Monday, April 23, 2012


This year's Collaborative Summer Library Program theme is Dream Big. Which is very appropriate for libraries all across the country. Seriously, if there were ever a time that libraries needed to dream big, it is now. Too many libraries are experiencing budget cuts, staff layoffs and less hours. Yet this inspiring theme brings librarians back to square one with their young readers and reminds everyone that libraries are the perfect place to dream big dreams. All hope is not lost, so as the strong advocates of reading all summer long, librarians will plan programs that will fill the summer months, but the memories will last long after the little ones are back in school. What should creative libraries do for Dream Big... Read. Well, the ideas are endless but as the theme says, read. That is read further in this blog. Summer Reading Programs don't always have to go along with the CSLP, but this year's theme is just too wonderful to pass up. This is due in part that all children dream. (Don't let the secret out, but so do some adults.) They dream of hitting a home run in the big league, or becoming a world class ballerina or some just dream of a tree house where everyone in the neighborhood hands out. All dreams are important, whether they are big or small. All paths to dreams and how to make them come true can easily be found in the library. With this in mind it is never too early to think of ways to entice children to participate in the summer long programs. It's as easy as giving them a sneak peak to the summer's events. One way to give a hint but not spoil the surprise is to place clues around the library to see if children can piece together what the theme is for this year. For example, pictures of night skies, stars, and other items that are related to dreams. Once the children have found the pictures (four or five) have them fill out a form that asks them what they believe all the pictures have in common. If they get it right, the library could provide a small gift such as a sticker, pencil or piece of candy. Another activity that might take some time, and a little bit of money but it may worth the effort in order to grab children's attention and interest in coming to the library during he summer. Have a craft day before summer where each child could make a dream catcher. Once the dream catchers are made, ask the children if the staff could hang the catchers in the library. Most children will enjoy having their work of art on display. Once the library is decorated, a sign can be placed at the check out desk "Catch your dream at the Library this Summer." If this doesn't generate questions and interest, it would be very surprising. Last but not least, if a librarian wants to generate a "buzz" simply place the word "Dream" all around the library. Patrons who notice the signs will begin to wonder about the placement of the word in the library. When the questions begin to come, answering them will be as easy as, "stay tuned, it's coming this summer." It's a little bit of sneaky way of getting interest,but it's all in fun. The purpose of Summer Reading programs is not to fill the days with long reading assignments. (If it were, kids would take off faster than a tornado.) Have fun with the theme. If the librarians are having fun, the children will too. So get a little creative, but by all means get started EARLY. Children are already DREAMING about summer vacation. Why not help them find their dreams a the library!
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