- A less stressful SLP? I'm not sure if that is really possible. However, I've made it a point to always have one day each week (two if we are lucky) without any programs scheduled. It gives a day to not only catch our breath but have a day for finalizing that week's last minute needs (supplies); a day to update reading records, etc.
- One of our most successful stress reducers that has evolved over the years is that, in addition to the children earning free books, we set up a "school supply store" at the end of our SLP program for the children to browse through and select as their prizes. For that week, our meeting room is the best "store" in town...choose the school supplies you want and a book of your choice (I buy multiple copies of popular titles; series; or characters through our vendor and get good discounts) and no money needed!
- We also changed our programming schedule so we could potentially allow everyone on our staff one week off in June and July (but only one at a time ;->). Because we work with kids, we shouldn't have to give up two of the best months for vacations and family time in the year. It is radical and not everyone does it (many are used to August vacations after so many years when June-July weren't allowed). But it has definitely made it more zen!
- Our craft room contains files of every SRP held in the past 30-some years, organized by statewide theme, with notes as to success or failure and ideas to improve each activity. Bigger craft activities have their own files. Statewide themes tend to cycle between games, food, animals, mysteries, etc. so we revisit a file from a similar theme to jumpstart planning. Ideas are recycled a lot with new ones thrown in for balance.
- A few years ago we decided that the five of us who do programs would each take a week of the SRP. The sixth week, we would split up the programs. We do four programs a day, four days a week during the summer. This includes one story time. We hold programs for all of the area summer day camp kids (Boys and Girls Club, Parks Department, etc.). It's been so nice to be responsible for one week of programs for all of the camps than the previous one day a week.
- I decided I needed a committee to assist me in planning Summer Reading. When we created this committee it was comprised of myself, one representative from each branch and my director (she plans the adult summer reading) and teen librarian when she was hired. This has been very helpful because there is more than just me that knows what is supposed to be going on. Also if staff have questions and I am not available, chances are there is someone around that was part of the planning.
- The very first thing I do to eliminate some of the Summer Reading Program stress is to talk over with my assistant some of my ideas and what I would like to do. I would be absolutely lost without her as she keeps me grounded. I try not to have programs on Mondays or Fridays as this helps us "catch up or even "get ahead". The most important factor for me is to be organized and well prepared.
- We decided that the reading portion of the program would be the same for all ages, which is different from years past. Our goal is to keep people coming to the library, so we're giving reading logs out on a weekly basis. Each returned log is an entry into a grand prize drawing. Everyone gets a book and bookmark at the end. We don't care how many books are read, how many minutes you read, just that there is reading happening!
What do you do to make summer easier and more sane?
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