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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Edible Book Festivals at Academic Libraries: Promoting

A guide to planning and hosting an edible book festival on your campus, drawing on the experiences of the University of Illinois Library.

The Secret Garden

By Samuel Price Hotchkiss, 2008

The Princess and the Pea

By Molly Dolan and Karen Wickett, 2010

Media contacts

If your library has a standard list of local media outlets for press releases, use it to get the word out.  If not, create your own list.  Be sure to include newspapers, radio stations, online community calanders, and local bloggers who cover cultural or culinary topics. 

Remember, you can't control the news media.  They may or may not think your event is newsworthy.  If you want to be absolutely certain that you have media exposure in advance of the event, consider paying for advertising.

ExampleNews coverage of the University of Illinois Edible Book Festival has varied from year to year, including radio and television interviews and feature articles in the News-Gazette (local newspaper) and the Daily Illini (student newspaper). 


Printed posters still command attention.  If your budget allows, create and post colorful advertisements for your event throughout the campus and community.  You can use the same design for table tents, small flyers, bookmarks, or other printed formats.



[Posters designed by Chris Johns]

Social networking

If your library uses Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking tools to communicate with users, by all means use them to promote your edible book event!  Post frequently leading up to the event, and afterwards, post information about where to view the photos. 

Examples:  The University of Illinois edible book team maintains a Facebook group.  The Illinois State University edible book event is documented in Flickr.

Library exhibit

If your library has bulletin boards or display cases in high-traffic areas, you can build some buzz ahead of the event by displaying photos of past entries.  2011 Edible Book Display

Example:  The University of Illinois' Main Library has two display cases in the lobby on the first floor.  About a month prior to the Edible Book Festival, the cases are filled with eye-catching objects related to food and cooking, information about festival partners, food-related books from the collection, etc.  Images of past entries are included, and viewers are invited to guess their titles; the answers are posted on the Edible Books website.

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Teaching, Learning, and Academic Support Library
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