There are pats on the back - we made it through an incredibly busy eight weeks! We came through and still like our patrons and each other! Now it's time for some Monday morning quarterbacking.
We usually have a few raw numbers to look at - number of kids registered, participating and earning a book; how many programs and how was attendance; total number of visits; circulation stats; like that. We look at the previous year and see if our sense of the summer matches those stats.
This year, our participation was down at our in-house program and up in our outreach program. The room itself was insanely busy but circulation figures were down overall. We sensed an ennui with the design of our SLP materials for elementary and preschool ages (both three years old now) and plan to change them up for next summer. We're looking at shaking up the teen incentives as well.
We see the need to interact more immediately with supervisors of summer groups to talk about library use and the responsibilities of the caregivers that accompany kids for weekly visits.
We hope to incorporate an element of "giving" with the kids...whether asking them to donate food for the food pantry (many food pantries see donations plummet in the summer and often have to rely on funds to buy food to stock the shelves) or giving them the choice, in lieu of a small prize, of putting a marker in a donation jar that we will use for a local charity. Each marker might be worth $.05 or $.10 and the Friends money we would normally use for a doo-dad would instead support an animal shelter or our community garden or another worthy cause.
While we didn't all see the summer through the same eyes (we liked the incentives; we hated the incentives; more programs; less programs), our discussion was helpful and gave the team food for thought.
Now the notes are done, and plans in place. We close the book on summer for as many months as we can before we get back to designing materials in February.
It feels good to let the summer go. It feels good to know we have a huge jumpstart for next year's planning. Good-bye SLP. We'll think about you again...in 2014.