Author visits have long been a tradition in schools. Librarians and teachers are excellent at connecting state standards in the areas of English Language Arts and Reading with these visits. Author visits can tie into curriculum, support social emotional learning, and even just simply inspire your students. I remember when I first started working in a library I dreamed of having some highly recognized authors visit my tiny little elementary school. Once I saw their prices, that dream quickly faded. But, there are things you can do to help defray the costs. Here are just a few ideas.
Sometimes a single district bands together and schedules multiple connected days for an author visit. This allows them to split fund the transportation and housing fees for any authors who will be traveling from a distance.
Sometimes multiple districts band together and schedule multiple connected days for an author visit. This allows them to split fund the transportation and housing fees for any authors who will be traveling from a distance.
Contacting your local public library or book stores to see if you can piggyback on any events they will be hosting this year. It's possible they are hosting an event with an author that your students can attend. Or it's possible you can add an extra day to the author's visit to come to your school/district. These visits may be at a free or reduced cost because the public library or book store is paying the base cost for the visit.
If you have a good relationship with a publisher or book distributor see if they are willing to help host an author visit for your area. They might be able to add this kind of event to an author's book tour where they are sharing about their latest book(s). And a distributor might use it as a way to reach a larger audience of people.
Team up and write grants! You might have some local education funds you can apply for and local stores like Target, Walmart, Dollar General, and Kohl's typically have funds you can apply for. Perma Bound hosts a popular grant search tool that you can use for free. I can't believe I used to pay for this grant search service!
There's always good old fashioned fundraising. Consider using your book fair profits or PTA fundraisers to help pay for an author visit that all students will benefit from.
Don't forget about Title 1 funds your district may receive. Check with the central office person who oversees this funding source to see if there is a way to connect to their funding source.
Don't let the pandemic stop you from bringing authors to your school, either in person or virtually. There are many authors doing wonderful things online for students right now. Virtual visits can be just as significant in the lives of your students. Use your social media PLN to find authors who are willing to meet via Skype Google Meet, Facebook Live or any other popular platforms that's out there. Look for your favorite authors on social media and see what they are doing with others schools across the world. It might just make you brave enough to reach out to them!
We'll explore more author visit advice in the coming weeks, including funding and local authors!
Did you meet K.C. Boyd this week? If not, please make the time to listen to this librarian influencer. She has a large presence in the school library across America and beyond.
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