Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Random Librarian Thoughts: Farewell SRP

I am ecstatic that our Summer Reading Program is over.

Shhh, don't tell anyone.

It isn't the actual program that I'd grown tired of, but the check-in's and the prize collections.
For every 7 days of reading, our kids were able to stop by the library and check-in for a prize from the treasure chest, a coupon, and a weekly raffle ticket to win movies/gift cards, etc.. The first 50 kids that finished were entered into one of three grand-prize raffles.  The three grand-prizes are:
  1. A huge stuffed animal
  2. Family passes to the water park, including a hotel stay(which we didn't plan to give away but happened to have gotten comped) and parking passes  
  3. Xbox 360 with a Kinnect.

Now, I know some librarians and educators believe that you shouldn't reward kids for reading with anything but books or literary prizes, and if it were any other community, I would probably agree.   But for this particular post, I'm not even going to get into that except to say that we are giving every child who completed the program a free book as well.

We've had a pretty good number of sign-ups this year and were just ten kids shy of 600. Which is amazing!  I was so glad to see so many families jump right into our Pirate theme and a lot of the books we put on display to highlight the theme have been checked out regularly.

But still, if I don't have to fill in another prize check-in form, or raffle ticket...I'll be all too glad.

This year's summer reading was a first for me, as it was the first time in five years that I didn't have to test students on what they read, or hand-select books for them to read during the summer.  This was my first year as a public librarian rather than a school librarian, and I must say that I have mixed feelings about which world I like better.
It took a great deal of pressure off of me to only be responsible for matching kids up with what they want to read, as opposed to having to decide what they should be reading.  However, one of the most frustrating things about there being no pressure, is that there can also be a huge lack of interest.

For my teens, it can be like pulling teeth to get them to want to read anything, and those for whom I don't have to beg, true to form, it is mostly girls.  While we did have a good number of young men sign up for the program,  I'm sad to say that I think if we didn't have that Xbox grand prize, they wouldn't have thought twice about participating.  Tweens and younger kids are avid readers here, and they gave me some of the greatest experiences of the summer.  Hearing the excited voices when they got to check in, and then hearing the astonishment from our grand-prize winners, who were ultra proud of themselves for reading this year, made all the difference for me.
I never had a kid come back to school this happy about finishing their two required books.

In all, I'm proud of our kids this summer, for their reading accomplishments as well as their eagerness to participate in library programs!!  but I'm super glad its over for the year. LOL


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