We’ll Link to That: Summer 2015

Every quarter we write a column for YAACING, a youth services newsletter published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association. This summer our column is all about innovate summer reading club programs, but make sure to check out the entire Summer 2015 issue! If you’d like to catch up on our past columns you can find them here:

It’s Summer Reading Club time!  We hope everyone’s having a great time with the Build It! theme this year.  Though we are already in the thick of it, we thought we’d highlight innovative ideas children’s librarians across North America are implementing.  Ever thought about ditching prizes? Want to get the kids more involved and active in SRC?  Look no further than our 10 favourite Summer Reading Club blog posts.

1. Tiny Tips for Library Fun : In this six post series Marge pushes us to think past the “narrow lines of expected service.” She not only provides research and evidence, she also asks the tough questions about going prizeless, preventing staff burnout, and reaching the kids who aren’t participating. This series made us think deeper about the why behind SRC. Don’t forget to check out her Summer Reading Revolution Pinterest board as well.

2. Abby the Librarian: Are you sick of giving kids cheap plastic toys for SRC prizes?  Then this is a must read post!  Abby takes us through how she stopped giving away prizes and instead offered super cool Science Activity Packets. A balloon rocket? Check. An exploding stick bomb? Check. The learning and fun shouldn’t stop at the library, and Abby demonstrates just how to make that happen. The best part is the kids loved it.

3. Jean Little Library: You want to make changes to SRC but how do you get everyone on board?  Read Jennifer’s detailed summer proposal. She includes excellent reasons for going prizeless, why to offer something for the little ones, and what other people are doing to simplify SRC. Her plan is aimed at making it more accessible for each family.

4. Library Bonanza: Kelsey rebranded her summer reading club to the Summer Library Club. Kids are rewarded just for visiting the library! We love how this makes the library a destination for families and extends beyond books and reading. Books are used as giveaways and volunteers are heavily utilized to make this program an increasingly popular summer activity.

5. Hafubuti: Rebecca created wonderful summer reading club booklets as a way to get the kids in her community active. The booklets combine coupons to local businesses with a thematically related literacy activity on the opposite page. She also made bright, eye catching signs for businesses to put up that say “This Business Proudly Supports the Library.”  Another great example of a library going prizeless and working with community members to provide a literacy rich summer for families.

6. Kids Library Program Mojo: Our guru Marge Loch-Wouters teaches a Power Children’s Programming course and her students came up big with ideas all about achieving a zen state during SRC. Impossible you say? Read on for simple tips about staffing, engaging with the community and prizes (or lack thereof.) Marge writes passionately about that fine balance between maintaining your sanity and providing quality service to families and we love her for it.

7. Thrive After Three: Reading logs or reading records can start to feel a little old, especially for older kids. For this reason we absolutely love Lisa’s Summer Reading bingo cards which feature challenges or activities involving books, holidays or library programs. Feedback from families was extremely positive and getting a new bingo card each week kept them coming back all summer long! Pssst, Lisa also links to her Lend a Friend program which we’re dying to try.

8. Growing Wisconsin Readers: We all know SRC is a time to focus and program for school age children, but what about your younger crowd? In this post Abby writes about her Early Literacy Summer Library Program for children birth to four and their caregivers. Inspired by Marge (who we can’t talk enough about!) Abby created simple logs for families to record early literacy activities like pointing out print or playing a rhyming game.

9. ALSC Blog: This post talks about the latest trend in SRC programming: camps! Detailing a very successful Geek Girl Camp, this post not only has lots of ideas for an awesome STEAM focused camp but also makes an argument for why this model is so successful.

10. Bryce Don’t Play: As her library moved away from prizes Bryce was tasked with developing Summer Reading Game Cards and we’re so glad she was! In this post she writes about the activities on the card and how and why they develop literacy skills. We saved this one for last as a hilarious treat, enjoy!

Do you have a favourite summer reading club idea that we missed? We’d love to hear about it, give us a shout at jbrary@gmail.com.

4 thoughts on “We’ll Link to That: Summer 2015

  1. Thanks so much for the links…and the shout-outs! We all learn so much from each other through sharing like this! This post goes right up on the SLP Revolution Pinterest board. You rock my world!

    1. And you rock ours! We love to shine the spotlight on the great work everyone is doing. We’ve got a mighty group of role models 🙂

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