In which Miss Molly talks about Summer Reading Lists…

Happy belated 4th of July. I had meant to post last week…but, well, life happened. #sorrynotsorry

I had a great 4th of July weekend and hope you did as well.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

We are in full swing Summer Reading time. We had our amazing Technopoly kickoff party and it went so well. My library decided to deviate from the suggest Summer Reading theme of Superheroes, or Every Hero Has a Story. I was a little disappointed about this, but then again…not at all. We decided to go with a more technology driven theme.

Our department is fortunate to have received grants that allowed us to get all sorts of AMAZING tech. An Ollie, Ozmo, Watercolor Bot, Ozobot, Sphero, and a 3d pen. In addition to our cadre of iPads, we made for an amazing time. Check out the Southington Kids’ Place Facebook Page and our Instagram for awesome pictures and videos from the events.

I love summer. It’s awesome and fun and so busy at the library. I get to see families that I don’t see normally. We get to accomplish most, if not all, of those fun ideas we have throughout the year, but have no time to do during our regularly scheduled programming. Summer is a time to try out the somewhat questionable ideas we have in order to see if they are worth a Monthly Program slot.

It is also a frustrating time. Unhappy parents and grandparents who don’t like the age limits we have on programs, or the program times, or the program days. Frustrated kids who can’t find books from their reading list because they are all checked out…we have limited copies, you see. The yelling, the running, the (several hundred) repetitions of our policy which range from the SR program, to why we don’t climb over the puppet theater, to why a parent cannot leave the library while their 4 year old sits on the computer…

The one that gets me going the most is the Summer Reading Lists that schools suggest kids use. It seems this year that many schools didn’t even tell students or parents about the summer learning packets. I can’t tell you how many parents only know their kids have ‘homework’ over the summer by coming in and being asked by us if they wanted to sign up for our summer reading program.

But, back to the lists. The lists haven’t really been updated in a while–a few of the books have been on there since I was in school…and since some of the parents were in school….and since some of the grandparents were in school. Sometimes the books are out of print, or we don’t own them, and can’t get them, or they are movie adaptations and we haven’t had one on the shelf in 3 months. Or we only have 1 copy…do we need to give you a quick lesson in supply and demand?

It’s frustrating, not only for us as librarians, but also for the library user. This might be the only time they come to the library all year. Maybe it’s the first time they’ve come in years. Not being able to find the book they are looking for doesn’t make for a good experience.

My thoughts on this matter are wonderfully expressed by The Magpie Librarian. She also has some tips on how to make up a SR list that doesn’t suck. The key? COMMUNICATION between public libraries and the public schools. I am finding this point very frustrating. We are both well-used resources within the town. We should be working together more than we are. At least, I find this to be true in my town. But, the relationship has to be one that is based on communication and cooperation. And that hasn’t seemed to be the case, sadly. Alas, something to work for.

I highly suggest reading her post. It’s hilarious and makes some great points.

I’m off to be a pretty, pretty princess at CT Con. If you’re there…I’m Cinderella! Come say hello!


One thought on “In which Miss Molly talks about Summer Reading Lists…

  1. We approached this problem from a slightly different perspective at my last library. At the public library, in late spring we developed and made a word doc of fun reading lists for each grade level based on books we had in the collection. We then emailed a camera ready copy of each list to all our teachers in the district and said “Please feel free to make copies and distribute to the kids. We guarantee our library will have all these books for them.” It worked like a charm. We either saw kids in summer with our lists or just coming in to ask for our recommendations. Mega-score and no more out-of-date or we-don’t-have lists ever came in!

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