APM: I bet that many Atlanta Parent readers participated in SRPs when they were kids. How are programs the same or different now? Why should they take their kids to the library for SRP?
EB: Studies show that the vast majority of adult library users were introduced to the library when they were children, quite often through storytimes or the summer reading program. These early, positive experiences of reading have a lasting effect on a child’s experience of the joy of reading. Many of us remember our favorite summer reading program as a child – the theme art, moving our name tag from one wall to the next, keeping track in a beloved book log, and getting prizes or books before the new school year began. The only thing that’s changed since then, is that there are more amazing books, and it’s even easier to participate.
APM: Summertime is busy for families with vacations, camps for kids, swimming, etc – Why should they make time for SRP? How can they squeeze it in?
EB: Most families have a pretty loaded summer schedule. There’s a lot to do, from summer camps and sports, to camping and family vacations. The great thing about reading is that it is something you can take anywhere! Whether you’re listening to an audiobook on a road trip, reading an e-book on your device, or a stack of picture books on a camping trip, books are the perfect companion to so many summer activities. But the Summer Reading Program isn’t just about reading, it’s about exploration. Families can check out passes to the aquarium, museums, the Zoo, park passes, and even ukuleles! The sky’s the limit, and it’s all free at your local library!
APM: You are a children’s librarian. What have you done or seen that has worked really well to engage kids? Why do you love library programming for kids?
EB: I have always felt that public libraries are the perfect intersection of imagination, curiosity and wonder for children. As children’s librarians, we find endless ways to connect children to memorable characters, stories, hands-on activities, culture and art. Every summer, for a few short months, we have the opportunity to shape the trajectory of a child’s life through reading and imaginative play that will bring them back year after year for a lifetime.
APM: While kids are participating in SRPs at the library, why should parents do the same?
EB: So many people have this idea that Summer Reading is just for children, but it’s actually for everyone, regardless of your age. Public libraries have very robust summer programs for both young adults and adults as well! You’d be surprised at some of the amazing activities and prizes they have for adult readers. When grownups participate they get the added bonus of becoming a reading role model for their child. It shows their children that reading is both important and fun!