Several months ago we wrote this blog post on how to host a Little Free Library Takeover.

Photo courtesy of James Street Library in Bellingham, WA.

Photo of a Library Takeover, courtesy of James Street Library in Bellingham, WA.

What is a Library Takeover? It’s when a particular Little Library removes all of its usual books and is stocked exclusively with either:

  1. Books from a specific publisher
  2. A specific genre of books. For example: banned books during Banned Books week.
  3. Many copies of one particular book

Library Takeovers are a fun and effective outreach strategy to keep your visitors intrigued and coming back to your Little Library.

Since we wrote the original post, several veteran LFL stewards have tried their hand at takeovers and reaching out to publishers to get them to donate books.

Many of them shared their experiences in the private Facebook group just for registered stewards.

By the way, if you’re a registered steward and you know your official charter number, please do join the Facebook group! There is a wealth of advice, good ideas and general book love going on there.

Here is what we have learned about how to find the right publisher and maximize your chances of actually getting them to give you books:

  • Start by following or “liking” publisher’s social media accounts. Give before you take. Show support for the publisher before you ask for their help. If they have online contests going on, participate. Follow their social media accounts. Comment on their photos. Give feedback; consistent participation won’t go unnoticed.
  • Familiarize yourself with what types of books a particular publisher sells. Try to pick one that makes sense for your Library and build a case for why a donation of books to your Library would be a smart promotion for them. Word-of-mouth marketing is the best kind; if you can demonstrate that the audience a publisher is trying to reach is the same audience using your Library, you’re off to a great start. For example, if your Library has a poetry theme and you live near a University with lots of scholarly poets, find a publisher who wants to promote poetry books.
  • Find the right person to contact via the publisher’s website. Don’t just send a generic email to every email address you find. Sometimes publishers have a specific email address where you can request advance copies or staff members in marketing/communications/donation requests will share their email addresses online. This list of media contacts for Penguin and this list of media contacts for Harper-Collins are good places to start.
  • Timing is everything. There are annual events in the publishing community like Book Expo America, Book Con and Banned Books Week when publishers are more likely to have advance copies, galleys or extra copies of books in general that they’re looking to give away. Many of these types of events take place between May and October, so that’s a good time to reach out!

A big thank you to Eowyn Savela and Viel Catig, savvy LFL stewards who have successfully run Library Takeovers and whose advice we have adapted into the tips above.

Ready for more? Click here to see a successful email template that will get publishers to send you books.

P.S. Want to connect with your fellow book lovers and LFL stewards, but you can’t join the Facebook group? Check out this Mightybell forum.


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