New and Cool

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.  In the past, kids always kept track of their hours spent reading by coloring in clock faces on a paper log.  Then they’d bring their logs in to the library to show to a librarian and receive the appropriate prizes.  This new software works on the same priniciple, but makes everyone’s lives easier:  kids can go to their local library’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 child’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.  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.  Also, the software has a nifty feature built in that asks kids to write reviews of the books that they have read.  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.  It’s a nice way for kids to share with other kids what they’ve enjoyed reading, and it’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 they’re away, it will be quite easy for them to keep track of their summer reading without worrying about lost paper logs (I can’t tell you how many logs get lost or mutilated over the course of the summer).  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.  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!  I can’t wait to see how much easier this will make everyone’s lives this summer!