Thursday, May 22, 2014

Summer Reading is Coming...!

You know what? Summer Reading Club is coming. In fact, ours starts next week. And I didn't really even want to write a post about Summer Reading Club because READING and also because I just feel like I've posted a LOT about Summer Reading Club in years past, so give it a rest already.

But then we had our final SRC meeting and afterwards I overheard one of my employees say, "I am feeling good about this summer!" 

AND MY MANAGER HEART EXPLODED WITH JOY!!! Seriously, this makes me really happy as a manager. 

Okay, yes, like Angie at Fat Girl, Reading, we are all very excited for Summer Reading. There are many families that we only see every summer (and while we would love to see them more, we understand that the school year is super busy). Summer's a great time to try new programs when the spotlight's on us and we have the opportunity to get the word out more than at any other time. We reconnect with our schools, even the ones that don't have us in much over the school year (yet!). 

But Summer Reading is a stressful time. It's a time when everyone's job gets a little harder. Our days are busier. There are less (or no!) lulls during your on-desk time. You might be doing programs every day (or most days). For me, one of the hardest things is the noise level. My office is not very sound-proof, so even when I'm off-desk, it can be hard to concentrate over the sound of a day camp visiting or a cadre of toddlers playing with the blocks. 

I am sorry if this animated gif is annoying. It is sometimes how I feel.

Summer is not just a stressful time for youth staff, either. Your Circ staff is feeling the burn. Your pages are on overload. I've posted about things to do to make summer easier for other library staff

But this year, I have an amazing staff AND more staff hours than we've ever had (slightly more is still more). We've all got a manageable workload. Taking the Summer Reading Club online has really lessened our workload as far as registration. 

And I like to have one last meeting with my Children's staff to get everyone on the same page before the program starts. We all took a look at the reading logs. We talked about our early literacy program for 0-2 and how we could use that to promote our ongoing 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program. We discussed the Daycare Summer Reading Club and how to register anyone who calls or comes in. 

And we did a little role playing. My staff members are all extremely good sports and this was a way for us to discuss questions that they might be asked and how to answer them. They took turns in the "hot seat" and drawing a patron slip out of the cup. They might be role playing a parent angry at our change in prizes this year or a parent of a child with special needs who wonders if she should sign up her child for the Teen Club or the Children's Club. We talked about all different kinds of scenarios and how we would deal with them. 

After we went through the cup, we took some time to talk about other questions parents had asked this month. 

This year, we started online signup on May 1, though the program (reading and logging) does not officially begin until May 27. We already have almost 200 kids signed up and we haven't even visited all the schools yet, so I think this has been a really successful component of our program this year. We'll send them an email on the 27th letting them know they can print or pick up reading logs and start reading! 

This is my sixth Summer Reading Club at my current library and each one has been easier than the last. And THAT makes me really excited for this summer. :)