​Spin Up Some Excitement with a Spinning Wheel

By Rebecca Quick, Book Fair Chairperson at Geyserville New Tech Academy in Geyserville, CA
I am a new librarian this year. So this was my first book fair.
I had been eyeing a spinning wheel that I’d seen for years. I saw it at different events (like our annual Fall Colors Festival used as a fundraiser) as well as a classroom task wheel. So I borrowed it and decided to use it to help draw in shoppers and encourage them to support our school.
I used it during our grand event and everyone wanted to come spin the wheel. The cost was $2 for one spin or three spins for $5. We used some fair product and our school's logo product as prizes.
The big prize most were hoping for was the one-time offer of $20 to be spent that night on books from the fair. On wheel spaces where there was not an instant prize, they could land on "chance" which entered them into a drawing for a journal. I picked the journal because most of our students ooh’d and aah’d over the journals.
The person who won the $20 in book money was actually the parent of a 6th grader. It felt great because they had purchased a couple of books as a surprise for their daughter, but had to decide between a few and put one back. When she won, she was able to select the book she had had to put back. We all cheered and clapped and it felt great to support reading. She was thrilled.
New this year, we gave our students a say in which books we order. So the money we collected for "All for Books" was used to purchase students' wish list books for our library. Thanks to this, the number of students who patronize our library and check out books increased by 900%.
I only used the spinning wheel during our grand event night, so next time I would do it for the entire week.
Besides our wheel, I had placed each teacher's name on a bucket and invited them to "shop" at a preview event. I then recorded the names and authors of the books chosen on Scholastic's "teacher wish list" sheet and placed it in their bucket. Each book had a wish list donation slip placed in it.
As books were donated, I had a student highlight the list to check it off. Many parents and community members wanted to buy for our teachers. Our book donations to our teachers' wish lists went well. The teachers who participated were very happy, and the students who maybe couldn't afford to purchase their own copy were happy that their classroom would have it.
We were looking for another way to increase attendance, so I printed out a Golden Ticket and filled out one for every single student in the school. One name was drawn during our Award assembly (same night as the grand event) and the condition was they had to be there and choose $20 in books by a certain time.
Our middle school/ high school has less than 150 students total, and we had about 30 student volunteers during book week. I hung up huge sign-up sheets with a title and description of jobs in our common area. For example, Decorators, Promoters/Activity Creators, Set up, Exhibit/Book Fair Night helpers (our grand event when students, staff, and families attended), and Pack up/clean up were all filled.
Students helped run an awesome book fair event. They bought books and it renewed interest in our existing library collection. Teachers and staff were able to add to their classroom libraries.
The best advice that I could give to other Book Fair organizers is to include students and let their creativity fly. The more they are invested, the greater success you will have. Our Scholastic Book Fair was a success!