How did you spend your leap day? I spent mine at the beautiful Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, being inspired by the ideas and energy of children’s librarians from around the system. Summer Library Program is very important for public libraries and this is the group of individuals involved in planning the programs.

Marge Loch-Wouters was this year’s guest speaker. She is currently Coordinator of Youth Services at the LaCross Public Library in Wisconsin. She’s a storyteller and blogger, too. During her presentation, she encouraged planners to “put the fun back in summer”! Ways to do this include: ask questions like… why are we doing things this way? Does the way we are doing things help us accomplish the goals we have? She reminded planners that it’s important to recognize when parts of your program are no longer working and need to change.  Her presentation was a solid mix of interaction, practical ideas, and inspiration.

Thank you to 8 Silly Rabbits Magic for their lunchtime performance! And thank you to NEKLS Technology Specialist Dan Alexander for creating a fun 1/2 hour video introduction to many performers from the Performer Directory.

The afternoon Table Talks produced soooooo many great ideas! I tried to track as many as I could and promised to include them in this post. Here’s some of the things the participating libraries have done or are thinking about doing.

  • Night at the museum (families camp out at the library)
  • Ugly dolls event  – biggest teen program ever!
  • Building on the “dream big” theme — night – glow in the dark sidewalk chalk and paint
  • Astronomer from NASA – Kevin Manning – end of May (Basehor and Bonner)
  • Infant/toddlers once per month partner with Parents as Teachers (Parents as Teachers provides a snack)
  • Teen programs every other week
  • Family nights
  • Observe the Moonlight has activities
  • Film at 11 AM
  • Cool off in the library
  • Brown bag lunch
  • Partner with middle school – helps with number of teens participating in summer reading (get to earn homework passes! Bonner Springs – has turned volunteers into readers – worked with school media specialist)
  • Family storytime
  • Turner tie dye shirts w/teens
  • Sat afternoon movie
  • Bingo for “are you reading?” dollars
  • Read-a-palooza (TSCPL) – preschool storytime, school age reading, craft – The local Y heard about it and started bringing in kids… really increased numbers
  • End of summer – Kindle prize giveaway  – read a book and write a review for each book (ticket gets placed in drawing)
  • End of season pool party (Pizza Hut pizza) plus big prize awarded
  • Older kids 5 chapter books, younger kids 20 books
  • Group of book reviewers for when new books come in
  • One library has no registration process at all for summer program – they get info sheet and name goes into hat for weekly drawing
  • Mailer – direct to door mailer (cost is less than .15 per piece) – check on post office website
  • Diane Trinkle’s/Nortonville deconstruction  — Ottawa heard Diana talk about it and tried it and everyone loves it – ask people for their old stuff so kids can tear it up – computer stuff, etc
  • Holly/Atchison suggests making something from destructed stuff
  • Have a store with your summer reading prizes – buy things with points earned in the program
  • For an end of the program celebration, the fire department turns on water for kids to play in
  • End of summer – Kim/Sabetha penguin party – crushed ice and sno cones
  • Ice cream party at end of season
  • •Minute to Win It” style games – it’s a tv show
  • Many track reading minutes not number of books read – some of the larger libraries are using Evanced.
  • KCK has summer reading store – they have a mascot, too
  • TSCPL every two hours children get a prize –they do have a time tracker – log time on computer using evanced
  • Looking for a sponsor for 0-18 months TSCPL with different prizes (board books rubber ducky   mother goose rhyme keychain    grand prize – handmade quilt??)
  • Evanced at Basehor – kids and parents can log in at home – they think it’s great – first year you teach everyone, then it’s easier
  • Babies until 2 – read books to them and receive a board book
  • Important for kids to see librarians as you promote in schools – Bonner does storytime in school
  • Paola writes a skit and acts it out (kids remember it for years!)
  • Paola does online form registration now too and would not do without it now (gets them on an email list so they can use for promoting events etc)
  • Troy – DJ comes – even toddlers love (the lights) – teens come from 8-10 – all set up once but appeals to various ages
  • Theater make up (Washburn University theater department student is helping one library with a zombie theme – doing makeup)
  • Passports: libraries are using passports in different ways
  • Getting prizes from organizations and people – people contact everyone they can think of asking for freebies
  • Zentangles (Suzanne McNeill)
  • Smash books (journal scrapbooks)
  • Cake pops with teens (mix cake with frosting and put on popsicle stick)
  • Extension programs – contact your extension office – one office brought trees for each child – had a breadmaking demo – they also do a healthy meals program.
  • Corps of Engineers – they do good programming and it’s free!
  • Video contest using USB cameras from TechSoup ($8 – need to get a minimum of 6 of them)  “I Geek ___ “ and Library commercials
  • Tie dye – use sharpie markers on tshirts – spray them with alcohol – makes them fuzzy
  • Small libs struggle with only one person – how to do it all?
  • Hide and seek in the park
  • Movie night
  • Computer classes or mentoring in computers
  • Art classes
  • After school program homework help
  • Game night
  • Glow in the dark projects (google it – lots of good ideas)
  • Free swim day for kids who are signed up for summer reading – when they register they get a laminated card for pool pass
  • National Geographic has picture of US at night – project it
  • Powell Observatory in Louisburg – Sat night star gazing show
  • Operation Wildlife presentation
  • After dark mini golf in the library (appeal to males)

Thank you to everyone who shared during the day! It’s what made the workshop an overall success.  I’d love to post more in-depth blog posts here, with details about many of these specific projects and ideas. If you’re willing to write a post about your idea, would you please email me? 

NEKLS Resources — please use them!

  • There are many books and magazines in the NEKLS professional collection (VOYA magazine, Library Sparks, for ex.)
  • The sno cone, cotton candy, and popcorn machines
  • An Xbox with Dance Dance Revolution, a Wii with Wii Sports and Wii Fit Plus
  • A projector
  • The Ellison machine and dies
  • A selection of rhythm instruments
  • The NEKLS email list for children’s librarians

Contact Teri at NEKLS to get on the email list or to reserve equipment!

Thanks again for a great day!  — Brenda