New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

Will Winter Ever End?!?

by Chrissie Morrison, YSS President

If I had to sum up this entire winter with only one word, it would probably be “SNOW!”  There have been record amounts of snowfall all around the country this year, and I am pretty sure my library has never before closed early, opened late, or completely closed this many times in a single winter.  People like to joke that spring has been cancelled and that this winter will never end – but Youth Services Librarians all know that SUMMER IS COMING!  Although I know some people probably hate having to think about summer reading already, I appreciate the forced break from my current reality.  Planning for our Summer Reading Club (SRC) is a solid reminder that the snow will eventually melt and allow me to resume lunchtime walks without fear of a broken ankle or hypothermia.  Starting on plans for the SRC also allows me to escape the stir-crazy, cabin-fevered teens of today and to dream about the eager SRC VolunTeens of June.  

One of the most interesting things about Summer Reading is how drastically it changes the Teen Area.  Not only do we tend to see a completely different clientele during the summer months, but we also rotate in a new crop of teens every year.  As my older teens graduate from high school and move on to the “grown up” section of the library, the elementary school graduates move up to become the next generation of library teens.  While I completely feel for the parents who don’t want to admit their kids are growing up, I [inwardly] laugh a little every time a parent gets that google-eyed look of disbelief that their incoming 6th grader now qualifies for the *TEEN* SRC.  I can only imagine what it will feel like when my own children reach that milestone; it’s hard enough to see my former storytime kids showing up to VolunTeen trainings!
Between the Kids’ SRC, the Teen SRC, and managing my library’s VolunTeens, I spend an outrageous amount of time and energy planning for the SRC every year… but, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Though I plan for months and months only to have the summer fly by in what seems like an instant, the benefits are well worth the effort.  I know, for instance, that our SRC game helps to prevent the “summer slide” by keeping reading fun and giving kids and teens some extra incentive [raffles!] to spend their vacation time reading.  Our SRC events and museum pass program provide free family entertainment in a time when many people cannot afford a lot of extras.  And our VolunTeen program provides valuable community service opportunities and job-training to teens whose part-time work prospects are largely taken up by adults who are struggling to make ends meet in these tough economic times.
Though every library modifies their Summer Reading Program to suit the needs of their staff and patrons, many things remain the same.  And as I was thinking about the various functions of the SRC, I was reminded of a song by The Byrds.  (Please forgive me the liberties I took with the lyrics.)

For Summer Reading (read, read, read)
There is a season (read, read, read)
And a time to every purpose of the library.

A time to read, a time to report.
A time to work, a time to play.
A time to win, a time to lose.
A time to borrow all the materials you can choose!

Happy planning, everyone!