They waited for hours, in a line that went around three sides of the library building. Parents were patient and kids were amazingly well-behaved. They were waiting to meet author Jan Brett and get her to sign a book.
For our library, it was a great low-cost program and collaboration with our local independent bookseller, Conkey's Bookstore. It was Conkey's, with their publisher contacts, that plugged us in to Jan's new book tour, promoting The Three Snow Bears. Jan's bus was parked for the afternoon in the library parking lot, so we had the out-of-pocket cost for a few meters. Jan, her husband and her (publisher's) staff did a lot of the work, as did the folks from Conkey's. We gave out about 200 tickets for book signings, and over 400 children and parents went through the library meeting room before the day ended. Conkey's wound up selling a lot of books in our meeting room (a worthwhile exception to the commercial use of the meeting room policy).
In late afternoon, Jan came into the library, was introduced to a receptive audience, presented a donation of several books to staff, gave a talk and drew a picture. Children, parents and librarians alike were captivated, but the best was yet to come. Following her talk, Jan signed books -- and it was a good thing that we had given out tickets so that she was not mobbed.
She was there for hours, much longer than she had agreed on or planned. Yet every child that approached her got the benefit of a big smile, a short talk and Jan's full attention. It was very fine to see a big name writer take as much time as needed to make every child feel special.
It was long hours for our hard-working children's staff, who assisted at every step and worked to keep kids entertained with stories and songs through the long wait, but I hope we see Jan on her next tour!
(Photos by Michael Kenney)