Thursday, June 03, 2010

Summer Reading Program--Not

Ten years ago I worked in a  library on the other side of town. We had kids of all ages, some from the middle class private house areas, and some from the working poor who lived in the nearby apartment houses.

I ran a busy summer reading program. Eight weeks of activities. Lots of kids coming in to get summer reading game sheets. Lots of kids coming in for school reading and for fun reading.
Yesterday a mom called me about our summer reading program. She has a 5 year old and an 8 year old. And you know what I did?
I told her the truth. That I don't have summer activities for the school aged kids because when I've tried doing programs no one show up.
No one the right age, that is. I can advertise a program for 6-12 year olds and plenty of 2 year olds and their nannies would show up. But none of the big kids, of which there aren't that many in this area to begin with!
They're in camp. They're at the pool. They're away at the beach. They're doing other activities.
They're not even coming in much to borrow books. A lot of their families BUY their books. And summer reading lists from the schools have become less widely given. 
I directed her to our other branches. There's a branch only 2 or 3 miles from here which is FULL of kids this age. It's always busy there.
I did tell her I hope she'll come visit here as well this summer. That I've got lots of great books on the shelves. But I don't expect to see her.
I'll be doing 6 weeks of special activities and hired entertainers. It'll be fun, but it'll all be for preschoolers.

The summer reading stuff will be there,but not many people will sign up.
Worst of all, a lot of those folks will come for my programs and leave without borrowing a single book.....


patricia said...

Really enjoying your blog.

Here's my Summer Reading kvetch. A few years ago I was the artist hired for the TD Bank Summer Reading Club, which is run in libraries all across Canada. I have quite a few nieces & nephews who were the perfect age for that program. Did even ONE of them sign up for the program, knowing their auntie was the honoured artiste? Nope. Sigh.

The Library Lady said...

Was this something they could have done on their own, or would their parents have been involved? Because if so, it's your sibling/in-laws I'd lay the blame on.

Went to your website and was delighted to see that you are the author of The Pirate and the Penguin! I've been displaying picture books by themes for a bibliography I'm updating and when I did "Pirates" your book was up there.

And right behind it was "King George" my 3 foot tall stuffed penguin who is always there. Wearing a pirate hat then, of course. Will try to send you a picture!