Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Time and the Reading is Easy!

Summer officially begins later this week, but the Library’s Summer Reading Clubs are already under way. Readers of all ages are reading like crazy and have begun turning in their reading lists and collecting the first prizes in this year’s Read on the Wild Side Summer Reading Club.

Public libraries have sponsored summer reading clubs for children for many years. Children’s summer reading clubs were intended to encourage children to develop a love of reading and libraries – and it works! It is pretty common to hear parents who bring their children to reading club programs reminiscing about coming to reading club programs when they were children. But some years ago adults started asking why do the kids get to have all the fun? Why isn’t there a summer reading club for adults too? Library staff agreed, and we added the teen and adult clubs.

TAB, our Teen Advisory Board, helps library staff come up with ideas for programming for teens. The TAB members suggested that movie tickets plus the chance to win the grand prize of a Wii video game console would be great lures to interest teens in participating in this summer’s club. Judging by the crowd in Teen Central these days, TAB was right!

When we first started the adult reading club we were surprised at the enthusiasm of many of our regular readers. They were already readers, but many adults like the sense of community that comes from participating in the reading clubs. We ask readers to indicate which books on their reading lists are their favorites and many of our readers like to stop and chat with staff about the books they are reading. Our “regulars” pay attention to our lists of patron’s favorite books and they like to try titles that have been popular with other readers.

It is fun to see people carrying book bags or water bottles that were the prizes for reading clubs in past years. I suspect you will see the waterproof paperback book cover that is one of this year’s prizes on books at area pools and beaches this summer, and in summers to come.

I should mention that library staff are not competing with you for the prizes. It wouldn’t be fair since we have such easy access to books and some of us are actually expected to read as part of our jobs. We do have our own summer reading club though, and the box in the staff lunch room with the raffle tickets for the staff prize is beginning to fill up.

Summer time and the reading is easy! Follow the links on the our web site and you can print your adult or teen reading folders on line and start your list now. Join your neighbors and participate in this summer’s Read on the Wild Side Summer Reading Club!