Well, thankfully, that has now changed! School and public libraries across the world are now invited to participate in Star Wars Reads Day. The second annual event will take place on October 5, 2013 - great timing, because it coincides with Canadian Library Month.
So what exactly is Star Wars Reads Day? Simply put, it celebrates reading and Star Wars, particularly reading Star Wars - the novels, graphic novels, and books about the films. Watch a video that explains it perfectly.
This is a great example of way that a library can participate in what is often referred to as transliteracy. Transliteracy is defined as the "ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media, from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social net works" (www.transliteracy.com). However, that's a fairly technical way of saying that transliteracy is the ability to understand and communicate across a variety of tools and media (i.e books, audio-visual, and digital).
So how is that related to Star Wars Reads Day? Take the theme of Star Wars. Incorporate books, watch the films, maybe do some fan fiction writing, discuss the artwork, play Star Wars video games, watch YouTube videos (like this amazing one from Quirk Books) - and suddenly, the one theme (Star Wars) is now available in a wide variety of media. Some formats, i.e. books, will be more comfortable for patrons than others. Some formats, i.e. digital, will require the participant to have to learn new skills (like playing video games), therefore making them more transliterate.
Really, you could do this with any theme. And you probably have already, without even realizing it. Have you read Jane Austen books, then reviews or criticisms about them on the Internet, followed by watching the movies? That's transliteracy on a smaller scale.
Transliteracy aside, Star Wars Reads Day can be just plain fun and a great way to reach out into the community. Fans span across all age groups, and with the new movie (Star Wars: Episode VII) announced, it's likely going to see a surge in popularity yet again. Plus, it's early enough in advance to start some serious planning.
To help with the planning, you can visit the official site at http://starwars.com/reads and the official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/StarWarsReads. Ideas that you can do are constantly being posted on the Facebook page, and once it gets a bit closer to the date (two months before), the official site will offer a free downloadable activity kit with trivia, crafts and event suggestions.
Want to increase your Star Wars collection? Some suggested titles are available here, but there's plenty more out there. Including Wookiee Cookies: A Star Wars Cookbook... how fun would that be?