Blogger Katie Salo

The Highs and Lows of Summer Reading

I don’t know about everyone, but this week in summer reading was an emotional roller coaster. I figured that if your week was anything like mine, that we should all gather round and take a breath. Let’s talk it out, so to speak. I’ll go first.

The week-long heat wave has been brutal in terms of attendance. The library is either packed with kids or empty as everyone stays home to beat the heat. And it fluctuates back and forth throughout the day. Both are exhausting in their own special way.

But this week is the last week of prizes and it’s the best part — the kids get to choose a free paperback. To keep. Forever. If you want true joy, take your time when you explain that part and let it soak it. You might get the most wonderful wide-eyed, whisper-shouted, “Really? Forever?”

You might hear this dreaded phrase during preschool art: “Miss Librarian, she’s painting ME!” And you might struggle not to cry from frustration as you clean up the siblings who decided their bodies were better canvas that the paper provided.

lolaBut the next day might be followed with the most angelic group of storytime kids ever. Or watching a Painted Lady butterfly that you named Lola emerge from her cocoon. The children watch Lola, awestruck, asking questions and doing research with you. And there’s a rainstorm on its way to finally break the heat.

Hang in there, friends.

Your turn.

– Katie Salo
Youth Services Manager
Melrose Park Library


  1. Catherine

    When there’s a heat wave like this, daycamps who normally stay outside for the day drop in on us in droves for the a/c. They all wear t-shirts of different colors and some days there are enough camps visiting us that you see all the colors of the rainbow. They almost never have library cards with them, so they can’t borrow books or use the computers. We can’t let them into scheduled programs because we don’t have enough space or materials. All they can do is wander around and trash the collection. All we can do is give them a quickie orientation to Summer Reading and hand over a bag of materials to their counselors to pass around. Looking forward to Monday…it’s supposed to break over the weekend.

  2. Abby Johnson

    This week’s been crazy for us, too. On Tuesday we had two daycamps bring large groups of kids without any notice. We also had a program going on at the same time. One of the groups had been before and had behaved really well, but not so much this time. We’ve also had a roving band of 4-5 bored tweens in almost every day, running around and playing hide and seek. We’ve had to ask them to leave two days this week! 🙁

    But (at least for me!) it’s coming to an end… Next week is our last week of programs and the kids go back to school August 1! Not that I’m counting down or anything… oh wait, yes I am. 😉

  3. Jennifer

    This was my week

    Toilet plunging, mysterious wet stains (not related), giant book and bake sale, and everything else you can possibly imagine, plus some you probably can’t. Definitely the craziest week of summer so far and I still have 3 to go!

  4. Edith Sutterlin

    I read these with some envy and sadness.
    Orange Public Library, NJ, closed indefinitely back mid April, so my plans for “Dig in and Read” could not be carried out, and my class in archaeology, while fascinating and fun learning for me, didn’t get to be shared with “my” children this summer as I had hoped … but I’m storing away the ideas to use in some future program. I’ve done some volunteering, but finding most of my summer caught up in applications (with essays) and some interviews (thankfully).
    I know SRC can be hectic and sometimes there is not enough space or materials, but I am so grateful that so many libraries ARE still open, thriving, and doing such a great job touching children’s lives in positive ways. Any way you can engage those bored tweens in a contest — maybe they’d like to create some video ads showcasing why they came to the library in the first place, for example. In any case, to all of you in the front lines — Courage! Keep up the good work!

  5. Casey O'Leary

    Thanks, Edith, for the reminder that I’m fortunate to be working in a thriving library. Best of luck to you as you follow your path; hopefully it will be an adventure! And best of luck to everyone involved in a summer reading program. You’ll find me in two weeks taking a nap under my desk. 🙂

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