The inaugural summer reading summit brought together 120 library staff at the Salem Public Library. We shared and learned about summer reading programs – everything from outreach to programming to collecting data. I enjoyed the opportunity to hear about innovations and to bounce ideas off my peers.
I got lost on my way in and got a special staff-led tour of the basement of the Salem Public Library! I saw this welcoming sign on the correct door at lunch.
With eight sessions, an idea fair, and an Oregon Authors Fair, there was no way to see everything! In the morning, I attended “The Library Express Bus,” a session by Jana and Yeli from the Hood River County Library District. The Library Express Bus was born out of a desire for better service to the community of Odell, which has no public library and no public transit to the nearest library. Over four years, Jana and Yeli iterated on the program with Ready to Read grant funding, developing a program where kids and families can take a rented ski bus to the library every summer Saturday. Teens hired from the community manage the bus pick up, drop off, and help with activities at the library. Once the bus arrives, kids experience a mixture of structured and unstructured activities and, of course, can check out books.
This program exemplified thinking outside the box. Library staff saw an opportunity for the community and decided to use their grant funding on something new! They gave themselves several years to learn and change the program. Their most recent change? Opening with partner reading as a prelude to story time. In fact, they are looking for resources for “reading buddy” programs. If you know of any, please reach out to the Hood River County Library District.
Library staff made a wall of summer reading trackers. There are so many ways to run summer reading!
In the afternoon, I attended a panel on “Keeping Track: The Why, What & How.” Four library staff shared the many ways they log – or don’t! – registration, participation, and completion. This session showed there’s no one right way to do it. Google Forms, Beanstack, paper forms, Microsoft Access, and pom poms have all helped libraries keep track of summer reading in a way that works for them. Some of these options were familiar and some were new to me. Barratt from the Oregon City Public Library shared that she passes out three reading logs to every participant. I had never thought about a reading log being more than just one piece of paper!
Oregon City encourages summer readers to develop a habit of reading and read up to 75 days, across three reading logs.
I attended the Summer Reading Summit for ideas on how to revamp our summer reading program and reading logs. I certainly came away that! I also developed a better understanding of Oregon libraries and their many summer activities. For that, I thank Greta Berquist and the State Library of Oregon, the Salem Public Library for hosting, and everyone who volunteered their time to make the event a success. Don’t miss Greta’s folder of resources from the summit. Stay tuned for news of a second Summer Reading Summit in September 2021.
Lindsay Delaney is the bilingual youth services librarian at the Tigard Public Library, where she develops services for Spanish speaking kids, teens, and families. She loves summer reading programs so much she wrote four term papers on the subject. Any questions? E-mail Lindsay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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