Librarians Help! Summer Reading

Lately I haven’t been keeping careful track of the ways I get to help people on my job, but I know easily what I did today — rewarding Summer Reading Program Finishers!

Here’s a nice article on the importance of Summer Reading.

They’ve done the work for me in talking about how much library summer reading programs help kids, so I’ll quote from one section:

The Impact of Innovative Summer Reading Programs

Public library summer reading programs are one solution to the “summer slide.” In an analysis of summer learning programs by Miller (2007), it was found that children can benefit from “hybrid” programs which combine elements of youth development principles with academic enrichment. Summer reading programs in libraries exemplify this kind of hybrid program. Barbara Heyn (1978) found that “More than any other public institution, including the schools, the public library contributed to the intellectual growth of children during the summer.” Drs. Celano and Neumann (2001), in a study prepared for the Pennsylvania Library Association, monitored differences between children participating in public library summer reading programs and those involved in local recreational summer programs. They concluded that, in addition to literacy related activities, children in library programs benefited academically from story hours, arts and crafts, and other special events designed to enhance the reading experience.

Current research points out that increased summer reading reduces summer learning loss. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has stated “A key step toward stopping the summer slide, is the development and launch of high quality programs that take advantage of time outside the school day and year to help children learn, grow, and develop” (Elling, 2009).

This summer, we had thousands of kids finishing the summer reading program, and today I personally rewarded about fifteen happy kids. I’m so glad we’ve helped motivate them to add reading to their summer.

I also have some exciting news: I just received a promotion, so I am now officially Youth Services Manager at City of Fairfax Regional Library!

For two years, I have been out of youth services. I was Youth Services Manager at Herndon Fortnightly Library, one of our community branches. But in July 2010, the county suffered a Reduction in Force, and I got cut from the library because I didn’t have enough seniority. For six months, I worked in the Office for Children as a Management Analyst, but in December 2010, I got to come back to the library. However, I was not in Youth Services, where it was clear my heart was. Now, I did still get to work with young library members on the reference desk. And I admit I like all library work. And I have always written my blog and website entirely on my own time. (It does NOT reflect any official position of my employer, but is composed entirely of my own opinions.) So I still read plenty of children’s books and go to programs about youth services work at conferences.

But now I get to do it as my official job again! Honestly, this week as it sank in, I felt a little overwhelmed. For one thing, I had a bad cold, so it’s harder to think about possibilities. But as I start recovering, my mind is percolating with ideas and things I want to try. I do believe that Librarian is a job that makes a difference, and I’m looking forward to touching kids’ lives.

On top of that, last weekend, I took my youngest son to the College of William and Mary and dropped him off in the dorm. A phase in my life has ended; all the better to focus on my dream job and an exciting career!

Spread the word — Librarians Help!

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