In May, I posted about our new Daycare Summer Reading Club that we premiered this year. Now that summer is officially over (our kids went back to school August 1), I wanted to check in and let you know how it went.
Was it successful?
My goals for the Daycare SRC were twofold: I wanted to make the registration process easier for daycare and library staff, and I wanted to cultivate a greater follow-through from our daycare participants.
We definitely, definitely succeeded on the first front. If nothing else, it was way easier to get the daycares and summer camps signed up and get their materials to them. We’ve decided to continue the program next summer because it really took a load off our plate when we had so much going on with registering individuals.
As far as follow-through, it’s hard for me to really say. I feel like we’ve had more finishers reported, but I don’t have solid data from past years to support that. I had 9 daycares/camps sign up with about 400 kids. Of the 9, I got finisher lists from 5 of them and one of them sent back the materials because they had signed up too late to really do the program with their kids.
Overall, I’m happy with the level of participation, although I’m a little disappointed in particular facilities that never followed up even after I contacted them.
How did we run it?
We ran the program much as planned in my May post. I sent out flyers advertising the program mid-May. As facilities contacted us, we took down their information and kept it in a binder. We put together a box with all the supplies for people to pick up (or we delivered it in a couple of cases).
I touched base with everyone through email (or phone in the case of one facility that didn’t leave an email) in early July and then I called everyone the week before the program was over to remind them to please return their finisher logs.
How did we log the kids in our online program?
I only logged the kids who finished. The finisher sheet distributed to the sites included spaces for the kids’ names, schools, and grades. When the list was sent back, we looked up each kid and registered the kids who had not already signed up with their families (almost everyone). We went ahead and logged them as finishing and as having gotten their prizes. I have records of how many reading logs and prizes we sent out, but the kids who didn’t complete the reading were not counted in our stats.
What would we change?
I considered withholding the prizes until I get finisher lists, but some of the camps definitely had kids working on the reading right up through the last week. I’m concerned about programs ending before I could get the prizes to them.
I think I will either eliminate the small plastic prizes or purchase something separate for the daycare SRC. Several of the camps had small numbers of middle schoolers who would have been placed in the Teen SRC at the library. Since it was pretty small numbers, we didn’t elect to do anything differently for these kids and I’m not sure the prizes were super appealing. Maybe something like cool pens or make-your-own-slap-bracelets might have a little more appeal across the ages (we gave out a selection of rubber duckies: ninja, princess, construction).
I was concerned with making the daycare program very similar to the in-house program, but we really had very little overlap and I think the daycare program is reaching kids who might not have otherwise participated. So I don’t think anyone will notice or care if the prizes for this program are different. I didn’t have anyone complain about not being entered for the grand prize drawings or about getting different coupons.
Did anyone else do a special Summer Reading program for daycares, summer camps, or special groups? How did it go? What did you do?
— Abby Johnson, Children’s Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN