It’s almost time to grab your sun hat, sun protection -- and get your summer reading on!
Summer reading programs help kids keep up their skills, draw in reluctant readers through incentives and activities and help establish reading as a lifelong habit. Many library friends groups in Minnesota support summer reading programs.
Mollie Pherson, regional librarian for SELCO (Southeastern Libraries Cooperating) and SELS (Southeast Libraries System) contacted library directors with active friends groups in the SELCO region to gauge summer reading program support.
Here’s the sunny SRP picture in the SELCO region:
The Friends of the Austin Public Library donate money then library staff does the actual purchasing. They give a free book to all children registering for the summer reading program and a second book when they complete the program. All books have labels in them – A gift from the FOL – reinforcing the friends’ interest and involvement.
In 2012 the Friends of the Blooming Prairie Library will contribute $1,633 for eight programs – more than most years because a generous donor gave $500 to host a specific children’s program. The friends usually gives about $1,000 per year.
The Buckham Memorial Library Friends in Faribault support the SRP by purchasing incentives and supporting programming.
The Friends of the Dodge Center Public Library have sponsored the SRP performers in the past, and they also help purchase some summer reading prizes. This isn’t every year, but when things are tight, staff can make the ‘ask.’
The Houston Public Library Friends donate around $1,000 to buy books that tie into the summer reading theme, and they donate around $250 for buying small items to reward kids for reading.
The Friends of the Kasson Public Library put in $300 toward the SRP. Incentive purchases are included in the $300 donation.
The LaCrescent Public Library Friends pay for special speakers and provide money for SRP incentives and supplies. Typically, the friends contribute $500 toward supplies, and the amount varies on the speaker fees.
The Friends of the Lake City Public Library. Their Friends support the SRP by volunteering their time and, when asked, have given financial support. Waterskiing is another summer pastime. Lake City was the home of Ralph Samuelson, just a teenager when he invented the sport, and the city is known as "the birthplace of waterskiing." Reading while waterskiing, anyone?
The Friends of the Northfield Public Library provide annual support for SRP programming and purchase incentives: Coupons for local businesses. Staff purchase $50 in $1 coupons to reward kids for reading and meeting their weekly reading goals. Some of the businesses match what the friends buy so all the money stays in Northfield – keeping it local. The Friends of the Northfield Public Library purchase t-shirts for the summer teen helpers. Library staff say they could not do the SRP they do without the support of the friends.
The Friends of the Rochester Public Library fund incentives for the SRP.
Spring Grove Public Library Friends purchase incentives for participants and pay for all costs of the SRP, except employee time.
Although SRPs are deeply supported in the SELCO area, Pherson doesn’t point to any one reason why.
“This may have to do with shrinking budgets in the standalone libraries,” she said. “SELCO only reimburses for paper products, such as bookmarks, reading logs and posters. To give out incentives, books or other prizes, libraries have to include the SRP into the budget or look for community and library partners. I love seeing our FOL groups in the SE support summer reading!”
Learn more about summer reading programs – grants, themes, benefits and research -- here.
Does your friends group support summer reading programs? Let us know and we’ll feature your work in a MALF blog post.