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Adventures in Summer Reading

If you're a regular reader of GreenBeanTeenQueen, you may have noticed that the blogging has been light this year due to my committee work. I'm gearing up for ALA Annual and lots of meetings, which means lots of reading and re-reading and note taking, and sadly less blogging. Then, add in the Library Summer Reading Program and I'm one busy librarian! I seem to get asked about being a librarian a lot and I think it's fun to share what different libraries do for Summer Reading. I'm planning on posting more about our Summer Reading Program, how we run it, how it works, etc. But I thought I'd share a bit about what I've been doing so far this month. I just finished a nine day working streak and seven of those days had programs! Here's a glimpse into what it's like to be a public librarian during Summer Reading Program:

Saturday: Summer Reading Program Kickoff Event!
Our theme this year is Dream Big, so I decided to host an Astronaut Academy event for our kickoff. We've never done a big kickoff at my branch before (at least since I've been there) so this was a bit new. I had various stations in the storyhour room that were put together by one of my fabulous employees! We had magnet mazes (you hold a marble above the maze, a magnet beneath and have to solve the maze), a magnet table to figure out what gets picked up by magnets and what doesn't, moonwalking on bubble wrap, spaceship building using giant foam blocks, and crater making (fill a box with flour and cinnamon and drop various weight balls, Styrofoam balls, ping pong balls, marbles of various sizes and see which ones make craters).

We also made intergalactic passports and I wrote up a scavenger hunt around the library to find different "planets" (aka the service desks). In Local History, they had to find the grandfather clock because countdowns are very important in space travel. They had to find planet circulation and tell their grown ups about the adult summer reading program (don't you love the cross promotion?) And most fun was finding the comets (aka the book carts) that traveled all over the library. Staff wore bobble headbands I ordered from Oriental Trading and posed as aliens and stamped the kids passports.

 Monday: Evening Concert with Babaloo!
Each year the library brings in special performers for the Summer Reading Program and hosts special programs. I missed Babaloo's concert last year (I was at ALA) and had heard such rave reviews, I was so excited to have him hold an evening concert on the patio. The kids danced, played bucket drums, tossed bean bags and caught bubbles. It was tons of fun and if you're a library looking for a kids musician, I recommend Babaloo-the kids and parents were laughing and dancing and had a blast!

Tuesday & Wednesday: Storytimes Start Again!
Ok, so I only did the Wednesday toddler storytime, but storytimes are such a huge draw at our library that it was a big deal that storytime was back in session! We take the month of May off so we can schedule visits to the schools and promote the Summer Reading Program. It was nice to see our regular storytime patrons back and to draw in a new crowd for the summer. As my manager always says, if you're having a bad day, go sit in the children's department during storytime-it will brighten your day!

Thursday: Summer Reading Performances with Wings of Love!
Animal programs are always a huge draw, but I didn't expect the crowd we got for Wings of Love! (What a naive librarian I am!) Who can resist live birds including parrots, a toucan and an owl? We packed out our auditorium for both programs and the children's department was crazy busy after each one giving out summer reading prizes and giving kids information about the summer reading program. My librarian perk of the day was getting to hold the perch for the owl to fly to from across the room-I felt just like Harry Potter! :)

Friday: Stuffed Animal Sleepover!
I've posted about our Stuffed Animal Sleepover before. We hosted one last year that was a huge hit, so we decided to host another one this summer. This time I better organized the picture taking and slideshow making, so it was a much smoother experience. And once again, the parents and kids loved it!

Saturday: Bibliobop Dance Party!
I love to dance, so when I saw the idea for a Bibliobop Dance Party on Storytiming, I knew I had to do one too (of course, I e-mailed and asked if I could borrow the program idea and name, and I was granted  permission!) My dance mix included a lot of Greg and Steve (you can't go wrong with The Freeze), Jim Gill, Ralph's World, Justin Roberts, and For the Kids. We danced with scarves, played instruments and I ended with bubbles. (Not sure I'd do the bubble thing again unless I had an awesome bubble machine that blew bubbles out into the middle of the room. Instead I had a group of children crowding my small bubble wand!)

Add in working the desk, finding books for kids and parents, answering questions, giving the Summer Reading Spiel a million times, giving out Summer Reading Prizes, cleaning up the stray books and straightening the shelves, and hunting down the lone copy of Magic Tree House that should be on the shelf-that's what Summer Reading is like in the Library! (And that's just week one!)


  1. LOVE your Astronaut Academy idea...may have to eventually "borrow" some aspects of that for a future program at our library!! :)


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