Blogger Abby Johnson

On Debriefing the Summer Reading Club

Maybe you are lucky like me and your Summer Reading Club is finished or winding down, or maybe you still have some weeks to go. Either way, let’s talk about debriefing after the Summer Reading Club is over.

I always dedicate our early August/late July department meeting to discussing the Summer Reading Club. We talk about what worked and what didn’t. We make notes for what we should change or keep for next year. We go ahead and pencil in dates so that we’re all clear about our schedule.

Here are some things we did this summer that we had discussed last summer:

Photo by Abby Johnson
Photo by Abby Johnson

Our prize cart was decorated and we always pushed it out on one side of our desk (the side without shelving carts) because last year we had some confusion about which books were prize books. This worked really well for us this summer and having a special, decorated cart got the kids even more excited about choosing a free book.

Last year, we had a huge issue with registration for programs. We decided to try out having NO REGISTERED PROGRAMS this summer and it went smashingly. The only programs we had capacity issues with were our large performers where we give out tickets to ensure we’re staying within the fire code. And it was amazing the amount of work it saved us in not having to sign up kids for all those programs. That was a benefit we hadn’t even really considered, but it was huge.

And here are some things we discussed this year and that you should consider as you’re winding down your program and making notes for next year:

  • Is the registration and/or logging process easy for patrons and staff? If not, how can we make it easier?
  • Do the prizes given out encourage kids to read and are they easy for staff to manage?
  • How was your program attendance? If it was low, how could you bolster it? If it was unmanageable, how can you make it easier for staff to handle?
  • What great programs did you offer that you might like to repeat? What programs would be good to repeat with some changes?
  • How did you feel at the end of the summer? If you felt like you wanted to die, what made the summer so hard? Is there anything you can change to make it easier?
  • How did your Summer Reading Club affect other departments? Is there anything you can change to make it easier for Circulation, Pages, IT, Marketing, etc.?

Do you meet to debrief about the Summer Reading Club? What items do you make sure to discuss?

— Abby Johnson, Youth Services Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN
http://www.abbythelibrarian.com

2 comments

  1. Julie

    We do this as well. We make notes about this summer and start brainstorming next summer. Everyone gets a chance to look over the meeting notes to add any last minute thoughts or clarify anything vague in the notes and then I save it to my planning document for next summer. This is also where I toss out ideas on any major changes I want to make so that everyone has the maximum amount of time to think about it.

  2. Renee Perron

    Your prize cart of books is similar to ours. I like how you decorated it to keep it separate from the shelving carts. We put a small sign on our prize cart that says “Completers get to pick 1 FREE book!” We also cover it up with a festive cloth when it is not in use. We had a similiar program a couple years ago when patrons were taking books off of it bit really understanding what they were a prize for kids who completed the SRP. The cloth seems to help.

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