Today is the first day of Spring. Do you know what that means? It means that there are less than 4 months until summer. What are you going to do for your teens at the library? Will this be another summer without a teen summer reading program? Really?
Not at my library! I’ve already started designing the first-ever Teen Summer Reading Program for the Paoli Public Library, and our teens are already excited for what’s ahead. So do you think you have what it takes to create your own Teen Summer Reading Program at your library? Here are roughly 15 steps to take if you think you’re ready:
- Ask your teen patrons and / or your Teen Advisory Board if they are interested in having a teen summer reading program at the library. Check to see if the high schools and middle schools have a teen summer reading program already in place. If so, it may be best to partner with those programs so teens don’t feel they are being pulled in two directions. No summer reading programs in the area? Teen interest? If so, proceed to step two.
- Look through theme ideas and resources for Teen Summer Reading Programs. You can trek out on your own for a theme, or do what I’m doing with my program, which is taking the theme from Collaborative Summer Library Program. This year (2014), the teen theme is “Spark a Reaction.” Also check out Pinterest to see what other libraries are doing with their programs; gather ideas of what you would like to do and can do with your teens.
- Choose dates and times for your teen summer reading program meetings. At the Paoli Public Library, our program will meet on Friday nights in June from 4 pm to 5 pm.
- Choose exactly what you’ll do for each meeting. For example, our program will meet four times in June with these activities:
- Forensic Science demonstration / presentation
- Cooking class – Fun, healthy, and quick foods for teens
- Nail art and makeovers
- Duct Tape DIY
- Look through bibliographies dealing with your themes topics. Find out how many books your library owns from the lists. Do you need to order more books from the list? Or can some of the books be found through Inter-library loan?
- Find volunteers to help with events. Tell them ahead of time what to expect and how they can help.
- Find funding and create a budget for the program.
- Create promotional and marketing material.
- Distribute the promotional and marketing material. Make sure your share the teen summer reading program news on social media, and hype the events up before the program starts. For example, you can do a countdown to summer reading by sharing the countdown on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, your library website, etc.
- Gather supplies throughout planning and especially in the few weeks before the program.
- Dry-run your events to find potential problems.
- Celebrate! Enjoy the summer reading program with your teens. It’s a lot of work, but it can pay off with more actively reading teens at your library.
- Survey teens and keep track of attendance and participation throughout and after the summer reading program.
- Reflect on results and what could be improved for next year.
- Report your results to the library board, the community, and to your teens.
- BONUS: Take a breather!
More resources and fun things to help plan your program….
- Spark a Reaction Resources - This includes a great list of professional resources and books to read to prepare for hosting a teen summer reading program and connect with teens.
- Spark a Reaction Bibliography - This is a bibliography of books to share with your teens for the Spark a Reaction theme.
- Demco’s Free Grant Search - This is a great tool for finding funding for your library programs.
- The Center for Children’s Books: Bibliographies - This has a great list of bibliographies of books assorted by themes and genres.
- My “Teen Summer Reading Program” Pinterest Board - This started as a board for LIS 647, but I’ve evolved it into my planning board.
- My “Programming Ideas for Libraries” Pinterest Board - This is a board for all areas of library programming.
Good luck with planning your library program! If you have any questions, ideas, or just want to chat with me, feel free to tweet me @sarahderinger88!