Posts tagged ‘summer reading’

Summer Reading for Grown-Ups

Are you like me and have a pile of books you’ve gathered this year and haven’t had time to read? Will you get to them all this summer? Maybe you participated in the summer reading program at your Public Library as a child and loved all the incentives, prizes and competition. I was a fixture in Mary Jacobs Library in Rocky Hill each summer. That’s where the pattern of a summer reading plan started. I’m hoping that even just writing about this is the incentive I need to start finishing more books each summer. I’m excited to see that Adult summer reading programs are popping up all over. Library websites and Facebook pages allow the programs a great online presence and wider audience. I may have found the answer to my summer reading dilemma.

For me, summer seems to be the perfect time to catch up on reading- At least in theory. As a school librarian, I have my summers free (well, I’m using that word loosely- Those that don’t have summer jobs like most of us are free, that is) from my full-time work. So, every year, when school gets out in June, I set out with a noble plan to read hundreds of books before Labor Day.

My initial strategy for summer reading-
• Gather reading lists, YA, Adult, and non-fiction.
• Read recommendations on Shelfari, and pages for “grown-up” suggestions, like Katherine Day’s suggestions, found at http://tinyurl.com/nehv2a
• Gather the piles of books I’ve gathered at ALA and BookExpo that I plan to read and then give away as prizes or promotion at school.

Then what happens?
I start my first summer book with high hopes and optimism and often finish it right away, then I get 2 or 3 going, eventually getting distracted by a fourth and next thing I know, I’m sitting on the beach in mid-July with unfinished books in my beach bag, and enough frustration to last until Thanksgiving. Would a summer reading program designed for busy adults help? I think so. Don’t you get more done on a day when you have several things scheduled? Time and project management are essential to my productivity. It sounds rigid, but I end the day much more satisfied when I accomplish more. That’s why I think summer reading program for adults are worth promoting.

When I make my reading plan in June, I never factor in that I’ll be doing outdoor activities every sunny day, traveling as much as my job allows, repairing my house, cleaning my garage, taking care of family, and generally just trying to get enough energy back to start another school year in September. Sometimes I need the freedom from so much “input/output” that goes on during the year that reading another “heavy” book in the summer might not be what the doctor ordered. When did my reading excuses become so “adult”? Gerie Madak posted this quote in reference to Bridgewater’s Adult Summer Reading Program, “Too often adults deny themselves the pleasures of reading for fun. They’re so busy taking care of everyone else that they begin to regard reading as a self-indulgent pastime they don’t have time for because of chores, appointments, and deadlines.” I’d like to find the happy medium between the guilt of not reading and the gluttonous satisfaction of reading more books than someone else. These programs aren’t designed to be competitive, they’re more like open book clubs for the summer months.

So, in creating this post for LG in early July, I’ve decided to stop being so hard on myself and celebrate each book I do finish OR start! I’ll do more walking, yoga, and reading for pleasure. Unlike my students, I don’t HAVE to read a certain number of books to complete a summer reading project. Unlike the summer reading program I promote in school, I won’t win a prize for reading 100 hours at my public library (that’s changed in many places and I honestly did not know that until I started researching for this post). Since I began writing this, I’ve learned about some great adult summer reading programs. Like a book club, I think it’s great to have deadlines and discussion when you’re reading. The prizes are cool, too, don’t get me wrong- like restaurant and movie gift certificates, and of course, books!

My Summer Reading Tips

  • Make a “wish list” of books you’d really like to read, or mark up Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust with all your must-reads, like a book bucket list
  • Read a book about a hobby, new or otherwise
  • Hang out at the library with your kids or friends — you’ll be inspired
  • Join a successful Summer Reading program for adults, like the one in Seattle (Their summer reading Facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/nrga4h) or Burlington County (http://tinyurl.com/mjzge8)

Happy summer- Happy Reading!

I’d love to know more about dynamic summer reading programs for adults, and if you have your own plan that you’d like to share.

July 7, 2009 at 10:40 pm 2 comments

Suddenly Summer

I woke up last week—to steamy, sticky, humid NJ weather. After a month of rain, finals, several graduations and birthdays for my friends and family, I had completely missed the fact that Memorial Day had passed. Suddenly it was summer. I was not prepared—too hot, no knitting, and nothing to read. I knew what I had to do—get to the library.

First get my house cooled off: My house is old and does not have central air conditioning. The window units do ok, but they could not keep up with the temps last week in NJ. Plus, my bedroom unit was so loud that even when I was cool, I could not get a decent night’s sleep. The the “2008 Consumer Reports Buying Guide” gave me the information I needed to find a quiet, efficient, and inexpensive air conditioner that has me sleeping like a baby. And of course, all of my research took place in a delightfully air conditioned building!

Next, what to knit?: You may not know this, but if I am around, somewhere close by are two sticks and some string. Yup, I am a knitter. Not just a casual knitter, but a constant companion knitter. Summer is the perfect time to get a head start on those wonderful fall sweaters and afghans you want to make for Christmas presents. However, having a huge mound of thick wool draped over your legs is a serious summer don’t. I wanted something small, portable, and preferably not wool. I found the solution: “No sheep for you : knit happy with cotton, silk, linen, hemp, bamboo, and other delights” Amy R. Singer (746.432 Sin). This delightful book is filled with loads of projects that are perfect for summer—even a few sweaters I can wear come fall!

This was the first I have been to my public library as a patron since I began working in public libraries. I forgot how great it is (and how great the air conditioning is). Three of my neighbors were getting their new book club selections–we stopped and chatted about what the heat was doing to our gardens. I took out a chick-flic DVD that my husband would never put in the Netflix queue. It was a wonderful way to spend my afternoon.

When you are a librarian, it is easy to find that all your library experiences are now work experiences. I encourage library employees to go to your hometown public library as a patron. It is a great experience and one that is easy to forget.

June 13, 2008 at 2:12 pm 2 comments

2007 Summer Reading Program… in Review

This time of year is always a happy and sad time for me. I’m sad because the summer is so close to ending, and I have an annual tradition of regretting not doing more outside. But then again, I am happy because the frantic pace of our Summer Reading Program is over… and that means I can actually take a moment to relax a little, perhaps breathe a bit as well.

All in all, it was a great summer for me. This was the first time that I had full reign of our teens’ Summer Reading Program. I packed it with programs, volunteers, last-second planning, fix-ups, movies and an occasional-running-with-scissors moment… if you know what I mean.

But how did it all go? What worked and what didn’t? Let’s review it in a hot/not fashion.

Hot- The average number of books read by teens who signed up for the Summer Reading Program was 18!

Not- Actual number of participants in the Reading Program was down.

Hot- The “You Never Know What You Can Do With Duct Tape” program. We made wallets, cell phone holders, a couple flowers and even attempted sandals. It was probably my most attended program on a week to week basis. By the way, if you try the sandals, make sure you don’t accidentally expose the duct tape adhesive to the hair on your toes… Yowwww!

Not- The whole “YNK” theme. Maybe it’s just me, but it seemed silly. People may have used the theme but few actually used it as “YNK” (and not without having to clarify what YNK stood for).

Hot- The End of Summer lock-in. It was the first after hours party we had at our library. The teens ate about 8-feet worth of subs, partied heartily and every single one of them was actually picked up on time!

Not- The one single teen at the party who decided to push the boundaries and threw her piece of cake into the face of another person.

Hot- The Shoprite Deli. Originally, the store lost our sub order for the party. So, Dan, the Deli-guy, made good by not just making 10 subs but only charged us half-price because of the mix up.

Not- Shoprite in general. I’m sorry, it’s a Marrazzo’s thing.

Hot- My teen-volunteer coordinator’s ability to have all but 5 of our teens complete the required number of hours and set a record for most volunteers sign-up and completed.

Not- The teen volunteers constantly referring to me as “Hey Mister!”

Hot- The song “Hey Delilah” by the Plain White Ts being constantly played.

Not- Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry” being constantly overplayed.

And finally….

Hot- Our brand new Teen furniture finally came in!

Not- Gaylord messed up the color of the furniture and has yet to fix it. But they did offer to let us keep the furniture they sent us in lieu of having to send the right ones.

So, how do I rank the summer on a whole? I’ll go with an 8/10. Better than average but let’s leave some room for improvement.

September 8, 2007 at 9:19 am 2 comments

SRP 2007!

If you happen to feel jealous of those kids doing summer reading programs (and/or maybe jealous of their parents and/or children’s librarians), here’s your chance to get involved with some summer reading!

Some folks are doing an online Summer Reading Program! It’s a blog, and there is a MySpace and a facebook for it – you can join and post your goals for summer reading, your books and your reviews. It’s very casual and I think it looks like fun…. If you are already reading and posting books/reviews, etc., you can just keep posting there and you’ll be linked on the SRP blog…. or you can send reviews to the blog.

Have you/could you consider setting up something like this for your patrons!? It’s pretty darn simple, quick and easy (AND FREE!) to do and requires really very little work from YOU!
Think about it ….

I have joined as libraryamy (my gmail id) and created the facebook group. See the blog for blogger and MySpace info.

Happy reading!

June 26, 2007 at 5:45 am


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