’s a pretty cool way to promote books and create fun art.

The Why

On the First Friday of every month the town where my library resides hosts a downtown event where local businesses promote their offerings to the community. It’s a type of music and arts festival with live music and food trucks. We do a monthly hands on activity to promote the Teen MakerSpace that has included things like making buttons and photo booths. They have almost exclusively focused on promoting the Teen MakerSpace and I wanted to do something hands on while also promoting books and reading. So we decided to use our mobile photo booth to do Book Face. My main goal for this activity was to do something hands on and fun to promote the Teen MakerSpace while also reminding the teens that we interacted with that we were a library and have great YA literature.

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The How

We already have a mobile photo booth, which you can read about here. So instead of taking regular photo booth props, we scoured the shelves for books with a part of a face on the cover. The books would be our props and we would be promoting books. It’s a win-win situation.

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What we took:

  • The mobile photo booth
  • 16 books with partial faces
  • A smart phone with an additional charger to take and post photos to our TMS Instagram account
  • A hand out explaining book face and a bibliography
  • The other regular stuff: table, table runner, chairs, etc.

The handout that we took had instructions for Book Face on one side, including the hashtag where they could find their photo on our TMS Instagram account and a reminder that they could come into the TMS and we would help them print off their photo to make it into a button or some other ways they could enhance their photo. The back side of the handout includes a bibliography of the books we had on hand.

BookFace Handout

Final Thoughts

This activity did achieve what we wanted it to. People browsed through the books and highlighted some titles. A couple of people asked if we were giving away the books for free, so we had to be vigilant around the table of books to make sure they stayed. One parent complained that the books were inappropriate for teens to even be looking at. But overall, the outreach activity was a success and helped us achieve our goals. We promoted the TMS AND talked with teens about books.

What I would do differently?

Although I would call the outreach activity a success, there are a few things that I would do differently.

One, I would have example pictures on display somewhere. It was kind of a hard concept to explain and although a lot of people found it fun and interesting, we had a lot less buy in then we did with photo booth props. I think display photos and buttons would have helped a lot.

Two, better signage. Bigger and better. Especially near the books.

Three, we just needed more books. And I took exclusively teen books, but since this is an everyone event I would take some picture and adult books as well.

If you have a portable photo booth, I definitely recommend doing this as an outreach activity.

A Book Face photo gallery:

Please note, this is also our current teen book display which is why you will see various backgrounds. We also have taken some in front of our green screen in the TMS.

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