Monday, May 20, 2013

The Great Summer Reading Thermometer

When we sat down to plan summer reading this past winter, we talked about increasing our stats.  While this is always something that we want to do, in addition to putting on a quality program, the reasoning behind it is as follows.  Every couple of years our library system conducts a community survey.  One of the really surprising results every time this goes out is that there are many library users who are not familiar with our summer reading program for ages 0-adult.  Somehow we are missing getting the word out to these people, despite our many ways of advertising.  It is a big deal when we run a program in all departments for 1/4 of the year and people don't know about it.  We needed a new way to get word to our customers.

Our plan
In the past, our librarians tended to be the big "pushers" of summer reading.  After all, it is easy to talk about a program to people who come right to you and ask about it.  This year we are encouraging everybody on staff to push the program.  Our circ staff can ask customers if they picked up a summer reading form as they check out books.  Our pages who are in the stacks can offer a basket and a summer reading form.  This opens the door for them to talk about the summer reading program.  Nobody is exempt.  We are being proactive.  After all, when you go shopping, good staff do not wait for you to come up to them with questions.  They ask what they can help you with.

We came up with 2 big goals for the summer-increase our registrations by 10% and increase our # of finishers by 10%.  We are offering milestone rewards for all staff at the halfway point (donut holes in the breakroom) and at the end (a pizza party).  I created a thermometer that will hang in every location's breakroom.  The milestones are clearly marked so everybody is a part of the summer reading process.  Plus, it creates fun in the midst of summer reading.

This is our first year trying this so I am sure that we will need to do some tweaking at the end of the summer.  How do you encourage all staff to participate in summer reading?

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