Blogger Meg Smith

What Do We Do With August?

The month of August is a hybrid of sorts as we transition from our summer reading program to the traditional activities planned for the new school year.  When August 1st rolls around, do you breathe a sigh of satisfaction after the completion of your successful summer reading club, or do you still have weeks and weeks left of the summer rush before the children return to school? What does your library do with August?

Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com
These last few weeks of summer  (Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

To Continue Summer Reading or to Conclude Summer Reading: That is the Question

In years past, our summer reading program ended on July 31st.  While June and July are much busier months in terms of the foot traffic we receive, there are still weeks left to most children’s summer vacation.  This year we extended our summer reading club to August 15th to allow children and their families more time to participate in our reading program and to collect their prizes.  What is your last day to conclude your summer club?

Less Programs, More Planning

Is there any break on the horizon? Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com
Is there any programming break in August? (Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

Our weekly scheduled story times take a break after July 31st until the 1st of September.   While we do temporarily discontinue our weekly story times, we offer the occasional preschool special, school-age program, or teen club to bring people into our libraries.  With more flexibility in scheduling due to less programming, staffing the desks becomes easier even with staff members on vacation.  We also focus our attention on our fall programming sessions, so we are able to hit the ground running when our story times resume and our special programs increase.  Is your August full of story times and outreach visits, or do you completely break from programming to best prepare for the fall?

Taking Training

It may be close to impossible to take training or make assessment a priority during those busy summer reading club months.  August is a time for renewal in terms of staffers’ professional development and is an opportunity for many of us to take in-person training, webinars, or self-paced study. It’s a necessary step for us to consider how to best enhance our own career development and also to assess the direction of our children’s libraries.  Is August a traditional training month for you, or do you focus on children’s services trainings during another time of the year?

Expanding the Vision

August is a time to recharge, to assess our services, and to plan for the fall ahead of us.   It’s an opportunity for us to consider major system initiatives and how to best streamline our efforts.  We are now working on our plan to partner with other county agencies through the Eleven Days of Love Drive for pet-supply donations.  We will include pet-themed elements in our programming as part of this collaboration.   Are there any programs or services at your library that you will implement in the future that you plan now before the kids return to school?

Within our individual libraries throughout the country, there is tremendous variation with our involvement in summer reading clubs and children’s programs during the month of August.  In your library system, August may provide the time needed to assess, evaluate, and focus on youth services training, or it may be a major programming month with a summer reading finale still on the horizon.   Please share how you address programs, services, and training at your library during the month of August.  Let’s begin a conversation in the comments below!

2 comments

  1. Abby Johnson

    Our local schools are adopting a balanced (“year-round”) schedule, so they actually went back to school July 31 this year! Our SRC officially ended July 26 and we do take August “off”. Our weekly programs will be back in September. Last week, I was busy attending teacher meetings and scheduling outreach to the schools (which looks to start mid-August… no rest for the librarians!). Staff are taking vacations in August and I have a whole list of “August projects”, things to attend to before we start back up with our regular programming schedule.

  2. Kelly Doolittle

    What you do with August, we do with September. Our Summer Reading Program ends in late August, and we use September to regroup, plan for the fall/winter programming season, maybe clean some of our spaces! and also, like you, have some stand alone programs. August is also a great time for us to present Preschool and Kindergarten Readiness programs, of which we had our first one yesterday! They are always a huge hit – so much so, that we had to expand our offerings to fit everybody in.

    My two regular storytimes, Toddler Storytime Tuesdays and Family Storytime Saturdays, and my colleague’s Babies, Books and Bounce Fridays are suspended from May until October, but I do have Stories in the Park on Tuesdays through the summer, (from mid-June through August) to keep folks connected, and promote early literacy and library appreciation throughout the season! While dealing with the weather can be somewhat vexing, the joys of bringing those summer themes to the public: FIZZ BOOM READ! BUGS! OCEAN LIFE! TAKE A HIKE! DINOSAURS! SAFARI! [etc., etc.!] are well worth the agony of deciding: The Park, or the air-conditioned, DRY programming room???

    We also continue our monthly Sensory Storytimes, especially for kids with sensory issues, throughout the summer, as well as keeping our programming room open for unstructured baby and toddler playtime on Fridays. And those Summer Reading Specials! They keep us on our toes all summer, too!

    Thanks for the opportunity to talk about seasonal programming! I love the sound of your Eleven Days of Love Drive!! What a great idea! We may have to borrow it:)

    Enjoy your August – remember to b r e a t h e…..:)

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