Phoenix Books in Essex Vermont has a wonderful lineup of events planned to celebrate Screen-Free Week. We asked the organizers to share their wisdom.

Why did Phoenix Books decide to coordinate events for Screen-Free Week?

It seemed like a natural choice for a book store! Screen-based media have so much potential – and we do sell Kobo eReaders and eBooks here at Phoenix – but screens can also be addictive, and we love the idea of this opportunity for families and individuals to take a break from screens and spend time face to face, outdoors, being active, and, of course, reading!

How did you decide on the program that you did?

Our goal was to have something happening at the store everyday during Screen-Free week.  We had a few ideas for upcoming events that worked really well for screen free week. In some ways, Screen-Free week was a catalyst to wrap up a few event ideas we had been working on.  Some of our events just fell in to place very naturally for this week. Family game night, a children’s art show, an in-store book-fair, AND hosting a 10th birthday party for a character from one of our best selling children’s titles.

How are you getting the word out to people in your area?

We’re sending out press releases and calendar submissions to local media outlets, putting up posters, setting up a display in our store, and handing out flyers to our customers.  We’re also including the events in our monthly newsletter and weekly upcoming events email and on our website, and we’re posting on Facebook and tweeting about them. (Yes, we’re aware of the irony!)

What do you hope that people in Essex in the surrounding area will gain from attending?

We hope they’ll be inspired to spend a little more time in experiential and face-to-face activities – and have a great time!

What advice do you have for other local businesses, book stores or others, that might be thinking of hosting a Screen-Free Week?

We’ll probably have more advice after Screen-Free Week takes place, but for now I guess I’d just say to have fun with it and make it your own.  There are so many great Screen-Free activities, and I can see completely different events taking place at bookstores vs. farms vs. schools vs. co-ops, and so on.  The organizer’s kit is a wonderful jumping-off point, and from there the possibilities are endless!

Phoenix Books is a locally-owned, independent pair of bookstores and a proud member of Local First Vermont and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility.  Our Essex location also houses a gallery and cafe. Colleen, the coordinator of Screen Free Week at Phoenix Books Essex and the store’s floor manager, started a career in bookselling when she was just 16 years old. Some of Colleen’s favorite genres include children’s books, memoirs, nature, and animals. Kristen, Phoenix Books’ events events and marketing manager, has worked and traveled in Ireland, Italy, Maine, and Philadelphia, and has since returned home to Vermont. She most often reads magical realism, young adult dystopia, and books on herbalism and sustainable living.