I am linking up with Monday Listicles this week to answer Stasha’s prompt of things which we can’t understand. I thought I would use this as the platform to kick off my annual whining about my busiest program of the year: The Summer Reading Program.
This year will mark my eighth summer with the library and summer is by far the the busiest time for me. There is an influx of kids, their parents, and the annual Summer Reading Challenge. According to the American Library Association website, “Summer reading programs began in the 1890s as a way to encourage school children, particularly those in urban areas and not needed for farm work, to read during their summer vacation, use the library and develop the habit of reading.” In the eight years that I have done Summer Reading it has evolved from me trying to do all things for all people to me doing all things for some people (ba dum bum!).
Ten memes to help me rant about summer.
This year my library has changed how we refer to our summer program. When we called it a program, people thought it was a camp and would leave their kids at the library all day. Kids would enter the library when I arrived and be there all day. After a few weeks boredom would set in and before I could even get in the door I would have a gaggle of kids asking me stuff.
Most schools assign a summer program and inevitably towards the end of summer there is that one kid/parent/ family who shows up at the end of August in a tizzy over a project which is due. Of course they don’t want the books available, they want to easier books which their more on the ball classmates have already checked out.
We have recently raised the age limit for unattended children at the library which still doesn’t stop people from leaving their children at the library. Children that I have never met must add.
Summer reading is really to prevent summer slide, that slump because kids get TEN weeks off to not be in school. There are incentives to help motivate readers. Because I am a woman of excess, my first year was all about everybody gets a prize. My nervesand my budget doesn’t allow this and people may not get all of the prizes they think their kid is due.
Each year summer camps happen. A few would call me ahead of time to set up special programs or to make sure we had enough supplies. One camp, no matter what I say just shows up. Like, a bus literally pulls up to the library and drops off a bunch of kids..
In lieu of a structured camp, people like to send their kids to the library to volunteer. Most volunteers are great but some….
I always joke that since I don’t have my MLIS I don’t now all of the traditional rules. That said, my storytimes are LOUD. This, coupled with the sheer number of more people at the library means that summers are way more noisy. I post hours of my scheduled programs because people have mentioned the noise level in the past.That doesn’t stop people from coming into the library and being annoyed.
People holding up closing time is not exclusive to summer but it seems that it’s worse when the sun is still shining, the smell of barbecue perfmes the air and the next day a performer is coming so there is no real program prep.
But, it’s not all bad. I come from a long line of fussers and had to uphold tradition. The rush of different programs, crowds has me feeling like:
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