Librarian Skills: Summer Reading Preparations, Part 1

It’s that time of year, folks.

Summer Reading is about to consume my every waking moment.

Well, not quite yet.  The panic doesn’t officially begin until May 1st when I claim no responsibility for anything I say or do until after Summer Reading.  THEN it’s time to panic.

Planning for SRP is a year round event.  Even when it’s no where near Summer, you’re still thinking about SRP.  You may come across a Pinterest craft in October that will be perfect for SRP.  A book that comes in in March will be just what you need for an SRP Storytime.  A parent will ask you in January when SRP starts.

And for some of us lucky few, we get to plan a program for multiple branches (six to be exact).  Six times the prizes, six times the paperwork, six times the programming, and six times the headache fun!

Here’s how my planning breaks down (our program runs from June 1st to August 1st, and we use the Collaborative Summer Library Program, for reference):


-CSLP disc and catalog is shipped to us from the State Library.

-We (the adult librarian, teen librarian, and I) go ahead and place an order for prize/staff t-shirts, prizes, and posters immediately.  As it gets closer to Summer, they do run out of some of the materials, so we like to make sure we get what we want.  We have the numbers from past Summers for reference in terms of how much to order.

-Begin looking through files on the disc to get ideas.  I will print out certain portions of the manual because it’s easier for me to look through it.  I flag any programming ideas that appeal to me


-Begin looking for a kick-off event.  We host a big kick-off event for the whole family at each of our six branches for SRP.  I typically start getting fliers/advertisements from different vendors in January.  I just like to get this done and out of the way ASAP.

-Look for an intern.  My library is fortunate to be a hop, skip, and a jump from a university with a Department of Library and Information Sciences.  Without someone to help out during the Summer, there is NO WAY we could have programming at our branches- end of story.  Interns gain real-world programming experience by doing these programs for me.  Fun fact: I started my library career at the library I’m working at as the Summer Reading Intern.

-New books.  Publishers are very in tune to what we’re doing for Summer Reading.  About this time of year, there are (conveniently) a TON of new books that will be perfect for this year’s theme, whatever it may be.  Time to stock up!

This finishes up the preliminary Summer Reading plans.  March is when things really go into high gear…..







Bring on the Books: Sidekicked

Sidekicked Cover

What if you had a secret identity?

What if you had extraordinary powers?

What if you still had homework?

Those are some of the questions facing Drew in John David Anderson’s novel Sidekicked. Drew, aka The Sensationalist, is part of a top-secret sidekick training program called HERO. Teen sidekicks are paired up with Supers (aka superheroes) to learn the ropes and hone their skills in hopes they will one day become heroes themselves (or at least super awesome sidekicks). And lucky Drew has the greatest hero of all as his mentor- The Titan.

Or at least The Titan used to be great. Now he spends most of his time hanging off a barstool.

Drew and the rest of his sidekick friends run into huge problems when Supervillians return to their hometown of Justicia- and the Supers are tied up elsewhere.

Can Drew and his friends save the day?  Will the Supers come to their rescue?  Will Drew have time to study for tomorrow’s math test?  The answers to these questions and more can be found in Sidekicked by John David Anderson.

I loved this book and immediately suggested it to a coworker for her grandson.  It was full of action and fun.   Drew’s sarcastic views on middle school (and life) really spoke to me and my twisted little soul.  I also liked how the themes of good and evil are explored in this and the companion book, Minion.  The difference between good and evil isn’t always black and white, and both books do a fabulous job of bringing this to life.

Not to mention this book is perfect for Summer Reading 2015!  We’ll definitely be using it in our tween book club.

Summer Reading is Over!!! Now What Do I Do?


Our Summer Reading Program ended on August 1st (happy dance).  This was our most successful summer ever with 953 kids from age birth to 5th grade participating.  Needless to say, we were all exhausted.
Within one week of the program ending, all the decorations were taken down, the prizes were put away, and the library went back to business as usual.
And I had nothing to do.
Ok, not really but August is a strange month for me.  After so many months of intense focus on this one program, I always feel lost when Summer Reading ends.  Even though there are 500 things that need to be done, I literally feel like I have no idea what to do.  I have a hard time turning off my Summer Reading Brain and going back to Rest of the Year Librarian Brain.

Thankfully, I have had a few things that have forced me back to reality.  Currently, my library is interviewing for a new teen librarian and we will have one (hopefully!) soon.  There have also been school visits to schedule, along with new cards to issue the students.  I’ve also been getting ready for the CYPD Conference that is coming up over the weekend.

Does anyone else have trouble coming back to regular library life after Summer Reading?