posted June 19, 2014 12:25 PM by Gemma Doyle
It's June, which means Summer Reading time at public libraries across the country. Last summer I was temporarily working as a young adult librarian, juggling my first ever summer reading program, and I can tell you that Summer Reading is both the most exhausting and rewarding part of being a youth librarian. It is seriously two months of stress and terror (did I bring enough snacks for this program? Did I bring enough prizes? What about the kids who didn't sign up but want to come anyway - did I bring extra supplies?) but it's what the bulk of the programming budget is spent on, too, so it's an interesting time with lots of fun things happening. As the YA librarian I had my hands full enough, so I didn't help out much with the children's Summer Reading program, which is about 300% busier. (If anyone is thinking about becoming a children's librarian at a public library, I would advise them to spend a summer helping out with Summer Reading first, so they know what they are getting into, because holy crap, it is ridiculously busy. Rewarding, but busy.)
My situation last summer was a little special because I started the job in May and had about a week to plan all of the programs and get the brochure printed off and distributed to the schools, so... don't do that. The programs all revolved around the "Beneath the Surface" theme (this year it's "Spark a Reaction") and mostly went really well, despite the lack of real planning time. The only one that didn't was the movie night picture Tremors, which I loved when I was a teen. Unfortunately, I don't think I've seen it at all in the last decade, and a rewatch before choosing it for Summer Reading would have been a good idea. Do you know how much profanity is in that movie? Yeah, a lot. My 12-13 year old audience loved it, but I heard from parents for the next month. Oops.
This summer I am both sad and relieved to not be working at a public library so I can be part of all the craziness (the thing they don't tell you is that you will never stop having great programming ideas, even long after you stop putting together programs) and the ultimate goal of getting books into the hands of kids.