After a long day yesterday setting up our preferences on the summer reading software, I think – hope – that we’re ready to go live with it.Â This software should be a good addition to our summer program, since it allows kids to log their reading time (the number of hours they’ve spent reading) from a computer at home or from their vacation destination.Â Then when the kids come to the library, the library staff can easily look up how many hours each child has spent reading.Â No more shuffling through pages of colored clocks, no more worries about lost clock pages (though, of course, we still have hundreds of the clock pages available for those kids who would rather keep track that way).Â It’s pretty cool, and will be linked from the library’s home page for ease of use.Â I can even update the messages on the front page of this summer reading site to reflect upcoming events and other pertinent summer reading information.Â And best of all, I’ll have some really great statistics at the end of the summer, easily transfered to Excel format (now that I’m an Excel devotee, this totally excites me; the Abby of ten years ago is rolling her eyes at the me of today).
So today I’ll write up the parent information letter for the school packets, to be delivered starting on Monday, and will include all the news and necessary links for this new program.Â Hopefully the kids who participate this summer will be as excited about this as I am!
Last year was my first summer reading program, and I was very, very stressed out in the weeks leading up to the start of summer reading.Â I had thought that this year would be completely easy, since my worries of changing the prize structure and adding a charitable donation would be gone (everyone loved those two elements last summer), andÂ the scheduling of events would be much smoother.
In truth, though, I’m still quite stressed out this year.Â All of the performers were booked in January, all of the prizes were ordered & delivered & are sitting in boxes in my office, the calendar is complete and in the process of being printed (only 100 copies at a time so the copier doesn’t overheat); but I’m still stressed.Â Moving into the new building threw me off schedule in some ways, and I haven’t been able to jump back on that schedule track yet because of the increased business at the new library.Â A happy problem, to be sure, but for an organized person like me it’s a bit torturous to know that I’m not completely up to date with my work tasks.Â And then we throw summer reading into the mix: the flurry of activity necessary before the summer starts would have thrown me off schedule for other things anyway, and in this case it’s just throwing me further off schedule.
Ack, I’m getting stressed out just writing about it.Â Hopefully it will be quiet at work today so that I can check many, many things off of my “ongoing list extraordinaire.”Â Or else there won’t be much sleeping tonight for me…
On Wednesday, Maureen came from the Central Region to show me (and Lisa) how to use the really cool new summer reading computerized logging system.Â In the past, kids always kept track of their hours spent reading by coloring in clock faces on a paper log.Â Then theyâ€™d bring their logs in to the library to show to a librarian and receive the appropriate prizes.Â This new software works on the same priniciple, but makes everyoneâ€™s lives easier:Â kids can go to their local libraryâ€™s website and follow a link to set up an account; once their account is set up, the kids can log in their hours read on the computer and the software will figure out what prizes they have earned; and then the kids can visit the library and talk to a librarian, who can access each childâ€™s account from the library end of things, recording what prizes have been picked up, etc.
There are a few great reasons why I like this software.Â First of all, at the end of the summer I can generate much more accurate reports than I was able to do previously, including exactly how many kids participated in the summer reading program, how much time participants spent reading, and the age distribution of participants.Â Also, the software has a nifty feature built in that asks kids to write reviews of the books that they have read.Â The reviews can be anonymous, and I can moderate the reviews to ensure that proper language and decorum are used, and the reviews are accessible to all participants.Â Itâ€™s a nice way for kids to share with other kids what theyâ€™ve enjoyed reading, and itâ€™s quite useful for me to see what kids are really interested in reading.
In addition, if kids go away for part of the summer, and have access to a computer while theyâ€™re away, it will be quite easy for them to keep track of their summer reading without worrying about lost paper logs (I canâ€™t tell you how many logs get lost or mutilated over the course of the summer).Â And, for those kids who either prefer to use the paper logs or are too young to happily make use of the computerized feature, we will still have the paper logs available, and we librarians can enter the information into the system for them.Â Best of all, the software can be set up to automatically figure out prizes earned, making for a smoother summer for the library staff (it can be a bit overwhelming to calculate prizes while a group of six kids jostles for position in front of the desk).
Thanks to Maureen for discovering this software and for being willing to come out to the library to train us in how to use it!Â I canâ€™t wait to see how much easier this will make everyoneâ€™s lives this summer!
Iâ€™m afraid that I havenâ€™t paid as much attention to this blog as I should in the last two weeks; the start of my first summer reading program is just days away, and itâ€™s definitely crunch time.
Just when I think Iâ€™ve caught up, I think of one more thing that HAS to be done RIGHT NOW.Â Yesterday it was assembling large envelopes for the raffle items that have the logos of the donating stores on them.Â (One of the raffle items, just arrived, is pretty awesome, by the way: a baseball autographed by the actor and Red Sox fan Mike Oâ€™Malley, star of the show Yes, Dear.)
Today, hopefully, Iâ€™ll finish up all those nagging last minute items: making the raffle tickets, creating posters for each of the summerâ€™s events, stamping all those museum coupons with our official stamp, confirming the ice cream pick-up timeâ€¦ugh, Iâ€™m getting a stomach ache just thinking about the list.
With luck, next summer – my second summer on the job – will be smoother and easier.Â With luck, all the kinks will have been worked out by next year.Â With luck, I wonâ€™t be this stressed out and exhausted next summer.
Wish me luck, I need it!