DATE: November 01, 2011
Summer Reading Success
The statewide Summer Reading Programs ran for 6 to 8 weeks. During that time libraries offered over 10,000 summer reading events, programs, and workshops attended by over 370,000 people. Close to 100,000 children, teens, and adults registered for summer reading. "We've made summer reading fun as well as educational and people are responding, "said MLS Youth Services Advisor Susan Babb.
Teens and adults account for major increases in participation. With a 150% increase in adult registration and a 22% increase in teen participation. Summer 2011 marked the first year that Massachusetts libraries were able to offer a unique program for adults, made possible by Massachusetts' membership in the nationwide Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP), a grassroots consortium of states working together to provide summer reading programming materials.
For summer 2011 the CSLP offered three programs with a world cultures theme: Novel Destinations for adults, You Are Here for Teens, and One World, Many Stories for children. "In a small library, we need all the help that we can get and we got it through themanuals, the great posters, certificates, and bookmarks. Our numbers are up and our patrons are happy," said one librarian.
Summer 2011 also marked the third year that the Boston Bruins have partnered with the MBLC and MLS to promote reading over the summer. The spring brought the Stanley Cup back to the Bruins and the team shared that victory with libraries by awarding special Stanley Cup Reading Rinks to six libraries selected from a statewide grant process. Libraries in Athol, Bourne, Chicopee, Framingham, Quincy, and Salisbury each received a special visit from the Bruins mascot Blades and a Stanley Cup Reading Rink which consists of consist of a Bruins logo rug, two bookcases made with hockey sticks, child sized Stanley Cup puck and hockey stick table with four child sized stools. "Bruins were a draw for some kids who otherwise wouldn't have participated,"said one librarian.
Team members Tim Thomas, Milan Lucic, Mark Recchi and other players also helped libraries develop Favorite Books of the Boston Bruins, a recommended reads list, to encourage children and teens to read a variety of books over the summer. The Bruins also offered prizes for children and teens selected from a pool of candidates who demonstrate outstanding summer reading involvement. Among the prizes is the opportunity to greet members of the Boston Bruins as they get ready to take the ice during a Bruins home game. "The Bruins promotional materials were a huge hit, the children wanted to read what the Bruins liked to read,"said a librarian.
Many libraries offered summer reading participants the opportunity to give back to the community. MLS facilitated library participation with Heifer International which works with communities to end hunger and poverty by empowering lives of self-reliance and hope with gifts of livestock. Groton Public Library created its own Read to Feed program with Heifer by setting a goal of reading 10% overlast year. "The kids more than met their goal by reading over 8,000 hours. Teens read over 2,400 young adult books, "said Groton Public Library Director Owen Shuman. As a "Well Done" reward, the Groton Public Library Endowment Trust purchased a goat and a llama through Heifer International to help families in need.
Massachusetts has offered statewide online summer reading programs since 2007. Participants register, write bookreviews, set goals, and track their progress online. Massachusetts was the first state in the country to offer such a program. Many libraries use the online program exclusively, "We especially like the online book club, it makes registration, statistics and kids reviews fun and easy," reported one librarian. Librarians are already looking forward to summer reading 2012 when the theme is night. The artist responsible for the 2012 promotional materials is also Massachusetts children's author, Brian Lies. Mr. Lies will be visiting select libraries throughout the state during summer 2012.
A slideshow of photos from this year's summer reading program can be found here.
The Board of Library Commissioners (mass.gov/mblc) is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.