A couple of different factors this year contributed to drastically increased numbers of summer reading participants at the Beaverton City Library! First, we were able to visit most of the schools in our district to talk about the summer reading program. Perhaps most exciting is our new branch library, which opened at the end of June to serve those who live too far to make it into the main library regularly. The same summer reading program worked across both the branch and the main libraries through a single online database. Teens read or listened to audio books for a total of fifteen hours, and then claimed prizes, including a new paperback book or Powell’s giftcard and a number of gift certificates. We had regular weekly drawings for giftcards using optional book reviews submitted both in writing and online, culmating in a final grand prize drawing for $100. Finishers also had the option to attend the library’s final celebration at the Oaks Park amusement park.
All told, we had 1,681 individual sign-ups and 1,000 (60%) finishers!
Our programs were very successful, although we initially worried about the difficulty we would have programming for the “Make Waves” theme.
Recurring events included an “On the Way to YA” book club for incoming sixth graders using Oregon Battle of the Books titles, Saturday afternoon gaming, Anime Club, a craft club, and family movie matinees.
The monthly events were:
Desert Island Survival: Teens teamed up and participated in a number of fun “survival” activities, including decorating glass bottles to place messages in, a fish toss (using Swedish Fish candies), a relay in which they covered paper hats with paper leaves to block the sun, and a “build your own survival tool” contest, in which we placed random objects in paper bags and had the teens construct something out of them. The only catch was that they had to explain how that object would help them survive! Points were assigned for first and second place for each event, and we had prizes for teams with the highest number of points at the end of the night.
Watercolor Workshop: A local artist who runs her own art school and studio in the area came in to instruct teens on watercolor art. Attendees got to create their own watercolored bookmarks, and learn the basics of the artform!
Video Game Swap: Teens brought in their used games and traded them with each other. This is a fantastic no-cost opportunity to bring gamers together to trade and share their hobby. The only stipulation was that the games had to be in good physical condition. Trades were completely up to the teens to work out. There was a lot of additional “game talk” at the swap, so it was also great as a social event!
Tie-Dye Shirts Lab: We obtained tie-dye kits from a Michael’s craft store, and teens brought their own cotton articles of clothing to dye as they chose. This program was relatively cheap, wildly popular, and involved water. We were fortunate to have nice weather to do the dying on the front lawn outside of the library! Anyone planning to do a tie-dye program should expect to do it outdoors to avoid dyed carpets or stained floors!
Henna Night: A professional Henna artist who has done programs with us before was hired to briefly discuss the culture behind Henna, and then give each teen a Henna design! This is a perennial favorite that is guaranteed to pull in a large audience. You’ll want to require sign-ups, because the designs do take a bit of time.
We agreed that this was our most successful TSRP summer yet!