Hi Miss Julie, Miss J. has a thoughtful and very passionate post up about summer library programs and their worth to libraries. From questioning the need for summer vacations in a non-agrarian modern society; to whether schools are failing to support kids in reading during those months and putting the burden on public libraries to the overemphasis in many libraries of putting massive resources into the SLP at the expense of other times of the year, it is a meaty, thought-provoking piece.
As an inveterate children's librarian tinkerer, I like to make things easier and speedier and more fun for kids. I too deplore the time and effort spent on SLP at the expense of the rest of the year. I crave workshops regionally that address issues NOT related to SLP.
Each year, I want to see lots of school age kids using us during the summer and I don't mind encouraging them to read a little each day as a fun activity to keep their brains sharp. I don't see what we are doing as replacing a school's responsibility - I see it as encouraging kids to love the library and spend time with us and our collections. We use trinkets but make sure a book prize is the best prize. The eternal optimist that I am says that kids who find that great space here in summer will visit us all year long. .
But still and all, I feel Julie's pain and am glad to hear a colleague share so honestly a needed perspective on the long SLP tradition in youth librarianship. Time out indeed.