Now that the dust has settled on the second annual World Bookmark Day, I want to reflect on what I learned by organizing the celebration. Frankly, I was worried that this year’s Woboda would fall flat without Asim’s network of supporters, design skill and boundless enthusiasm. The preparations for 2017’s Woboda started almost a year in advance, and January 2018 was really the start for this year. I decided to scale back some of the activities out of necessity and lack of time. Asim, our founder, was able to offer prizes from his bookmark business for the contests such as an article or limerick, but we had nothing to offer this time so those events were eliminated. Would it be possible to generate interest in printable designs and the raffle, both of which were popular last year? I decided to ask two friends who are artists/illustrators with connections to books and reading, and was thrilled when they both agreed to contribute designs. That was the beginning, and then I realized there were other people in my network who might contribute. Sarah Bodman, organizer of the Bookmark Project at the University of the West of England, put me in touch with several artists who contributed designs, and Robin Blum, owner of In My Book, kindly donated some of her wonderful bookmark greeting cards. Our local Bookmark Bookstore not only donated bookmarks found in their donated books but also agreed to host a display. In the end, we had 705 bookmarks contributed or donated, 13 printable designs, and 9 entrants in the raffle. Smaller than last year but still quite respectable!
So what did I learn and what changes might happen for next year?
Planning: First and most obvious is to start planning much earlier, perhaps August or September. I don’t think it is necessary to plan the entire year, but certainly a few months’ notice to all participants makes sense to encourage participation.
Publicity: Besides the IFOB web site, we use other means to bring attention to the event.
Social media: At the suggestion of a member, I started a Facebook page for IFOB which did seem to bring in some additional interest and made it possible for people to keep up with progress on the raffle and comment. It wasn’t too much extra effort to keep up with this, so I will probably do it again. However, I am thinking of keeping the page just for Woboda and possibly starting a Facebook group for IFOB. More on that later, now that I better understand how to use pages vs. groups. Are there other social media platforms that are good for publicizing the event?
Graphics: Last year, Asim created some fun graphics that could be posted on other web sites or printed. Without access to design skills, we didn’t have that option this time, although Rosemarie Abel kindly helped update Wobo. I am still hoping someone will volunteer to create simple graphics for IFOB on occasion. Everything nowadays is so visual that we need to use eye catching designs whenever possible.
Donors/Sponsors: More time to cultivate donors of prizes, raffle contributions or sponsors who might provide funds would be valuable, and I would welcome any suggestions for who to contact.
Designers of printable bookmarks: While we had a couple of people repeat from last year, I anticipate that the same people will not participate every year. How could we identify others who would contribute designs? Do our members know other artists and designers they could ask? Another question is whether we should always put the current year on these bookmarks or create generic Woboda text that could be used every year?
Activities with prizes: If we are able to find donors or sponsors for prizes, should we reinstate the Woboda article and limerick contests? Anything else?
Wobo and Woboda bookmarks around the world: We had only a few people who shared photos of either Wobo, the traveling bookmark or Woboda designs in interesting places around the world. Is this activity worth continuing? Should we offer a prize for the best photo?
Local events: Some members indicated they would like to work with local libraries, bookstores or cafes next year for displays, giveaways or other events. Is there anything we could do to help with these? For example, I could post downloadable versions of the display materials I used.
Raffle: Most of the effort went toward coordinating this activity, which raises several questions.
Our goal in establishing World Bookmark Day was to bring attention to bookmarks as a useful, beautiful and interesting companion to books and reading. People are often surprised to hear about bookmark collectors, but when they stop and think, they realize it is not so unusual and can be quite interesting. From my perspective, we are making progress in realizing our goal as more people become informed and involved. It was really fun for me to interact with them, see the different bookmarks and designs, and get to know some of our members a little better. Most grateful thanks go to all who participated, donated, and contributed! I invite members and anyone to comment on this year’s celebration and ideas for making next year even better. --Laine, IFOB co-editor
by Keti Gabaitze
Keti is a 15 year old student and nascent artist from Georgia who loves to draw as a hobby and also likes to read books a lot. Recently, as she had to create a project at school she came up with the idea to connect her hobby with her reading passion and to produce illustrated bookmarks matching popular books. Let's hear what Keti has to tell about her project and it's outgrowths after she has finished it.
Mark the Book
What do you think about bookmarks? Personally for me and for the readers generally, bookmarks are important accessories. They are interesting, functional and beautiful. My hobbies are drawing and designing, therefore, I decided to make a project about bookmarks called “Mark the Book”. The aim of the project was to create bookmarks from different popular books among my generation such as: Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Great Gatsby, The Devil Wears Prada, The Mortal Instruments, Sherlock Holmes, The Little Prince, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Pride and Prejudice. The bookmarks were created with my own illustrations and on the back side they had quotes from these specific books.
After I had the bookmarks ready, it was time to show it to society and prove that even nowadays bookmarks can be fun, interesting, beautiful and trendy. At that stage, I came across the website of International Friends of Bookmarks (IFOB) and saw that some artists and several people had submitted free downloadable bookmarks to promote the very first World Bookmark Day (Woboda). It was easy for me to contribute some bookmarks for this event, I just had to replace the title of the book on the bottom of my bookmarks with the wording and date of Woboda.
Bookmarks I have submitted to IFOB for the promotion of the World Bookmark Day
Later, I decided to distribute some of my new bookmarks in the local city library, mostly to teenagers and younger generation people, because the books I created bookmarks about are popular among them. I also left some copies in a local bookshop, so people could buy them and I sold them at school as well. I got positive feedback, people liked bookmarks and they were sold really fast. With collected money at school, I bought some books and took part in a project in which the city library was collecting books and delivering them to small libraries within the country.
In conclusion, with this project I didn’t just create the bookmarks but I also took part in popularizing them among society, I showed them the importance and the role of bookmarks and that they have to pay attention to bookmarks, and I also helped society and delivered some books to the library.
We from International Friends of Bookmarks (IFOB) wish to congratulate Keti for her wonderful project and to thank Keti for her contribution to our project World Bookmark Day. Keti's project shows how bookmarks can be a employed in a creative way to spark enthusiasm and can be messengers of messages over the borders of countries.
19 March 2017 Asim Maner, webmaster
Dear friends of bookmarks, dear IFOB members!
First of all, thank you very much for your comments and emails about the idea of launching a World Bookmark Day. After due and long consideration of the pros and the cons stated in your comments, I came to the conclusion that we should attempt this adventure. I’ll explain the reasons why tackling it seems to be more reasonable for us than just forgetting it.
The main pro for the idea is that a WOBODA is not only consistent with our mission - that is increasing the public awareness of bookmarks - but it is also an excellent means to support this goal. Actually, there is no doubt that a WOBODA would be a wonderful and valuable concept for us, if it would not entail any substantial disadvantages. The cons in your comments concentrated on one major problem: Is a WOBODA not a too big project for our young and small community? Are we able to afford the necessary time and work for such an enterprise without neglecting our current operations? These are serious concerns expressed by several members, indicating that there is a potential risk in this subject, and I am thankful for this feedback.
On a closer look, it was obvious that the cons were associated in most cases with similar world commemorative days, particularly with The World Book Day (WBD). The WBD is indeed a huge project, designated by UNESCO and marked in over 100 countries all over the world. It goes without saying that we cannot handle such a giant project, not even approximately. Therefore, I can fully understand all the objections resulting from this scenario. With the distance of a few weeks, I was able to realise that on the other hand nobody forces us to start a gigantic project. We can start with a small project, small enough not to overstrain our resources.
A further question is if such a small project which we could afford momentarily will have any effect at all. I would say no, not immediately. But it can grow if we are patient. It will grow in step with us, and possibly with a little help from our friends, i.e. groups from outside which might fancy the project and support us. I don’t see any obstacles in starting the WOBODA as a small campaign, just as big as we are ready to invest in it. Of course, as with all new creations we bring into the world we cannot overlook the complete development of this child to the end. It will go its own way and possibly surprise us now and then. Let us get it going.
Let's say a few words about the abbreviation WOBODA which might sound unusual or even funny in your ears. The shortest word for the World Bookmark Day would be WBKD, however it is too similar to WBD with the risk of mixing them up. WBKMD looks a tiny bit more different, however, it is not a catchy one easy to memorise. After some discussion with my editor colleague Laine Farley, we agreed on WOBODA and hope you'll like it.
I have been thinking a while about an appropriate date for the WOBODA. It should be placed in a part of the year where people are not under stress like around Christmas in many countries, and also not on the move as they are in holiday seasons. This would allow everyone to concentrate better on reading and activities associated with the day. The period between the new year and the start of spring seems to be a quiet and suitable season, at least here in Europe where the days are still short and dark and bad weather is around the next corner: ideal conditions to deal with books and bookmarks. Consulting the List of Commemorative Days on Wikipedia showed that a few days in the last week of February were not occupied with other celebration events. Finally, the selection fell on the 25th of February, which is a Saturday in 2017, the date of the very first celebration of the WOBODA.
What do we need for the start? It is of course not enough just to declare a certain day to be World Bookmark Day, it must also be brought to the attention of other people to have an effect. The best way to do that is certainly, if people would talk about it. Sure, I can go and ask other websites and blogs to report about it; however, they are likely to do it if we also offer a nice story and pictures. Obviously, it is our task to create a story about the World Bookmark Day, and that story should better be a compelling one in order to motivate others to adopt and talk about it.
I had not to ponder long about a nice story to promote the WOBODA. We know since the appearance of the IFOB publication No. 1, that bookmarks are as old as the codex form of books we use today, around 2000 years. This new and astonishing fact which the IFOB has brought to light very recently is still unknown for the majority of the public. It should not be difficult to knit an interesting story around this information. The story could look like as follows:
25 February 2017 - WORLD BOOKMARK DAY (WOBODA)
We celebrate the readers' little helper and the ever faithful companion of the books for 2000 years
Bookmarks might have not received much attention yet. They even might have been ignored widely so far. But we believe that there is a different story in which this quiet companion will no longer wait passively to be noticed. The bookmarks will receive attention and approval they deserve with a little help from their friends. Friends who love to use bookmarks while reading, friends who love to collect bookmarks, illustrate and produce bookmarks, who write blogs, articles, and books on bookmarks, friends who take care of them in libraries and museums, and some other unknown friends. Join us in our activities if you think you are a friend of bookmarks. The WOBODA is an excellent occasion to help bookmarks get the recognition they deserve.
We will offer some activities for people to join us in association with the day and in the run-up phase. Do you have ideas about activities for the WOBODA? Please do write your comments, they are welcome!
Please check out also our new page WOBODA where all informations and activities associated with the World Bookmark Day can be seen.
Recently at the breakfast table, while reading the newspaper I came across a report telling about the proposal of a Swiss magazin to introduce a new “Grandparents Day”. Funny idea indeed, and we had a good discussion in the family. This brought me to the question: why not launch a bookmark day? Well, thinking about it I tried to imagine the reaction of somebody hearing the first time about a bookmark day. “What the hell! A bookmark day? Have the bookmarks got that much important that a day has to be devoted to them?” Yes, I would guess a majority of people would react in a similar way to this idea, and that reaction sounded rather discouraging in my ears. Thus I did not pursue the idea further.
Later on day a question popped up in my mind: “What the hell! Is that reaction bad at all?” At a closer look, I would say no, not at all. It shows only that somebody takes notice of a novelty. Don't we react in more or less the same way to most of the new things we encounter? Maybe it is exactly the reaction we would like to have: people taking notice of bookmarks. This is what brought me to write these lines and to confront you with the idea of a "World Bookmark Day”. What do you think about it? Is that a task for us, and is it worth to invest energy in such a project? Please write your comments, pro and contra, whatever you think, I’ll be happy to have your feedback. If somebody wishes to write more than a comment, you are welcome to write a blog post: please use the contact form on the right.
I could go on writing my further thoughts about such a project, however, I rather stop here and first read your comments in order to see what the general opinion is. Thank you for your comments.
Can the World Book Day be a model for us, or any other commemorative day?