Saturday, June 14, 2014

Summer Reading Check-In

Summer Reading. We're in the thick of it, for sure.

You've read about how we revamped our SRC prizes this year and that's going really well so far. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see kids coming in and picking out prize books. This year we have two prize levels and we've gotten rid of our "Grand Prize" drawings. I didn't even think about this, but I think it's going to make life easier for us all summer long since kids won't be checking in for prizes after they hit that second level. I'm already thinking about what we can do next year - maybe adding a sticker to a picture for every 5 books read or building something like this robot over at the La Crosse (WI) Library.

(Children's Librarians: we're ALWAYS THINKING. Even when we're in the thick of this summer, I'm thinking about next summer.)

Here's what our staff reading "log" looks like so far. Lots of books being added! It's been really fun for me to see what we're all reading, especially since our Reading Wildly meetings are not really on schedule. We'll get back into the swing of things in August, but for June and July we snatch any time to meet that we can!

I've been chatting up a lot of teachers to promote our classroom booktalking this summer and I have a list of teachers to contact once we get close to school starting. (There I go again, thinking about the future, but this is a great time to corner teachers who are bringing their own kids to the library!)

Basically, we've been really, really busy. With the kids finally out of school and our programs in full-swing, we're seeing hundreds and hundreds of kids each day. This is GREAT!!! But it's exhausting. Pretty much all the favorite series and pop-culture subjects are all checked out right now. It feels like we're doing more readers' advisory this summer than every before. Whether that's a product of us being more confident and offering the service more or whether the kids listened to us at our school visits when we challenged them to ask us for suggestions, I don't know. Maybe it's a mix of both.

Our self-directed science activities are going AMAZINGLY well. Our caterpillars are snug in their cocoons. I switched out the slides in our science viewers because they were getting a little rough around the edges (which makes it hard to push them back into the slot). And we put out our magnet wands and pipe cleaners on our science table, which has been really fun for a wide range of ages. Plus, it's super easy to clean up the spilled pipe cleaners and it's fun enough that the bigger kids will do it for us!

One big change (for me) is that I'm not as concerned about numbers this year as I have been in past years. Our schools are changing their calendars and summer vacation is shorter than it's ever been. We had a ton of snow days, so it's taking everyone a little longer to get in gear for summer. And I'm finding it more valuable to have meaningful interactions with our patrons than to push everyone to register for Summer Reading, whether they really want to or not. ;)

How's your summer going?