Summer Reading Time

I see that Abby is collecting summer reading posts, so I thought I'd write up a quick explanation of how we do ours at my library. We actually kick-off on Monday, but we let people sign-up the week before so they're all set to go. I had my first SRP-stress nightmare last night so I know we are in the crunch zone.

Signup: Basically the kids/parents fill out an index card and get a log. I just use one from the CSLP manual (we count time spent reading). The kids also get a wallet. This year it has a copy of the guidelines, bookmark, and a free library dollar (more on that in a minute) as well as a certificate for a free kids' meal donated by a local restaurant. (We didn't solicit this, by the way, one of the owners walked in and asked if they could donate kids' meals. I said sure, thinking he'd give us 10. We got 200 and he gave me his home phone number in case we need more. Awesome.) We file the index cards alphabetically for when the kids come back with a completed log.  Logs ask for the child's name, address, phone number, grade, and email address (obviously that can be the parent's). The email address blank is new this year and I can already tell it is going to save me so much trouble trying to get ahold of people (see the Log section for why).

Log: The kids come back with their logs once they have read (or been read to) for 10 hours. We give the kids one library dollar (LD) for each half-hour they read, so they get 20 LDs for a whole log. They will also get a coupon for free crazy bread at a local pizza place (also not solicited) and a certificate for a free ride at the County fair in August (again they contacted us about collaborating).

We hold a Library Carnival in September where they kids play games and earn prizes with the LDs they earned. They also get a certificate and a prize back for earning at least 20 LD. We will probably have about 50 or more kids earn their certificate. We keep track on their sign-up cards of how many logs the kids have. We contact everyone who has gotten close to the minimum to double-check our math and hopefully we won't leave anyone out that way. Prior to my starting here, the kids competed against each other to see who could earn the most, but I have tried to move us away from that.

Programs: Our summer reading table also has our list of programs. This summer we have someone coming to teach juggling, a local musician/storyteller/poet performing, and a theatrical performance. I try to book more cultural stuff than purely recreational because there aren't a lot of affordable opportunities in our rural community. Families basically have to drive to one of the 2 cities we are situated between (either one is at least a half-hour away) to see a professional play or concert. We also do storytimes several times during the week. One will be inside the library and the other two will be (weather permitting) at a city park and public elementary school. The kids get 2 LD for attending these also.

Weekly Contests: This is new this summer but my old library used to do a weekly contest and I thought it would be fun to try here. Each week there will be a different question for the kids to guess. Winners will get some prizes left over from previous summer reading programs and a paperback book as well. The questions are all from the CSLP manual as I decided to do this fairly last minute. If it goes well, I might rework it into something more creative for next summer.

Middle School Summer Reading: We just started a program for older kids (middle school starts in the 6th grade here) last summer and I am hoping we can expand it more this summer. Last year we got around 20 kids, which honestly is not too shabby for the size of our town. It is also a very easy thing to put together so I am going to consider that a success for a first attempt. They also fill out an index card to sign-up and for every 5 books they read, they fill out a raffle ticket and put it in a box to await the drawing. Grand prize is a $25 gift certificate to the local movie theater, which we purchased. I do have some paperbacks (and a couple hardcover books) that I am going to give away to other kids as well this year.