Friday, May 31, 2019

A Rambling Ode to Summer Reading

Summer Reading starts here this weekend! My job doesn't include staffing a public service desk or anything, so I mostly spend my summer working on special projects to clear out to-do lists and set us up well for Quarter 2, which starts in September. I'll also do the occasional storytime subbing or tabling event.
Bryce wearing purple glasses, caught talking mid-sentence. Bryce consequently has a silly face
I cannot WAIT to tell you about what this screenshot is from
(I also figured out alt-text on Blogger!)

This year I am PRETTY PUMPED because my coworkers and I recently opened a request form for the local libraries to have us visit for whatever they'd like to talk about or show us and our local staff BROUGHT IT. So far, we've talked about collection development and dreamed big about scalable projects. This summer, I'll get to staff a station at a reading camp (stations-based programming was my jam for awhile) and help at other events. Next Friday I'm even shadowing a floor shift afterschool during Summer Reading.

One weird thing about my job: it's great for someone who loves youth services librarianship but doesn't like anything about actually being a youth services librarian. I don't think I'll ever be there, and I still miss a lot about SRP. I figured I'd share here something I wrote about it last year. It was in one, long, rambling comment, so I'm breaking it up:

Summer Reading is a weird and wonderful time.

The children's area is bustling with activity and you're working the service desk more.
(My official desk time doubled. And then there's roaming the room).

You get to see kids you might never see otherwise, which is a blessing and a...not so blessing:
lots of kids who might not know library behavior expectations
and also probably don't see you as an authority
can turn your area into a chaotic tornado
for all but the couple minutes a day that an Adult Services librarian stops by
and is like, "whooo, quiet day today huh?"
and you sigh and continue to pick up the stack of 250 Pokemon graphic novels strewn across the floor in anticipation of the next wave of children
(not dissimilar to the time between waves in Horde Mode in Gears of War, now that I think about it).

On the other hand, kids who may have never been to the library before
or haven't been in FOREVER
come in and are like,
"I know you from somewhere..."
or they're like, "Do you know ___? She's my friend. She came to my school"
because oh yeah in May
YOU VISIT EVERY SCHOOL IN YOUR AREA and they are all here to join Summer Reading to read or do other library-related activities over the summer

And there are so many. So many.

And if you're on your A-game readers' advisory-wise
kids will ask you for good books and you will find the Perfect Book
and they will come back and tell you every single thing about it
and they might even become regulars once school starts again
and you will become one of the Adults in Their Lives
and they will tell you all about themselves
and you'll swap favorite jokes and silly facts.

Oh then you are running all these big programs/events
and local YMCAs unexpectedly bring 50 kids
and your well-prepared program turns into some big, loud, chaotic mess
but those kids still remember you next time
and will tell you about all about their favorite dinosaurs

or about this cool movie that they don't recall the name of
but they will tell you the entire plot
and you will ask if they think it might be the Little Mermaid
and they will swear that it's not
("but hey let me tell you about the rest of the plot of this one movie I saw
that is clearly The Little Mermaid
and also do you have The Little Mermaid on DVD?")

and you look it up and there are 600 holds on it
so you spend the next 30 minutes finding movies that are just enough like it to tide them over
until their hold comes in (or until they forget).

And then if you're lucky THEY will come back,
 but not with their class,
with their friends or their parents and then they become regulars
and they find you and high five you
when you're dressed to resemble a beer bottle in the Oktoberfest parade 
(okay this is getting a little specific)

All this to say Summer Reading is so draining but can be so rewarding
so bring your kid to the library to join the Summer Reading program

because making readers and library lovers out of your kids
so that they become engaged community members who enjoy reading
is literally what your YS staff is here for.=

(Maybe bringing your library staff gifts would be nice too
JUST KIDDING they can't accept your gifts HAHASOB
but some patience and some thank yous will be really, really appreciated).

What do you like best about Summer Reading?
Need to get pumped about SRP yourself? Check out these hype videos!

"Let this be our annual reminder
That we can all be something bigger"
--The Hold Steady

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