Friday, September 16, 2011

Virtual Summer Reading Wrap-Up

Since we cancelled our F2F meeting this year in light of a lot of other things going on, I collected some bits and bites about summer reading to share with you.  The big ol' stat sheet of SRC 2011 isn't quite ready yet but I'll send out a blog post with a link to the wiki as soon as it is.  But since we usually talk about some other issues around summer reading at this meeting, here are some great articles and musings that I've bookmarked to keep in mind as I think about SRC 2012:

  • I'm kicking around the idea of creating a county-wide online program booklet that would list all the cool things ya'll are doing for kids in the summer and I'd like to use something like Issu.  Even if that doesn't materialize, I think it's a cool idea for libraries individually to consider for program guides.
  • I've been spending a lot of time researching other types of summer programs and New York/Brooklyn/Queens has a real interesting one going on.  
  • A recent ALSC blog post by Abby Johnson from AbbyTheLibrarian highlighted some of the best posts on summer reading from around the blogosphere.  Worth clicking on the links and seeing what others are doing!  
  • Scholastic offered a national summer reading program this year.  What I like about this program is the site itself, firstly.  How fun, exciting and professional it looks!  Very strong kid-appeal.  I also love the ticker-tape on how many collective minutes have been read.  How fun is that?  And of course, the book covers across the top- it makes me want to dive in and start reading!
  • On the Jean Little Library blog there's a great post about the interesting things she does in her SRC.  
  • Ann Arbor has a very different and expansive approach to a summer program.  And as you might know, we're working with a group of libraries on a Pilot Project and are working on mixing up a program similar to this in 2012.   
  • While this isn't a summer-specific program, I think there are a lot of takeaways from it.  King County, who seems to often be on the cutting-edge of library service is at it again with a cool year-long reading program, Take Time to Read.  The M Word blog wrote a great post about it here.  
  • One of my favorite Children's Library bloggers, Eva Mitnik who blogs at Eva's Book Addiction blogged about summer reading programs and their goals, intentions and results a few months ago.  She asks some hard, but vital questions that we too should be asking as we begin thinking about SRC 2012. 
  • California Library Association has a state-wide outcomes-based approach to summer reading.

I've also gathered some best-practices/great ideas about SRC (and beyond!) from some posts I've been reading and here are some:
  • Share a weekly email update in the summer with library staff that shares that week's events, attendance, current registration numbers, reminders and questions that may have come up.  This might get deeper staff buy-in when you ask for their help with your SRC.
  • Some libraries hold off on programs until a week after registration begins to allow a lot of energy to be spent on getting the word out.
  • Idea for a school visit: Watch back-to-back book trailers (from YouTube) and offer snacks!
  • Offer prizes/incentives for parents in the RTM group such as growth charts, night lights, outlet covers.
  • consider placing a self-checkout in the Children's Department - make it easy for families to check out stacks of books!
  • If you're not willing to throw Dewey out the window, try myriad displays!  Studies show that when a library creates dynamic displays, upwards of 80% of circulation can arise from those spots.
  • In terms of collection development, get on board with the mentality of giving them what they want vs. pushing what you think they should want.  
  • Get ruthless with your weeding!  Some highly successful libraries (like Douglas County) have a policy that if it doesn't check out 7Xs a year, it's out!
  • Consider the bang for your buck!  Do you spend hours and hours planning a 25-minute program?  Take stock of what you spend your time on, especially in the summer, when time is of the essence!
  • Ask kids/tweens/teensto write 6-word reviews of books!  Short, sweet and easy!  Anythink does it!
  • Anyone want to share something that worked particularly well for you?  Leave a comment!
Some food for thought as you recover from your summers.  I look forward to seeing you all at the upcoming quarterly meetings and other special events.  Find out more here.