I can hardly believe that the last time I wrote about our Summer Reading Program booklets was five summers ago. That’s utterly unreal to me. Since then I’ve heard from librarians across the country who have been interested in our program – and some who actually have done it with great success! Yay!!!
Over the years we have made some significant changes to the program that have made our program both easier and more popular than ever. Seriously. We have had people coming from the large city next door signing up for our program since they had heard about how great it is. And yeah, I’m totally beaming with pride while typing that.
Here are the highlights of our changes:
I’m putting the bestest-best change here at the top. When our Children’s Librarian Jennifer suggested that we use Google Sheets for tracking booklets, I almost fell out of my chair – it was one of those things where I was like “WHY DID IT TAKE US SO LONG TO THINK OF THIS?!” And I’m a bit red-in-the-face because this realization happened just this year. Three weeks into the program. Heh.
But Jennifer’s idea was so fabulous that I made time (along with a fabulous Teen Intern named Jayden) to convert our old paper Excel sheets system into a Google Sheet. We did this for Pre-Registrants along with our Walk-ins. And the change was immediately felt and loved by everyone on our team. It also de-cluttered our small circulation desk.
The best part is that now we can hand out our booklets at both of our library locations (it’s a long story). Previously we limited booklet pick-ups to the Children’s Library, but next year we’ll be able to make our booklets even easier for our patrons to get.
INCENTIVE FOR HELPING US
To try and increase the number of people who preregister for the booklets, we make sure to let people know that they’ll get a bonus coupon if they 1. preregister, and 2. pick up their booklets within the first two weeks of the program. This is more of a bribe for the parents/caregivers. We do this because it helps us know how many booklets to print as well as helps get kids into reading mode sooner rather than later. We want this to be an active and fun memory-making experience, and the longer kids wait to get going, the less of an all-summer experience it is for them.
STAMPS STAMPS STAMPS
We know that stamps are always popular with the kids, but they are totally popular with us, too.
When we started out, we used a self-inking stamp. Eventually it gave up and became more of a pain to try and use. So we broke apart the unit and created hand-stamps using LEGO bricks and kragle.
And then, Jennifer came up with a wonderful idea: get some permanent stamps for use at our library, and then she could take the LEGO’d one to her off-site programs. And we have a lot of those because our site is teeeeny-tiny.
Aren’t they pretty?! I went through this Etsy seller and had a wonderful experience. Pricey? Yes. But worth every penny.
And we also made it an option for businesses who participate in our program to get a new small self-inking stamp. We drop them off when we drop off an example booklet to each business.
BOOST EVENT ATTENDANCE
Several years back, Jennifer hit upon the perfect bonus activity: attending library events. Need I say more?
Here’s another “bang your head on the desk it’s sooooo obvious” idea that Jennifer had a few years back. It has made creating the actual booklets a bajillion times easier:
Print out a master copy of the inner pages, and then use that to print out your booklets using the beautiful collate option. Since we use cardstock for the cover, then we have to do those by hand since our copy machine can’t handle automatically printing on both sides of thick paper.
And I think that about covers all of the adjustments we’ve made over the years.
Finally, I want to do something that I didn’t do on my first post, and that’s to share our editable files for our booklets! Click on the image below to instantly get a zip file containing all of our Publisher files for our booklet! Enjoy!!!