Each year at the Simsbury Public Library, CT we create our own Summer Reading theme. By creating our own unique theme, we can reflect our community and to be responsive to trends and themes that are important locally. Our 2021 Summer Reading theme was “Reading Reconnects Us,” which coincided well with the expanded library hours and services we were able to offer this summer. Our community was eager to return to in-person browsing, programs and volunteer opportunities and it was clear they were looking for opportunities to connect with others.
From this theme grew the idea for a community art project and passive program that would foster community engagement and visually represent the types of connections that are made at the library. The resulting community art project, dreamed up by a talented local artist and patron, Jennie Loomis, is called “Social Ties.” It features pieces of ribbon (ours are made out of t-shirt fabric) that are knotted together in a textile sculpture. Each color ribbon represents an action and a connection that someone made. As our promotional materials explained. “Reading reconnects us. So does a friendly smile, a random act of kindness, and saying hello to a stranger. Help make our community more beautiful as we strengthen our social ties and make a little art along the way.”
The instructions were simple:
- Do the action listed on one of the containers and pick a ribbon from that container.
- Double knot your ribbon to the ribbon strand on the table.
- Repeat all summer long!
The actions/color coded ribbons included:
- Yellow – Attend a library program
- Red – Check out something fun from the Library of Things
- Light Blue – Say hello to a stranger
- Dark Blue – Read to someone or a pet
- Green – Tell a friend about a book you love
- Orange – Do a random act of kindness
- Peach – Visit the StoryWalk
- Lavender – Donate a book to the Friends of the Library
- Purple – Create a “Thinking of You” card for a Simsbury senior citizen
By the end of the summer we had a vibrant visual expression of our community’s connections, which stands as a testament to how the library can help bring people together.
Stephanie C. Prato is the Head of Children’s Services at the Simsbury Public Library, CT. With experience in youth services, community outreach, leadership, instruction, and technology, she has developed innovative programs for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children. She is an active member of the American Library Association and is the Co-Chair of the School Aged Programs and Services Committee of ALSC. If you have any questions, email her at email@example.com.
This blog post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group III. Programming Skills