To build participation in Summer Playlist, our twelve-week long summer reading program, we launched a new initiative during 2018. With a focus on reaching new audiences and reducing barriers, we selected five Bookmobile stops in targeted areas of the community to offer hands-on activities and distribute free produce grown by local elementary and high school students. RPL’s Bookmobile Matrix, which takes into account: population density, diversity, areas of low income, transportation barriers, and distance to the library, provided critical information for developing a high-impact schedule for Summer Playlist on the Road.
These stops were visited on a two-week rotation throughout the summer for a total of 28 events featuring the following enrichment activities: food-themed storytimes, sidewalk chalk drawings, string art, solar prints, salad spinner art, fish prints, watercolors, art straw sculptures, and coffee filter butterflies. Other Bookmobile stop activities included: new library card registration, checking out books, promoting Summer Playlist, and distributing rewards, sampling foods, handing out specialized recipe cards, and free fresh produce.
Overall, Summer Playlist on the Road exceeded our expectations. 370 people attended the 28 Summer Playlist on the Road events and participated in the art activities, and 169 people received an estimated 2,000 pounds of free, fresh produce. Attendees at Bookmobile stops were surveyed about their experience:
- 53% learned something new about the library
- 62% learned a new fact, gained a new skill, or tried a new activity
- 98% had a positive experience with the library
Additionally, the collaborations that we built through this program with the local schools have continued throughout the year and plans are in place for Summer Playlist on the Road 2019.
Summer Playlist on the Road 2018 was made possible with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the people of Minnesota for Library Legacy activities.