Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Reading Program

Every year libraries across the nation run a Summer Reading Program.
Because teachers discovered that kids needed to keep their brains active over the summer. Kids who read (and/or do math) have a much better chance of doing well in the fall when they hit school, again.

For many years, each library system created their own Summer Reading Program with prizes for the children who participate. Eventually the libraries in Maryland banded together under the umbrella of one theme for the whole state. Recently Maryland has joined over 40 other states in the (almost) national summer reading program.

This year the theme is BE CREATIVE!
(yes, because it's nation-wide, the themes have to be very general.)

Monday was the first day of our library's Summer Reading program. Almost 200 kids registered and I had to get them into the database that day so that ADM could brag about statistics. Luckily the other staff members pitched in and all the children's names and information got input by the end of the day.

My own day ended at 5:00 pm, but I continued to enter children into the database until almost 6 pm. Then, I rushed home to take the 9-year-old to her swim meet where she got a first place in breast stroke (!) -- her first time ever using that stroke in a meet.

Is 200 a lot for the first day of Summer Reading?
For our library -- Yes.
However, I've found that, if a large amount of kids register early in the week, the rest of the week is slow -- keeping the total for the first week almost the same over the years. Our normal total for the whole summer is about 400 to 500 kids. (Keep in mind that we're a small community library -- the largest library in our county registers about 4,000 children during the summer. They're really swamped the first few weeks.)

(Harry Bliss is the current Summer Reading Program illustrator. Henry Cole will be the official illustrator next year. I can't wait! He's one of my favorite illustrators. He's local, too, living in Virginia.)

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