I started my first full-time library position in March in a small town library. Taking over for a librarian who had been there for close to 50 years – pretty much since they have had a YA librarian – is a bit daunting, as you might imagine. Things have always been done as she has done them and, while I have lots of ideas, I don’t want to step on any toes or do anything the teens will hate, so I’m nervous.
We’re going with the travel theme, as many libraries are, and I’m taking my Children’s Librarian’s advice: change a few things here and there, but for the first year stick to what’s been done. The librarian I took over for is, luckily, still around to answer my questions. So, I am (mostly) doing what she did. There will be raffles and prizes. I will be counting minutes and having 3-4 events. The kids around here travel a lot – going to summer camp, on vacation, summers in Tuscany (I’m not sure on this one, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s true for some of them). I’m guessing turnout won’t be all that great, but I want to make it awesome for those that do show up. How do I know if I’m not doing enough or if I am doing way too much?
My process, thus far, has been this:
1) Brainstorming – I looked at all my listserv emails and professional resources and got ideas on everything: events, books, advertising, and how to score summer reading. Counting by minutes seems to be the fairest option, so I’m sticking with that for this year.
2) Where do I get funding – This is, thus far, the most confusing aspect of working in a library for me. I always have to know which budget or fund I can use. Surprisingly, it is not as easy to figure out as I would have thought, and I wish that I had heard more about it in library school.
I have just finally figured out where the money comes from, so next I’m on to
3) Figuring out exactly what I need for each event and
4) Getting everything ultimately approved. Then, on to
5) Buying everything and
6) Advertising. This one will be the most difficult, as I am still trying to figure out how my patrons communicate best. They seem to text almost constantly and love Facebook, but I am still working out how to utilize texting and have not finished putting together a Facebook page for my library.
I would love to hear feedback from all of you. What did you do for your first Summer Reading Programs? How do you adjust them for your first summer at a new library? What events do you find most effective? Any overall advice?