And another summer reading program has come…and gone…
It’s been quite the year since I last posted, which is my only excuse for not posting since June of 2017. Attendance at our programs hit an all-time high in FY’18: an astounding 8,509 for all children’s and teen programs (and of that, 518 was teen attendance and 7,991 was attendance at children’s programs). I say astounding because I work in a town with a population of approximately 6,000 people; for us to have attendance just over 8,500 in a town that small is pretty amazing.
I added several regularly occurring programs in the past year, including afterschool movies in the story room, regular afterschool craft programs, and the sensory playtime. Afterschool movies are a terrific low-key program, possible now that we have a projector in the story room. Often the once-monthly family movie night upstairs in Volunteers Hall can be a little intimidating for younger children or children with sensory issues, so it is wonderful to offer an alternative in a smaller room that is inside the children’s room. It is easy for kids to go in and out of the room during the movie, so if anything feels too overwhelming, it’s easy for attendees to take a break. And, of course, it’s a great afternoon activity for kids who are in the library after school. My deepest thanks to the teen volunteers who provide the supervision during the afterschool movies!
And the afterschool craft programs are also heavily dependent on teen volunteers. Sometimes the teen volunteers run the craft completely on their own, and sometimes I do the teaching of the craft and the volunteers are my assistants. Either way, we are able to provide a great range of fun artsy programs throughout the school year.
But my favorite newer program is the Sensory Playtime. It has taken a lot of work to set up the systems for sensory playtime: I distinctly remember sitting on the floor of the story room sweating bullets as I tried to assemble the water table twenty minutes before the start of the first playtime, and my great relief as my two awesome teen volunteers (both seniors) breezed in, saw my panic, and said to me, “Don’t worry, we’re here now!” Since that first rather terrifying day, the set-up process has been streamlined, and I have gradually added to the assortment of sensory activities. We now offer, on a rotating basis, Moon Sand, Dyed Rice Noodles, Rice Tubs, Colored Salt, Wash the Dinosaurs, the water table, Cold Prints, playdough, Dirt & Worms, and too many other activities for me to list here.
This was all possible, mind you, because I knew I could rely on my awesome teen volunteer B—–, who provided the supervision and welcoming personality during each playtime. I took care of the planning, written materials creation (including signs for each station and parent handouts for each playtime), and most of the set-up (including doing things like dying the rice noodles the morning of the program), and B—– was my reliable outgoing supervisor for each playtime. It would have been nigh on impossible for me to get this program going without her, and I will be forever grateful to her. I’ll miss her immensely now that she has headed off to college, but thankfully the sensory playtime process is smooth and easy now, so I think I can handle things without her… 😉
So, what is new in programming for FY’19, you ask? Truthfully, there isn’t much room left in my calendar to add new things – we have something scheduled for every single afternoon – but I have managed to squeeze in a program that I am calling “GraviTrax Challenge.” I was really intrigued by the new Ravensburger marble raceway system (find more information here), and I am hoping that I can make it into a cool program for ages eight and up. I’m limiting enrollment to six kids, and I’m going to have them work as a team to build a marble raceway that will get the marble from the start all the way to the finish. I love that there is a building app available from Ravensburger, and I’m excited that we are going to have a children’s room iPad so that kids can use the app to help create their raceway. If the September program goes well, then I will purchase another GraviTrax set, and for the October program we will have two teams of three kids each working on a design. Fingers crossed that this goes as well as I think it will, because it seems like an awesomely fun way to work with physics and engineering.
That’s a quick update on the new programming that I’ve added in the last year and will be adding this year. Obviously, there are lots and lots of ongoing programs like book groups and storytimes that also deserve attention, but since they’re not new to my library, I haven’t mentioned them here.
And stay tuned for updates on collection development, what’s new in those ongoing programs, and, of course, daily library life!