School Library Fundraisers

Mary Gormandy White
Contributor: Michele Meleen
People attending book fair

There are many ways to raise money for school libraries. Since other departments within your school will hold fundraisers throughout the year, select an event with a theme specific to books and reading so you can brand it as a signature library fundraiser to replicate annually.

Scholastic Book Fair

Scholastic Books has a formal fundraising program that can be a terrific choice for school library fundraisers. The company offers several book fair options, including events based on the ages and grade levels of the children who attend your school. Your library can earn up to 60 percent profit on books sold during the book fair, so this type of fundraising event raises a significant amount of money and provides a convenient opportunity for students to build their home book collections. If you decide to host a Scholastic event, you'll receive a tool kit filled with materials and information you can use to promote and manage the event.

Used Book Sale

For this type of fundraising event, begin by requesting donations of gently used books from parents, students, teachers, and other potential donors and supporters within your community to build an inventory. Pair the donated items you receive with books from the library that are no longer needed and offer them for sale at bargain prices.

  1. Pick a date for the sale and encourage students, their families, and faculty members to market the event for you via word of mouth or social media.
  2. Hold a preview event after school one day, then open the sale to the public for a few days to maximize sales.
  3. Advertise the open sale by distributing flyers throughout the community, posting the event on the school's website, and submitting press releases to the local media and online special event calendars.

Regional Author Showcase

Engage the local writing community in a vendor fair where each author donates a portion of their proceeds from the event rather than paying for a sales space. Find published authors of juvenile and adult books by checking with local arts organizations, writing groups, and public libraries to find authors from your area. Offer each author a free table space at your event where they can sell their own books, then ask that they provide an account of their event sales and give you five or ten percent of those sales before leaving the venue.

Read-a-Thon

Hosting a read-a-thon encourages pupils to read more books while also raising much-needed funds to purchase additional books and equipment for the facility or to defray the costs of programs you'd like to implement. A read-a-thon works the same way as the popular walk-a-thon events many charitable organizations sponsor on a regular basis.

  1. Recruit students to participate in the program by soliciting sponsors who donate a designated amount of money for each book the child reads during the event.
  2. Participants can keep track of the books they read during a specific timeframe on a simple form.
  3. To encourage maximum participation, offer prizes to participants based on the number of books they complete as well as the amount of money raised.

Literary Character Costume Photo Contest

Ask teachers, students, parents, and community members to submit photos of themselves dressed as their favorite character from a book. Hang the pictures in a hallway at school for one week. Provide a closed jar to coordinate with each photo and have participants vote on their favorite character by placing change in the appropriate jar. Offer a prize to the character with the most votes, then keep the rest of the change.

Magazine Fundraiser

If you're interested in hosting a magazine sale, register with ReadSave, efundraising, or another company that offers a magazine sale fundraising program.

  • Look for a company that provides you with access to sales support materials and flexible ordering and payment options.
  • Select a date range for your event and decide what types of prizes or other rewards you'll offer to participants with outstanding sales.
  • Recruit students and parents to participate by providing them with the training and materials needed to sell subscriptions to friends, neighbors, co-workers, and others.

Raising Money for Your Library

Regardless of the type of fundraiser you choose, don't forget the ultimate goal is to generate revenue to support the library. People in your community will be more inclined to participate and help if they know the money will be put to good use helping the local school and its students.

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School Library Fundraisers