Cane Hill - Historic Washington Co - AR

Cane Hill - Historic Washington Co - AR
Shakespeare is Here

Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer Reading 2015 - Get Your Hero On

Summer Reading 2015 - Get Your Hero On

This will be my third Summer Reading Program, at our mostly rural public library system.

In 2013, I started as a volunteer, helping the teens create their Hobbit Tree, adding up the supplies needed, and how much they would cost. By the middle of May, the library offered me a position as an assistant to the Full-Time, Y/A and Adult Programming Librarian. (One person). My part-time position at nineteen and one half hours, and another part-timer helped conceive, create and implement programs for our county population of around 63,000 persons.

The Young Adults section in the library world was a newer thing, and my supervisor grew the department up out of nothing but a few books, and it now boasts a circulation rate off of the charts. 

We have active T.A.B.s (Teen Advisory Boards) at each of the four branches, and participation in programs range anywhere between two to over sixty. In these few years I have witnessed teens growing into adults who will always love the library for the services provided to them.

Our adult programs have consisted of two writers groups, two book clubs, a Kidney Smart class, Meditation, Free Movie Nights, Family Game Nights, Crochet, Auto Repair, Tools to understand the Affordable Care Act, Presentations of Haunted Arkansas, Free Computer Boot Camps, Computer Classes for the Elderly, How to work your new e-device, and a Community Pallet and Container Garden. The participation varies from zero, to seventy.

For the past two summers we did the bookmarks, where for each five hours read, the Teen or Adult Patron turns in a Bookmark with the titles and hours read. We have many voracious readers, and the bookmark count was in the many hundreds. It was seeing an avalanche coming, and wearing a big smile as we attempted to keep up with hours, weekly prizes, and having to beg for main prizes. Last year, we did not have much to offer in the way of incentives, and our participation was way down, but we still had tons of bookmarks.

Earlier this year, I hooked up with some Programming Librarians on Facebook; thanks to the inventiveness, and creativity of all of the members, I got the idea to do a Scavenger Hunt type of program. The light bulb came on, and we decided to change it all up.

Reading is wonderful, I am presently reading at least eight books, need to publish one complete review, and several more reviews are pending. I read a lot. It is an addiction. 

But, not all patrons read a lot, and so for years the lite / non-readers have been left out in the cold.

If there was ever a time for libraries to show their stuff, it is now.The way we are doing this is by doing six weeks of Scavenger Hunts! With a total of sixty (60) possible chances, the participant is given a two sided (fair type) ticket. They keep one, and drop the other into the envelope in front of the prize they would like to win. This year, our community outdid themselves, and have provided some awesome prizes.

The library is about books and reading, primarily, but I can attest that it is much, much more.

The library is a sanctuary from the heat, and cold. At the library, the homeless can rest comfortably in a chair, and safely close their eyes, and rest their weary souls. 

Some libraries have programs to feed the hungry. We offer patrons the opportunity to go out and harvest some goodies from our community garden. 

Many families and individuals are not able to afford the internet, and / or a computer. In today's world, you really cannot exist without connecting to the internet and world wide web.

Thanks to the Facebook Programming Librarian Interest Group we have opened up the excitement to all, and we are able to introduce even the readers to other services they may not have realized we offer. For every Scavenger Hunt task, we offer an alternative as not to ostracize anyone from participating. 

There is a possible ten (10) items to check off for tickets each week, with a total of sixty (60) tickets in all:
  • Taking selfies at a program or on the bookmobile gets them a ticket. . 
  • Our State Game & Fish eternally "loan" us fishing poles, and Fly Tying Kits that can be checked out with a Library Card. The main branch is the only one with room, so patrons can do an Inter-Fishing-Pole-Library-Loan...they can get a ticket for that, or they can check out a book about fish, fishing, or aquariums.
  • Go to an Atlas, find your birthplace, or the origin of your family, snap a photo, and upload it to our social media, or get a staff member to "stamp" your item.
  • On microfilm, find your date of birth, and see what happened in the news that day. The branches that do not have microfilm, can go with the patron to a database, and look it up online.
  • Like our social media pages. There is one for each week, and if they already have, they can upload a selfie. If they do not use the computer, they can write a note saying why they love the library, or get help with that if needed.
  • Ask about volunteering.
  • Fill out a T.A.B. application.
  • Take a stroll through the community garden, or take a selfie in a garden, or check out a book on gardening...
  • "Take a Compliment" from the tear off, comment about it on social media, or take it to a staff member for a stamp.
Depending on the library, or system, there are many ways to show the public what the library is about.

Library funding is under attack in our State, and Nation. We had over a million dollars cut from our State Library & Museum budgets for 2015 - 2016. The ARRA Broadband Initiative which brought free computer training to our library through partnerships, was successfully de-funded this year, even though it brought much needed training, skills and benefits to our citizenry.

As the old saying goes, "Libraries will get you through times of no money, better than money will get you through times with no libraries."

From ancient times to now, there have been natural disasters, and sick dictators who have attempted to obliterate libraries from civilization. It is vitally important that we reach every possible person, family, tribe or group to show them the services available through the library.

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