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Summer Matters Library Partnerships: Programming Ideas
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Programming Ideas

  • Be an integral part of the summer enrichment program! Work together with your partner to develop an original and creative program tailored to kids' interests and needs and the library's strengths.
  • Host a family night at the library to introduce family members to everything the library has to offer. Have food, music, and fun programs and events for the whole family. Enable participants to sign-up for library cards.
  • Arrange for the bookmobile and/or library staff to visit the summer enrichment site. Kids get to see the librarian outside the library and see the library as more than just a building full of books.
  • Provide training to kids on how to use the library for research, and work with summer enrichment staff to develop a research project that students can work on in the library.
  • Is your library planning a renovation or update? Hold focus groups with the summer enrichment kids so they can tell you how they would like the library to look.
  • Bring together information about the community to help the kids learn about where they live.
  • Lead a book discussion program relating to the summer enrichment curriculum. The discussion(s) could take place at the library and/or the summer enrichment site.
  • Provide summer program staff with booklists, websites, and books relating to their summer curriculum to help them provide their summer enrichment program.
  • Tell teens about volunteer and community service opportunities at the library and invite them to join your teen advisory group (or start a teen advisory group!).
  • Develop a scavenger hunt based on the summer program's curriculum.
  • Make kids feel special and give them VIP passes to the events you present for them at the library.

Literacy is a key component of the community-based summer enrichment programs and the library can help students and their families become readers. Some reading-focused ideas include:

  • When signing new readers up, say: "Welcome to the community of readers."
  • At the beginning of summer reading programs and activities, ask attendees to turn to the person next to them and tell their neighbor what book they're reading. Invite one person to share his or her book recommendation in front of the audience and give that person a book as a prize.
  • Lead a summer reading cheer at the beginning of children's programs and activities.
  • Set up wall displays of questions about books.
  • Bulletin board: when kids read five books, write their name on the die cut.
  • Bulletin board: invite teens to write and post book reviews for others to read.
  • Hang mirrors in the teen area for teens to write on with paint pens, creating a communal book list and review area.
  • Host an "I can read" party or "Chapter book friends party."
  • Host a Paws to Read program where kids learn to read by reading to dogs.
  • Develop a summer book buddies program where younger children read to teens.
  • Lead a craft program for teens at which they create library t-shirts with silk screening. Wearing the t-shirts is likely to generate a sense of community among the wearers.
  • Hold a "create your own book cover" workshop: replace book covers on teen books with covers created by teens.
  • Host book-making and book arts craft programs.
  • Create space on your website where teens can post book reviews, or invite teens to post book recommendations on a community board in the library.
  • Invite kids to create artwork based on books, the summer reading theme, or the summer enrichment curriculum, and display it at the library. Invite kids and their families to attend a gallery-opening style event:
    • Bookswap: invite teens to exchange books they've already read.
    • Read-in: invite children or teens to bring along beach chairs and towels and read in the library.
    • Reading time: set aside a time for staff to help children practice their reading skills.