- I love the idea to not have staff-led programming during the first and last weeks of summer reading. Since these two bookend weeks see tons of kids at the summer reading table, we could use as much staff support to sign kids up and hand out prizes--even with an army of teen volunteers on hand. In theory this programming lull will also help ease staff into the SRP.
- Series programming really seems to work well for a potential audience with the whole summer off. Both my picnic lunch and movie programs did consistently well this summer, and I will make sure to schedule both series into the Summer 2013 plan.
- Special programs fill up fast, especially if they have the word "party" tacked on the end. If I opt to include a party program in future summers, I will absolutely offer at least two sessions to accommodate demand. However, I'm currently not sure that I want to offer these planning-intensive and demanding-of-staff programs during summer reading, when we already have lots of featured performers who can reach a much larger audience. I'll have to ponder that thought.
- I need to rethink my summer craft programs. While the crafternoons were successful, I think there is significant room for improvement. This summer we offered two crafternoons--one in June, one in July--where supplies were available in the program room for a 90-minute period. A children's staff member was on hand the entire time to explain the craft, provide help when needed, and supervise. Despite the fact that our advertising said families could attend at any time in the 90-minute window, 95% of our participants showed up at the very beginning and were finished and gone fifteen minutes later. I want to figure out a way to meet the craft wants of my customers while utilizing staff and supplies more effectively. I'll be scouring blogs for ideas, but I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
- While we had great summer reading displays out in the main library area, we didn't have one for use in the programming room. As a result, at some programs we remembered to talk up summer reading and at others we forgot. I want to make some sort of mobile, attractive summer reading display that we can take into programs to promote the summer reading program at all library events.
Those are my thoughts for now as I look back on my first summer in charge of summer reading at my branch. I'm sure more ideas and criticisms will present themselves before it's time to plan for Summer 2013, when I'll also sit on the district-wide committee to plan the whole reading program. Until then, I know I join my staff in breathing a sigh of relief at having crossed the finish line.