Monday, December 12, 2016

Winter Reading Club Updates

I've blogged about our Winter Reading Club at the ALSC Blog in 2013 (our first!) and 2014, but on rereading those posts I realized that we've made some changes that I want to write about.

The basic premise of our Winter Reading Club is the same: we aim to get families into the library and reading this winter, to help kids and teens clear their library cards of fines, and to keep everything low-key so staff don't go crazy.

We still use a gameboard (inspired by Angie Manfredi's Winter Reading Club) for the Children's program and they can read any five books to earn a prize. Last year and this year we started giving out a free book and fine bucks as their prizes. I absolutely love giving a book as a prize because it reinforces reading for fun. We've really worked hard to choose high-appeal books and a wide variety so that every kid and teen will hopefully find something they like.

The fine bucks continue to be a big hit for us - patrons love them and they cost us next to nothing. Patrons look forward to the times of year (winter and summer) when our reading programs are going on so they can earn more fine bucks!

Another development that we made last year is that instead of creating multiple displays and book lists to help families find books to fill boxes on the gameboard, we went to creating two simple displays where we could put a variety of books that fulfill WRC boxes.

I created simple bookmarks that say "Read me for the Winter Reading Club!" with a blank box below. As the display needs to be filled up, staff can pick out a book and write on the bookmark which box it would fulfill.

This is a simple and fun way to keep our displays full - it's fun for staff to seek out some of our favorite books to highlight. It's easier than keeping multiple genre displays full or repeatedly helping families find books from a book list. Plus, if families spot the displays they may inquire about the Winter Reading Club, so the displays help us promote the program, as well. 

Of course, we're still displaying Coretta Scott King Award winners and Pura Belpre Award winners with signs that give a little information about each award. 

I'm glad that we've maintained a low-key Winter Reading Club that's easy for staff to run and still fun for patrons. We don't have a huge turnout (especially compared with our Summer Reading Club numbers), but that's okay. 

Do you do a Winter Reading Club at your library? What do you do for it?