Blogger Eva Mitnick

Learning from SRP 2012

Every kid in our SRP received one of these highly coveted bags.

Our Summer Reading Program ended August 11 after 9 wild weeks.  Almost all the children’s librarians at our 72 branches and Central Library reported record numbers of kids registering for the club and attending events.  Was it the heat?  The lack of summer school?  The awesomeness of our SRP?

Now is the time to evaluate the summer, reflect on our successes and lessons learned, and start planning for next year.

Here’s how we’re evaluating our SRP:

  • Counting registration numbers – While they don’t tell the whole story by a long shot, they can be quite revealing.  Ours zoomed up this year, hurray!  And many were first-timers, as we discovered from our surveys (see below).
  • Counting minutes read and books read – We just started doing this last year.  While the success of a program doesn’t necessarily hang on how many minutes were read, our administration, board of commissioners, city council, and donors sure like to hear this information.  After all, we’re combating “summer slide” with every minute kids spend reading.
  • Counting number of kids still participating at the end of summer – Every child, no matter how much he or she reads, is eligible to enter a drawing at the end of summer to win a trip to Disneyland.  Comparing the number of prize entries to the number of registrations is fascinating and frustrating.  How can we keep more kids interested and engaged all summer long?
  • Surveying kids – We contribute to the California Library Association’s Summer Reading Outcomes Project, so we use the project’s survey (with some tweaks) to learn what kids think about the SRP and the library.  This data is pure gold!
  • Measuring the success of our outreach efforts – Each of our children’s librarians comes up with a customized plan to woo non-users to their libraries, targeting a specific group and setting goals.  Were they achieved?  How can we be more successful at attracting new families to our libraries?
  • Surveying children’s librarians – No one can tell Youth Services more about what worked and what didn’t than the folks running the program on the front lines.  We solicit information, advice and great ideas on all aspects of the SRP from our children’s librarians at the end of every summer.

We are collecting and compiling all this data now.  Imagine the thousands of surveys and prize tickets piling up in the Youth Services office!  And think of the juicy data we’ll get from it all.

After we compile it, we’ll create and submit reports, meet with our 2013 Children’s Summer Reading Program Committee – and start planning next year’s program, which will be (as we vow every year) LAPL’s Best Summer Reading Program Ever!

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