With the onset of spring, it is time to store the winter gear, enjoy the outdoors, and read a good poem (or book) under an obliging tree. April is designated National Poetry Month; a time to celebrate “the art of poetry.”
How can libraries create more interest in this art form? Besides a poetry reading or book display, a poetry contest might be in order. In Ventura CA, the E.P. Foster Library is holding a haiku contest in honor of National Haiku Day (April 17th). Alternative contests could feature limericks or sonnets. This type of event provides new experiences for adult patrons, or assists high school students with their literature classes. In Illinois, the Deerfield Public Library sponsored an event called “Poems While You Wait.” Poets wrote themed poems by request from patrons on “vintage typewriters.” This event engaged patrons through poetry and provided a history lesson on utilizing a typewriter in the writing process, an act unfamiliar to today’s digital natives. Want to increase the visibility of your library’s website? The Denver Public Library hosts a “Poem of the Day” audio clip on their website throughout the month. Poetry book recommendations for various ages are also posted on the site. All of these happenings are viable ways to attract patrons to the library.
Celebrating poetry is a unique method for libraries to encourage creativity and support the arts. Poets.org is a useful website to brainstorm programming ideas for your library. There is even a mobile version of the site. For serious tech users, poetry apps are also available. Poetry, by the Poetry Foundation, allows you to search for poems based on your mood. To experiment with writing your own poetry, try Poetry Creator by Tiny Mobile. Its amusing format resembles the popular poetry magnets. Both apps are free, with some in-app purchases available. These apps are great tools for participation in Poem in Your Pocket Day (April 18th).
There are many creative options for libraries to re-energize their poetry collections. What has your library done to celebrate poetry month?
For further reading: “Tips for Librarians” http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/102
 Laurie D. Borman, “Poems While You Wait at Deerfield (Ill.) Public Library,” AL Inside Scoop, April 8,2013, accessed April 10, 2013, http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/inside-scoop/poems-while-you-wait-deerfield-ill-public-library .
 “Book Genre: Poetry,” Denver Public Library, accessed April 11, 2013, http://denverlibrary.org/review/genre-search?tid=2564&tid_1=All&tid_2=All
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