Celebrating National Library Week as a Special Library

When it was decided that celebrating National Library Week would be a priority for our library, I went where every librarian goes looking for programming ideas: the internet (read: Pinterest). I tried all the official and unofficial sources out there but didn’t find much that would work for our situation. We are a subscription library serving attorneys and county officials in Hamilton County so the resources for public and even academic libraries really didn’t fit.

Knowing that we are by no means the only Special Library out there looking to recognize NLW, I decided to share the various activities I’ve tried along with an estimation of their success in the hopes that it might be helpful to someone else. As a county entity, budget constraints are ever-present, so these are all inexpensive or free.

Quickly, a little about us for perspective. We are a county law library located on the top floor of the Hamilton County Courthouse (a building that requires you to go through security to enter). We are very difficult to find by the general public, so we mostly see attorneys and county officials (judges, bailiffs, clerks, etc.) though every now and again a member of the public will wander in. Daily foot traffic is usually somewhere between 50-100 people. We have social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram.

Previous activities:

Thank a Library Worker – participants filled out a slip thanking a library worker and were entered for a chance to win a jump drive.
Number of participants: 2
This was not a successful event, mainly I think because our patrons are usually in a rush.


Ice Cream Social – we had some leftover supplies from an event so we bought ice cream and invited everyone to come enjoy some
Number of participants: 15
I did not consider this overly successful either (our Holiday Open House event usually draws about 70 people). I usually stand by the rule “if you feed them, they will come” but was proven wrong here. Unfortunately, it snowed the day of the event and our regulars just weren’t really that interested.


SuPeep Court Diorama – I made a diorama of the Supreme Court out of Peeps. It was adorable. And then I did this.
I considered this very successful. It was photographed, tweeted, shared on Facebook and Instagram and just generally laughed at by every person who came into the library during the 2 weeks it was up. It was very popular and raised our profile online and got people talking.


Popcorn – This is one we’ve done over and over because it is so popular. One of our employees has a popcorn machine that she brings in. We make little sleeves for the popcorn out of paper and then give out popcorn to subscribers and the public.
Number of sleeves consumed last year: 50


Library Putt-Putt – I designed a putt-putt course from discarded law books
This idea was nixed days before implementation due to safety concerns from the County (it’s a long story). I honestly have no idea if anyone would have participated anyway.


Social Media Campaign – I designed a “Why, Because” campaign for Twitter using Canva (highly recommend). The slides said things like “Why use the Law Library? Because knowledge enhances access to justice” “…Because equal access to justice is a right for all citizens” and “…Because there are over 1 million web results when you search for child custody in Ohio”

This was very well received on Twitter and Facebook and shared widely. I was very pleased with the outcome of this campaign, shared with all the NLW hashtags, and will be repeating a similar campaign, with different slogans, this year.


This years’ plan:

Daily treats – library staff have volunteered to bring in store-bought or home-made treats to be placed in our subscriber lounge each day of National Library Week. I made a little sign that said “Enjoy these treats on us! We love our subscribers!” with the NLW banner.

Vendor Visit – One of our goals this year is to increase our ebook circulation. Our ebook vendor contacted us and offered to set up a table in the Law Library with give-aways for NLW. Library staff will also provide donuts for the subscribers who stop by to chat with the vendor.

Folded book art – Hoping to repeat the success of last years’ SuPeep Court, this year I did some folded book art with discarded books. It was time consuming, though not overly difficult. These will be displayed in the library and shared on social media. I used this and this as my tutorials.


Feel free to contact us for more information about any of these activities or for any of the templates I've used.