Stop the Madness

Am I alone in believing that the Summer Library Program is just one small part of what any good library offers to children? There are so many SLP workshops and presentations offered as CE - just seems far out of proportion to the breadth and width of what we really do in children's services year round.

Summer programs are six, eight, ten, twelve weeks long. So what are Children's Librarians doing for the other 40-46 weeks of the year? Just planning, publicizing and running programs, outreach and services for all ages. Just working on creating and maintaining excellent cooperative relationships with schools and community organizations. Just using new Web 2.0 skills to better reach our customers and entice our tweens and young parents to enjoy the library on a whole new scale. Just struggling to work with a stressed out customer base that doesn't always want to see us as on their side. Just providing literacy support and guidance for parents and kids and keeping on top our game by reading the books we recommend. Just advocating for kids and libraries. Just trying to keep up collections of great books for kids in the midst of tight budgets and increased use. Just trolling through blogs, listservs, books, our colleagues brains for new ideas for programs and services. Just managing staff and departments and relationships with colleagues and co-workers.

Our work with kids is so much more than just those summer weeks. I find myself thrilled when I look at a state conference, online webinar or regional workshop and see a topic addressed that deals with what we are involved with beyond summer (see "Just..." above). I need just as much help annually with those issues as with the yearly visits to the SLP well that, let's face it, are really just another way of dressing up the "summer widget".

Don't get me wrong here. I appreciate all the work and effort that goes into summer and, for libraries in the CLSP group, the lead times needed to produce material and put together the massive support that is provided. I just think that Children's folks deal with far more than that and need just as much CE support for the far-ranging topics and age groups we deal with daily. So program planners, please keep that in mind as you plan those learning opportunities for Children's folks. We'll love you for it and become better at our work in the process!


  1. I do tend to look for the programming for summer reading workshops, as those can usually be used in some way year-round.

  2. Well said and I couldn't agree more.