You know that thing that takes a huge amount of coordination and causes a fair amount of stress in both the planning and execution? What if we just didn’t do it. What if we went back to the drawing board and started at square one. What if we reimagined what summer at the library looks like for families. What if.
Maybe your library is like my library: You’ve been running a summer reading program for many years and have ties to a larger organization (the provincial SRC in this case) that dictates the theme, the artwork, and design of materials. The baseline assumption is that we want kids to read over the summer and keep track of that reading in some way. And because of tradition and funding and community expectations, this is how it will likely continue. I get it: Summer Reading is a beast and it’s hard to find the time and money for BIG changes.
But it doesn’t stop me from dreaming! As a thought experiment I like to envision summer at the library without the yolk of the SRC program. Here’s what I ask myself:
- What are the library’s main goals for kids, teens, and families over the summer?
- What is the library’s role in the lives of families over the summer?
- Why is what we do in the summer different than what we do during the school year? What changes and what stays the same?
- What do families want access to over the summer?
- How can I help kids and teens find the best stories and information, especially during a time when their school library is closed?
- What feelings and emotions do I want families to associate with the library over the summer?
- How could I work with community partners to strengthen the library’s presence outside its four walls?
- How can I do better at reaching families who are underserved or unaware of the library?
Thinking on these questions is deep work. I don’t have the magic answer to what summer at the library should look like. I do know it would look different to what we do now.
What do you think? What would you summer look like? What questions do you ask yourself? How’s it going at your library?