Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer Reading Club (Week 2)

Two weeks in and eight more weeks to go! This was a busy week since our kids are now officially out of school and they have been coming to the library in swarms! It helps that it's been really hot this week, so I think our patrons are enjoying our nice air conditioning (I really hope I didn't just jinx the fact that our AC has been working...).

Tons of kids are signing up and yes, we've had some finishers come in, too. Even though we just started, I've been thinking a lot about how we've structured our program and if we might want to change it next year.

For the past several years, we've given kids the choice of counting books or pages. To complete the program, kids read either 20 books or 1000 pages. It's simple and easy for staff and kids to keep track of. But I've also been thinking about whether it would be better to track time spent reading instead of books or pages. I feel like tracking time might be a little harder for kids and parents, but, as one of my best librarian buddies pointed out to me, counting time spent reading is an equalizer because then it doesn't matter if the kids are reading picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, magazines, etc. It's all about the time they spend reading.

Then again, we've got a pretty good system going right now and people are used to it and staff are used to it and we've got a computer database set up already to track the books and pages... Why change something that's working okay?

Well, I firmly believe that I owe it to my community to develop a program that's going to help our kids retain their skills and have something fun to do over the summer. I am so lucky to live in a community populated by adults who are passionate about helping our children succeed. That's why I want to put a lot of thought into the Summer Reading Club and make it the best program it can be. Of course, you can't please everybody always, but that doesn't change the fact that the Summer Reading Club deserves critical thought.

Can the Summer Reading Club save the world? Well, maybe.

In other news, I am trying not to obsess about statistics (in particular, having better statistics than last year). It helps that our computer database had to be revamped this year and I can't run reports yet. Although it's nice to have good numbers, I'm keeping in mind that if we reach even one kid who didn't like reading or who has never read over the summer before, we're doing a great job.

This is actually not too bad. :)
And with all those kids coming in, our shelves... Oh, I don't even know if I can talk about our shelves. They are A MESS. That's just something I have to accept - over the summer, the shelves will be a mess. Luckily, we have several volunteers who are going to come this summer and help us keep things straight. The other thing about our shelves is that they are becoming empty! Already, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are all checked out and yesterday we only had about 5 Magic Tree House books left on the shelf.

It's funny how different series become the "it" series and disappear during the summer. Last year, we had tons of Magic Tree House books on the shelves all summer long. This year, we're 2 weeks in and they're all gone, gone, gone! While I hate to disappoint a kid by not having the book they want when they come in, we're happy to place holds and this is also a great opportunity to practice our readers' advisory.

Our programming starts next week and I am equal parts excited and anxious about it. I'm excited because I haven't seen my Mother Goose kids in a month and a half and I get to see teens for a writing program next week. I'm anxious because I just know how busy we're going to be!

And one last thing... an update on my Summer Reading Log:

Have you started your Summer Reading? Do you count books, pages, time, or something else?