Saturday, October 12, started cold and rainy - and ended with hard bits of sleet hitting my windshield on the return trip, but the crowd at the the 2019 Twin Cities Book Festival managed to keep the unheated Minnesota State Fair's Progress Center warm all day long.
Minitex, ROI staffer Beth Staats - and jolly, fleece-layered volunteers, Nicole Masika, Alyssa Chermak, and myself - promoted Ebooks Minnesota alongside tables for CRPLSA’s MN Writes MN Reads, the Kerlan Collection, and Friends of the Libraries.
Minitex has been a part of the festival for three years. This year, I noticed the crowd diminished only slightly as it got closer to closing time. Attendees ventured all the way to the back of the building to our table - and each of our shifts throughout the day were filled with constant engagement and interest.
Bookmarks flew, as well as Ebooks MN-logo-bedecked balls of lip gloss and silicone phone wallets.
One thirteen-year-old reached over the table, taking one of every bookmark. His mother started scolding him - to which he replied, “I want them ALL!” I invited him to take as many bookmarks as he wanted (he planned to share them with his teacher).
This leads to another trend: Ebooks Minnesota displays initially attracted older people - book-club afficionados, librarians. Now I'm seeing (like we saw at last year's Minnesota State Fair) families with children stopping by - as well as grade school teachers looking for resources for their classrooms.
Many educators visited us as well - picking up on a wonderful, free resource for their classrooms (e-books that the entire class can read at the same time).
By the time the festival ended, we had given away most of the promotional materials we’d brought!
I expect to see an uptick in visits to Ebooks Minnesota’s website.