Tag Archives: summer reading programs

You are here: Self

Last week was our first teen Summer Reading Program. Teen programming always makes me nervous, because it is more unpredictable. I never have a good idea how many people will come, if what we planned will appeal to a wide range of people. During the school year, we get very low attendance at teen programs, but during the summer more kids show up. But how many?

Our first program focused on discovering self before we go out into the world to explore. I suppose it is a good place to start the program, but not our most popular one, which would have been nice to start on a high point.

We did some book talks, which I posted earlier. All of the books we talked up got checked out, which is always a good sign!

Our main activity was Yoga, and we were SO lucky to have one of our regulars, who has a teenaged daughter, teach the class. She teaches yoga locally, and she did the short program for us for FREE. It was AMAZING. She had a great connection with the kids, and the room was full of 35-40 teens, both boys and girls, relaxing and putting themselves into the exercise.

After that we did some Origami, and Zentangles. We had a number of boys who came just for these last two activities. It was a lot of fun and we had about 45 teens.

Summer Reading Incentives

Today we had one of my favorite Youth Services Trainings, the “Summer Reading is Almost here Bonanza” as I like to think of it. In reality, it is just a chance to make sure we are all on the same page as far as how the program will work, and to distribute the incentives. The teen program rules are the only ones that really change, but still there is always confusion and things to clarify.

For our Summer Reading Program (not club, though I fall back on SRC sometimes), children get a little prize each week when they do 3 hours or more of reading that week. They also get the chance to enter a raffle that week.

The tricky part is this: children can get prizes for previous weeks they’ve read if they didn’t make it into the branch that week, but only one raffle ticket, BUT they determine how many prizes/participants based on number of raffle tickets each week. So we have a family of 6 go out of town and get busy and miss 3-4 weeks of prizes, they come and get 18-24 prizes, and the main library counts 6 participants. While they are right, we get a lectures about giving out too many prizes, wasting prizes, and this year even stealing prizes. Also, we run out of prizes.

This year they bought more prizes, and I spent almost 4 hours trying to organize them. Since the children’s program is aimed for kids 3-11 years they try to get a variety of prize options. The downside is that handing out prizes becomes complicated and time consuming. Ponder this schedule:

Week One:
Choice of one of FOUR Safari coloring books or One of FOUR Activity pads AND one of FIVE Neon compass cords

Week Two:
Choice of one of SIX Jumbo skateboard or One of FIVE Neon hair braids AND one of a DOZEN completely different Backpack pulls (ranging from flashlights, purses, foam sports balls, bobble heads)

Week Three:
One of ten Gliders + One of maybe 50 different Rubber Ducks

Week Four:
One of TEN Puzzle games AND 3 puffy stickers from a huge assortment AND a Ring pop

Week Five:
One pretty cool Globe sharpener AND Sticky (I still have hundreds left from a summer at least three years ago, I can not give these away, plus people think they are food)

Week Six:
A choice of two pencil grips out of three different kinds (skateboarder, aliens, and jungle animals), each with five or six shapes.

Week Seven:
Wikki Stix

We also have a selection of six or seven choices for kids under 3 years old, inflatable mini beach balls, mini stuffed animals, starfish, animal squeakers, floating boats and planes.

There are some great prizes here, and I think kids will like them. But there are WAY too many choices and options, even non-picky kids will struggle to make a choice. My boss has suggested that I sort the prizes down to remove the options and just hand out one at a time. She has even offered me community service labor to go through all the prizes again and sort so that there isn’t so many options.

Summer Reading Program Plans

Summer is usually the busiest season for the public library, a fact that surprises no Youth Services librarian. This is my sixth Summer Reading season at a public library, though only my second in charge of the programing for the entire branch. Programming and planning these events are one of my favorite parts of my job, though I will freely admit that the summer is draining, and short staffing makes it difficult to find any down time.

Since I work in a branch that is part of a county library system, the theme is decided centrally, both the overall program theme and the bi-weekly programs. They even schedule programmers and send lesson plans, like with storytime. Around this time of year, I pull up the plans and start working out how we’ll take the plans and bring them to life. It starts with deciding the focus and brainstorming.

The overall theme is One World, Many Stories, and here are the weekly themes they have selected for the Children’s SRP, and what I have so far as for execution of the theme. Any ideas would be enthusiastically welcomed. Of course I’ll post further details of each program when we actually carry them out.

  • Week One: The Stories we Tell: Featuring a storyteller arranged by the youth services department, and crafts that might include making flannel boards and pieces to tell stories at home.
  • Week Two: Away We Go: Featuring geography games, map crafts, and some suitcase relays.  This is a work in progress.
  • Week Three: How We Live: Featuring my mother, who has been to almost 100 countries talking about markets, market places, and how food is prepared around the world. With pictures of her travels to all 7 continents. I’m still thinking of a craft to go with this, something food related, and we’re going to have an assortment of dried fruit for snack.
  • Week Four: Global Citizens: The availability of fresh drinking water is of great importance to kids all over the world, we’ll read some folk tales about water, learn about how some kids spend all day walking to get water, and about the importance of conserving water and accessing it. We’ll have water relay games, where kids have the chance to find out how hard it is to carry water, and work to move water over distances. I’m not sure what kind of craft to do, or if we need to do one.
  • Final Party: Guest Performer/Activity: I’m not firm on this one, but I think for the final party I’m going to try and book a performer to do an African Drum circle outside on the lawn. We’ll also have some crafts, and the handing out of the final prize for the summer reading program.