June is merely a few days away, and for many of us, this brings the start to our most anticipated time of year: summer reading club. What plans do you have for yourself and your libraries to make this the best summer reading program yet? At our community branch library, we have some goals that will start our summer reading club off on the right track.
Jump into it – Our summer reading program is the busiest few months of the year for us and demands our full attention. During these final days of May, we focus on preparing and finalizing our other projects. We have a branch staff meeting with all our employees from every library department within our building to review the logistics of our summer reading club. Our summer reading program is also presented to all staff in our library system during our Staff Development Day. By discussing the logistics of the program at staff meetings, we are able to best promote our services to our customers, and we can jump forward into implementing these summer activities on the first day of our club. When we all focus our energy and resources on our summer reading program, we ensure we have the best club possible for our customers.
Understand the purpose — We know that summer reading matters! In our competitive society, however, it’s easy to focus on the figures associated with children’s summer reading programs without always incorporating the valuable reasons behind why we do what we do. One goal we can take to heart is to communicate our mission to those in our communities who are unfamiliar with all we have to offer. We make sure that all staff members, especially circulation staffers, are familiar with the details of our summer reading program so they can share the value of our club with customers as soon as they enter the library. When we share our work with others, whether it is through the briefest conversation with a patron when he or she is checking out materials or reaching hundreds of people during an outreach event, we can emphasize the value of our summer reading clubs to those around us.
Need to make the most of it — We plan our summer reading programs months ahead of their scheduled dates to ensure we are able to fully publicize our club. By organizing and coordinating our hundreds of children’s story times and events, we are able to maximize the various activities we offer during our reading program. By having this fully functional schedule of events planned months in advance, we are able to serve those day cares and camp groups who need to schedule their programs early due to their own publicity and transportation needs. All this prep work we complete ahead of time will help us meet the demands of our summer rush at the library and to fully enjoy all the hustle and bustle that this time of year has to offer.
Expect the unexpected — If there’s ever the time to expect the unexpected, summer is that time. As customers’ scheduling needs change, it’s easy to feel stuck to our previously well-developed plan. A little focus on flexibility is critical as we promote summer reading to our patrons. How do we minimize the chaos that inevitably comes with unexpected groups and congested libraries? We have staff members scheduled as rovers who are able to provide additional support to patrons, so customers receive the assistance they need when they are browsing the collection without joining the line at the reference desk. Staff members can also be called from the office area to help when needed. Going with the flow and adopting an open mindset is the key to ensure we best adapt to the needs of our patrons.
What are your plans as you transition into summer reading club and jump into June? Please share in the comments below!
We spend much of May and June going into schools, day cares and community groups to promote our summer reading programs. I spend a lot of my time in staff meetings for the different departments explaining how we are running summer reading club and what their role is. Staff get more excited about the program and are eager to promote it if they have had a chance to ask questions and hear about what a difference it makes.
We do a big summer kick off party outside the first week of July. It is a crazy busy day but the kids and staff love it. Starts the summer off with lots of excitement and high energy to push us through till the wrap up party.