Summer Reading Programs – Summer’s Over…

Summer reading programs have come to an end for the year and I’m having a vision of library staff far and wide relaxing on beaches or mountains this week, recovering from all the activities and programs they held over the summer. Ok, so that’s probably wishful thinking for you all. But well deserved kudos to everyone who participated in these important and fun summer programs.

Maybe I’m too old or maybe I just lived in the wrong places, but we didn’t have summer reading programs where I lived as a kid. I don’t even remember story times at the library. We certainly visited the library often and had lots of story times at home, but looking back I’m sorry not to have experienced all the fun activities that kids get to enjoy today.

Which may be why I’ve loved being part of our NYS summer reading program over the last few years. Granted, it’s only a peripheral part – but I’ve had terrific fun working on the NYS Summer Reading Program web site with the folks from the New York State Library and others all around New York. The site includes lots of games and links to activities for kids of all ages. What a treat to spend hours testing out games and quizzes all in the name of ‘work’.

Some new features of the web site were:

  • Be a Super Snooper, a flash based quiz created by The Ivy Group and the NYSL, encouraged students to explore EBSCO’s Searchasaurus.
  • Pictures from summer reading activities around NYS appear in a slide show created with Pictobrowser.
  • Links to interesting programming ideas, games, activities and other useful web sites streamed into the site using an RSS feed from a account.

RSS feeds from, tehcnorati and flickr helped me keep up on what other libraries were doing with their summer reading programs. Some of those ideas included:

  • Librarians around the country (world?) shared photos of their summer reading activities through a Summer Reading Programs flickr group. Currently there are 59 members and over 300 photos from summer reading activities. Loads of good programming ideas and lots of happy summer readers!
  • One of the neat programs I learned about through the flickr group was the Mill Valley (CA) Public Library’s Wish You Were Here postcard project. Kids who were traveling received a kit with games and activities. One activity was to send postcards back to the library from their far flung destinations. The postcards were shared on flickr.
  • Another terrific idea that I just read about on Helene Blowers’ blog was the “A Library Champion Lives Here” lawn sign project at Louisville Public Library. Kids who read 10 books received a number of prizes, including a “library champion” lawn sign. You have to see the great pictures on their web site and read the director’s comments about the project on Helene’s blog.

I know there were tons of other terrific, innovative ideas out there just waiting to be shared. Some places you can share your ideas and read about what others are doing include:

Hats off to all of you for your creativity, energy and spirit! Job well done! Now take a deep breath before the back to school programs begin!