Bullying is a huge topic currently. The uptick in articles in newspapers, online parenting blogs and other internet places on the subject tells the tale of the growing public concern over this complex problem. Practically all publishing houses have at least one, and typically more books on their new lists that deal with bullying. According to a recent article in The New York Times, publishers are flooding the market with these types of books. Some publishers are taking it as step further by joining anti-bullying campaigns or starting ones of their own. Of course this makes a certain amount of business sense for them, since there is a growing market for these books, but I like to think that it goes beyond the desire to sell a product.
We at the library are also “selling” a product and there’s nothing wrong with that. We are selling the product of information and we need to understand what information our patrons want and need. That is our raison d’etre. This year, as in years past, I put up a book display with materials about bullying. Unlike those displays in the past, I collaborated with our Adult Patron Services department. We set up the display next to their department which happens to be the first department patrons walk through on their way to visit the Children and Youth Services department. We included both fiction and nonfiction books both for children and adults. The bright colors of the books meant for children caught the eyes of the adults, who picked up the books and showed them to their children. Books flew off this display which I kept checking and refilling. In addition to books, I set out a coordinating sign (the “What, more?” sign) which promoted our ebooks and databases.
Besides being a successful display that promoted our information resources, it was successful on a personal level for me because I know that it helped people. How do I know this? When I was setting out more books, an adult patron told me, “Thank-you for doing this. My child read a few of these books and felt better.” Hearing that made me feel better too!