Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Reading Club (Week 9)

CC: Emily Bergquist



I've gotten several questions about our numbers for the summer reading club. My library serves a county population of about 75,000 people and we are the only public library (no branches, no Bookmobile). As of Thursday morning, for the Children's club (ages 0-5th/6th grade), we have 2087 kids signed up and 619 kids completed. For the Teen club (grades 6th-12th), we have 453 signed up and 92 completed. I am very curious as to what the numbers are like at other libraries, so if you're willing to share your service population and how many kids participate in your summer reading club, please tell me in the comments!

I think a lot of different factors can influence program attendance and it's going to be different at each library. If you're in a rural county, it may be hard for families to get to you. If you're in an urban county, families may have more choices of summer activities and participate less in library programs. Of course, whether or not schools are on board and help you promote definitely has an effect. I mean, each community is different and there are tons of factors in play. Even the weather... a particularly nice summer or a particularly stormy summer can definitely affect your numbers.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't know if it makes much sense to compare numbers at all. You know what's a good attendance number for your library. (Although I do sometimes wonder if my numbers are "good".)

This week was actually kind of a "light" week. We had all our normal drop-in programs (Monday movie, storytimes, Open Art Studio). We had a puppet show Tuesday evening, which drew a nice crowd for an evening. Evening and weekend programs are a struggle for us. We definitely get requests for them from patrons. BUT our evening & weekend programs are NEVER as well-attended as our daytime programs. We tried offering a Saturday session of storytime and attendance was abysmal. We're still trying to work out what we're going to do to balance serving our patrons with investing our staff time in the most productive manner.

We had our teen programs and Dragon Slayers Fantasy Book Club this week. They all went very well.

We were also able to get our fall program schedule out this week in hopes that we could promote some of our fall programs as people are coming in to finish up summer reading. We don't have a whole lot on the schedule for the fall, especially since one of my full-timers is going on maternity leave in September. Instead, we're going to concentrate on offering some fantastic stuff during Winter Break and increasing our evening/weekend programming in the spring.

We have one more week to go and we've got a big, huge program next week... Life Sized Candy Land is coming back to our library. We're partnering with the local YMCA summer camp and the kids in their "Teen Camp" are coming to do set-up for us and to volunteer during the program. In exchange, we're opening up the program for their KinderCamp before we're opening it up to the public. I've also got the second meeting of our Teen Anime Club next week and I'm so excited to see the kids again! (Also: I happen to know that two of the teens who met at the club last month went out on a date to see the Harry Potter movie. Hee!)

Let's check in with our other Summer Reading Club friends (and if you have a post that I missed, be sure and leave it in comments and I'll add it!)...

Kelly at Field Acquisitions - Week 5 and Week 6