How'd We Do This Summer? - Deconstructing an SLP

Abby the Librarian has a great post up at the ALSC Blog assessing their library's summer reading program. I love it because it is one of my favorite things as SLP ends.
We try to do a wrap-up meeting as soon as we are finished to look at the positives and negatives.  We keep notes and incorporate any changes into our plans for the following year.  It's easy, it's fun and it makes sure that the programs remain fresh and serve the needs of the community and the staff!  Although our wrap-up meeting is a week away, I can share some of my thoughts on SLP 2011 efforts.

This year we introduced our Rubber Ducky Club for kids birth to 35 months that stressed pre-literacy skills and it was a huge success. Families were asked to return twice in the summer  - once for a rubber duck reward and once for a book.  We were pleased with the results of this program - so were the parents - and will definitely do it again.

Our elementary school Passport program with activitiy bookmarks (including reading; library book check-outs; attending programs; playing literacy games; using writing) went over great. I was pleased to read about the efforts at the Darien CT Library that Gretchen Caserotti wrote about in the Libraries and Transliteracy blog and felt like we are going in a good direction. One of my marvelous co-workers created a new early literacy activity area called "Story Action Pod" that encouraged kids to use art, writing and imagination to enhance their experience of books (you can read about it here at her fun new blog: Bryce Don't Play.). This too was an activity that counted towards completing a bookmark and was a real hit for K-2 kids.

We had lots of return visits to the library which was a huge goal and people used the library more consistently throughout the whole program. Our print circulation stayed robust because we encouraged use of the collection. And parents and kids really loved the program and let us know. I think kids liked the stamping of their passport as much as getting a little "surprise" and they love the culminating book prize they are picking up now.

Our Teen program (whoa! I forgot to blog about it!) experienced a resurgence.  A key piece was adding a chance for kids to get a USB drive or $5 off their fines coupon (you can guess what 90% of the tweens and teens picked!) after 15 hours of reading/volunteering/program attendance and a book after 25 hours. In the past they had a chance to win a weekly prize but no guarantees that kids would receive a prize. So they were inspired to participate. They were also pumped about final raffle prizes: $75 gifts cards from B&N, Best Buy and Marcus Theaters.

We cut down on events and still had lots of usage - enough to consistently double staff our public service desk throughout the 8 week program - a first for us!  Despite the increased circ and usage and piloting new SLP formats, we had time to do reader's advisory and chat with kids and parents.  That was best of all!

Image: 'Pumpkin carving'  http://www.flickr.com/photos/99472898@N00/5127099146


  1. Yay! Bravo to you on continually working to improve summer reading :)

  2. Congratulations on your summer program, Marge, it sounds great! And thanks for your great blog too, it's inspiring!