Notes from the Black Lagoon

Summer Reading Denial

Posted on: February 28, 2008

Here at the TPL, I’ve gotten the spring programming pretty much tied up. I’m all up to date on my reviews. I have a few things left to catalog. The shelves are beautiful and the book carts are bare. In other words, I have to face my denial over the summer reading program and get on with planning it!

This year’s state-wide theme is “Wild Reads”. Normally, I’m not usually enamored with the themes that the state comes up with, but using the theme is convenient and flexible for us in the Children’s Room. I’m also trying to move patron away from the “cheap plastic prize incentive program” that has characterized our past reward system for reading over the summer. I don’t think the TPL is ready to go prize-less, but I think we can pretty easily move to prizes that reinforce our main purpose. So, I’ve decided (thanks to Adrienne over at WATAT) that we’re going to offer books as prizes. Books, you say? Yep. Books. Cuz that’s what we do best at the library. Here’s my plan:


Each week, there will be three different books (a picture book, an easy reader and a fiction book…all paperback) that children can put their names in for. Every time a child comes into the library and checks out books, she may enter her name for the book of her choice. So if a child comes into the library every day and checks out books (NOT MOVIES, books), he can enter his name for a book every time. Each week of the reading program, I’ll draw 10 names from each book’s name box and call the winners! So, very sneakily, we encourage reading and reinforce it with a book prize. We used to spend so much money on crappy prizes. But I’d rather spend the money on books for prizes and then just get patrons in the library with programs, programs, programs.

Reading Logs 

Next, I want to get rid of reading logs. It’s too much work for us and the parents. And I really don’t care WHAT kids read, just as long as they read.  So instead of reading logs where parents scramble to remember what their kids read last week, we’re going to just have visuals for kids to hang on the wall and mark with stickers every time they’ve read 2 books or 20 minutes.   Plus we will also give out book recommendation forms that kids can fill out, return and let us hang around the room.

This is all very tentative and new at the moment.  But I’ll force myself to firm it up in the next week or so.  So I’ve built a bridge and gotten over my river, Denial.


3 Responses to "Summer Reading Denial"

Wow, what an awesome idea! I have heard rumors that other libraries in your old county have gone prize-less as well! However, I don’t think we will going the same route anytime soon. You are much braver than I, and I applaud your efforts to give better incentives than a plastic dinosaur that will get thrown in the garbage in a week. Also love the lack of reading logs. They are total pain, esp when they get lost in the shuffle! Good luck…..and I will continue to ignore Summer over here in NY lol (Our theme is BUGS this year, btw. I like yours better)

Hi there! I used to write the Sturgis Teens Read blog (in your links), but have since moved on to the Millicent Library in Fairhaven where I just today started the millicentlibraryteens blog! I’d love a link. 🙂 Karen is now working on the Sturgis Teens Read blog…

btw, I’d love to talk to you more about your thoughts on summer reading b/c I am sick at the thought of buying cheap plastic toys. ugh.

Laura- Welcome to SAILS and to Fairhaven! I’m excited to follow your new blog and chat about summer reading! I’ll email you soon regarding all things SR

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