How to run an office shelfie competition

The Scottish Book Trust shelfie wall of judgement
Category: Reading

I'm fortunate to work in an office where fun is pretty high up on the list of priorities. If you fancy doing something a bit silly and distracting, you are more than welcome. When I spotted on Twitter that a brilliant school librarian was running a shelfie competition for staff and pupils I knew I had to steal the idea. Knowing that Scottish Book Trust staff would have excellent bookshelves at home, I thought it would be interesting to see if we could identify which shelf went with which co-worker. Here's how to run a competition of your own:


1. Tell people you plan to run a shelfie competition and when. Give people at least a week to send you their shelfies. Remember to remind them shortly before the submission deadline. It helps if shelfies are high res, allowing you to see some book titles and objects which may act as clues. I was very keen that people didn't contrive their shelf, though, and gave an accurate representation. Looking at the range of images which came in, I'm fairly sure they all stuck to that suggestion!

2. Write a clear set of rules and stick these up along with all the shelfies on the wall of a communal space. I used our kitchen - the focal point for all tea-making chatter and distraction. Don't forget to set a deadline for entries! And equally important: stick up an envelope or box for posting entries in.

3. Remind people of the approaching entry deadline. Never under-estimate the number of reminders people might need to do something, even when it's something fun that they want to do!

4. Gather in all your submitted entries, mark them and work out some other fun statistics. I looked at whose shelfie was guessed correctly most often; who seemed to know their team members the best and I had a special categoery of 'favourite shelfie'.

5. Give out prizes and circulate the answers. I wrote the names of the shelfie owners on the wall above the pictures but also created a PowerPoint presentation which was emailed round to all staff.


Here are some of our shelfies:



Got some bookshelves you're particularly proud of? Upload your shelfie in the comments below!

Heather Collins

Heather Collins is the Schools Outreach Coordinator at Scottish Book Trust.

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