Summer Reading

The Crabby Librarian

The Crabby Librarian started out as a one-time character to promote the 2006 animal themed summer reading program at the Madison Public Library in Madison, OH. Now on the eve of her fifth year visiting the schools in her town, the Crabby Librarian has a fan page on Facebook and a YouTube video:
[youtube 9AjEFNfrEuI nolink]

There is just something magical about snarling at kids and telling them they don’t deserve summer reading prizes. Somehow this makes these same kids charge into the library to join summer reading in spite of “the crab.” Hmmm…

Parents and grandparents have been wondering for years what their kids have been talking about and in early 2010, they were let in on the fun. The Crabby Librarian got a Facebook fan page. She writes a few times a week usually about upcoming library events or new materials that are available for check out. Her grouchy, antagonistic comments seem to entertain adults just as much as children.

When the Crabby Librarian visited the schools each year with her sidekick the friendly and lovely Miss Dawn, it clearly got the children excited about coming to the library. However, for all the “I’m coming into the library to take your prizes, Crabby!” that got yelled by the kids, there were many children who never signed up. So the Children’s Department realized summer reading wasn’t getting marketed to everyone it needed to reach. Children obviously need to be excited about summer reading, but equally important to convince were the people with car keys and gas money. If the adults don’t think summer reading is a good idea, they won’t bring their kids to the library. So the thought was if the Crabby Librarian’s exploits at school entertain the kids, why wouldn’t adults like to see the presentation too?

With the production help of the Northeast Ohio Regional Library System, the Crabby Librarian and Miss Dawn pre-taped their school presentation. This way the kids can see the presentation in person at school and go home that night and watch it again with their parents. Why watch the presentation twice? There is incentive. Children who come into the library and correctly identify the anomaly in the Crabby Librarian’s behavior could win an opportunity to throw water on her at the end of summer reading luau. Who doesn’t want to let the Crabby Librarian have it? She totally deserves it!

Melanie A. Lyttle
Head of Children’s Services
Madison (Ohio) Public Library

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