Looking back over our first summer here at the Spanish Fort Public Library we have been blessed with a wealth of community supporters, teachers, volunteers, innovators, idea pushers and implementers, all with one common denominator, a true love of libraries. This past June we kicked off our first Summer Reading program, which highlighted a month long competition for readers of all ages. 482 community members signed up for the program, including 34 teens, 52 adults and 396 children ages 12 and younger. During the month of June the library logged over 3,000 books submitted and read just for the Summer Reading program alone. Spanish Fort has some readers! Summer Reading performances included weekly entertainment that were a delight for all ages, and included acts by Tomfoolery, Jon the Balloon Guy, Russell Davis, and our grand finale Animal Tales, Nature’s Olympians, where kids had the opportunity of touching a real live snake and got to meet Max the Kangaroo, and watch him bounce across the stage. Hoop for Fitness joined the library from Birmingham, for a magical hour and half interactive hula hooping show. Even some of the moms got up and joined the fun, reminiscing and hooping to M.C. Hammers Can’t Touch This. Want to see pictures? Just check out the library Facebook page and search for Spanish Fort Public Library. What a blast we have had thanks to you! The success of the first annual SFPL Summer Reading program could not have happened without your patronage, support or positive energy and the library staff can’t thank you enough.
So what does it take exactly to pull off a month long series of fun for a Summer Reading program? City support and radical optimism come to mind, including a passion for fun, creativity and encouraging the passion of reading, as well as, the positive growth of libraries in our communities nationwide. Libraries are the catalyst for free access to information and lifelong learning. Can you imagine a world without them? I imagine that to be a terribly sad place. So what does it take to create a successful summer reading program? What really happens behind the scenes?
SFPL Summer Reading (SR) 2016: What happens behind the scenes? Did you know?
- Summer reading planning began as far back as summer 2015, with budget planning.
- Summer reading entertainment was booked in February of 2016, with a huge savings for the library, as these same entertainers visited a majority of the public libraries across Baldwin County.
- A graduate student intern, working toward a Master’s in Library & Information Science, received class credit for 400 worked hours, roughly 2 and ½ months of assistance, to the library and the SR program.
- A teen volunteer program was initiated to assist specifically in extra volunteers for summer reading needs.
- Additional children’s books were ordered and catalogued to ensure quality collection for SR program.
- Local sponsorships assisted in summer reading kids prizes, giveaways, additional programs and overall success. Sponsors included Cain’s Piggly Wiggly, Ono Pet Photography, Missy Conrad-Mary Kay, HealthSource Chiropractic, Magic Nation Series, Ensec Pest & Lawn, Centennial Bank, McMurphy Orthodontics and Welcome Friends.
- Volunteers cheerfully worked 341 hours for the month of June, coming in to stuff bags and record reading logs, in addition to day to day library operations.
- Graphic design and marketing was created, written, and distributed via social media, library website, and local media channels.
- Positive customer interaction and information shared about summer reading was put in the hands of every library patron that visited SFPL leading up to the June kick-off.
- Preparation and communication for use of community building space with City staff ensured key logistics happened successfully.
In a nutshell, it took a village to pull off the 2016 Summer Reading program, and the ultimate success happened because of you. For everyone that participated thank you for your support and energy. We had a great first summer here at the SFPL. I hope that you all will continue to check out the library as we transition into the fall and our first year birthday which comes up this October.
Questions? Suggestions? We are always open to ideas from our community. For a chance to see some of the highlights of the 2016 SFPL Summer Reading program check out the libraries Facebook page by simply searching for Spanish Fort Public Libraries. For more general information please visit the library website www.spanishfortpubliclibary.org or call us at 251-410-READ (7323).
Meanwhile, see you at the library!
Tracy M. Cole