Summer Reading Office Hours

Alternating the first Wednesday and Tuesday of every month at 1:00 PM

It’s October, so naturally it’s time to start thinking about 2022’s Summer Reading Program. (See, this is the kind of thing that makes people who work in normal fields think we’re weird.) For many of us, our professional lives revolve around a few hectic, sunny weeks when we blow most of our budgets and energy reserves in an effort to keep young brains from atrophying. I exaggerate. Sort of. Anyway, it’s fun! Summer Reading is fun, and that’s why we’re excited to launch our monthly, SRP-focused office hours. 
  • Wed, Nov 3rd at 1pm
  • Tues, Dec 7th at 1pm
  • Wed, Jan 5th at 1pm
  • Tues, Feb 1st at 1pm
  • Wed, March 2nd at 1pm
  • Tues, April 5th at 1pm
  • Wed, May 4th at 1pm 

We’ll be meeting monthly, alternating the first Wednesdays and Tuesdays of every month at 1:00. The Zoom links for the office hours will come through both the OYAN and Kids-lib listservs. If you’re not already registered for those lists, you can do so here: Look for Greta Bergquist’s invitation for the meeting on Wednesday, November 3, when we’ll be focusing on debriefing about last year’s program and looking ahead to what’s next! In the meantime, we’ve created a Jamboard to get the conversation started. Please take a look and add your thoughts:

If you have any SRP-related questions or suggestions, you can reach out to us, Lisa Elliott (Tigard Public Library) at lisae at and Dena Chaffin (Silver Falls Library) at dena.chaffin at

Lisa Elliott
Teen Librarian- Tigard Public Library

2021 Summer is Coming! (Part 3)


Garden Home Community Library staff had a conversation about summer reading this week [May 5, 2021]. We haven’t finalized our plans yet, but we are looking to offer some eco-friendly craft kits. We’ll continue to offer our virtual teen book group, and I’m considering adding a graphic novel virtual book group. 

I’m hesitant to do it myself right now though as I’m pretty Zoom-ed out and there’s going to be a lot of pivot and pivot again this summer. It’s a small team here and given that it’s going to be a necessarily small team when/if the building opens, I don’t want to over commit. 

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels.

2021 Summer is Coming! (Part 2)


In addition to reading logs for teens, my library is offering a Teen Duct Tape Challenge.

33 Awesome DIY Duct Tape Projects at DIY Projects for Teens

2021 Summer is Coming! (Part 1)

Photo by Ravi Kant from Pexels


Tualatin Library doing the same Bingo cards for all ages. They have boxes like “Read a book with a cat” or “Read a book written by an Oregon author,” so they can be used for any age. Everyone who finishes a bingo will receive two free books. No goals until next summer.

We have returning teen volunteers and 5 new ones (22 total). The 5 have been volunteering for us this school year and were invited to join the summer teens. We didn’t open up applications like usual since we aren’t sure how much we will have for them to do or if they will be allowed in the building.

I’m doing 6 weeks of virtual programs including needle felting, Kahoot trivia, and an Escape Room.

2020 Summer Reading Reflections (Part 3)

Photo by @NappyStudio from


This summer was an extremely scaled-down version of the library’s normal Teen Summer Reading program. We did a combination of virtual programming, monthly contests, prize drawings, and book giveaways. The virtual programming was a mixed bag of successes and flops, as you might expect. Some of our more successful programs were doing a Zoom version of the card game “Superfight,” trivia for Percy Jackson / Harry Potter / Warriors /  Myths using Kahoot (these were separate programs), Bullet Journaling 101 with a presenter, No bake / no cook snacks, and Kitchen challenge (where teens get to pick the ingredients). I’m pleased to report that the programs were more successful than flop as I look back at the event brochure and remember everything.

Our monthly contests proved to be popular – we had submit a food photo, submit a photo reflecting the theme of “Alone,” and submit an illustrated Haiku. There were gift certificates for local pizza places for two of them as well as a book store gift card. During a normal summer, we enter teens in drawings for random gift cards when they attend programs. Due to the reduced amount of programs this summer, I also opted to add a component where they could once again submit book reviews on the Web site and also be entered. We had done this for years but decided to drop it about two years ago to encourage the in-person participation. Fortunately, we still had the reviews component on the Web site commented out; bringing it back during the pandemic was just a matter of commenting it back in and then advertising. We did not get as many reviews as we did during a normal summer, but I still had a good pool to draw from and I used some of the good quality reviews to create Bibliocommons booklists using the teens’ own words. I did the drawings every two weeks using a combination of Google spreadsheets and the a random number generator. 

Most importantly, we were fortunately able to keep summer reading going. There was a Youth Services committee formed last year to take a look at summer reading for kids and teens and recommend changes. One of the things that we decided to eliminate was sign-ups, opting to instead just enter kids and teens in our database when they completed summer reading. This proved to be fortuitous this year and made running summer reading that much easier when the pandemic hit. We created Web pages where parents and / or teens could input their info when they finished summer reading and enter themselves as completed in the database. We purchased 10 book selections for middle school and 10 book selections for high school and created a list for finishers to pick their book from. Initially, the book pick ups were by appointment. We  then changed this to walk-up during certain hours, with parents / teens filling out a short sheet at the table so staff could mark them as having picked up their book in the database.

 Although 2020 summer reading required extra meetings and a lot of on-the-fly re-imaginings and plannings, I believe that everything worked out as well as possible given everything else going on. 

2020 Summer Reading Reflections (Part 2)

Most libraries tried new things for the teen summer reading program this year. What worked, what didn’t work, and what do you think you’ll try again next summer regardless of the pandemic? Here are reflections from two libraries:

Photo by LA MM from Pexels

Brianna Sowinski at North Plains Public Library

The North Plains Public Library decided early on that we would focus our efforts for the 2020 Summer Reading Program (SRP) towards getting books, crafts, and activities into the hands of children and teens since many patrons in our service area do not have internet access for online programs. Our SRP spanned July 1st through the 2nd week of August. This timeline was based on what we thought would be the earliest to safely hand out take and makes and to give us time in August to focus on fall programming and remote school support.

We organized our take and make crafts by theme: Friends and Neighbors, Nature, Home Sweet Home, Music & Movement, & Silly Fun. We created the themed take and makes for kids, teens, and adults so everyone in a household could have a craft or activity around the same theme. Teen take and makes included postcard writing & origami, solar printing, DIY Washi tape stickers, hula hoops & headphones, and Emoji stickers & yo-yos. Over the course of SRP we handed out 163 books to teens ages 12-18 and 471 teen take and makes!

We feel that we accomplished a lot this summer for such a small library and the community has given us great feedback. We will most likely be handing out take and makes again next summer but will adjust the number so the library isn’t overtaken by them!

Mark Richardson at Cedar Mill Community Library

While I missed giving out prize books greatly, the library had decent participation (around 200 teens) through Beanstack this year considering all the challenges. The read for a cause supporting the Oregon Food Bank seemed to engage teens a good amount.  I’ll definitely try that again next year as I think it’s neat to link reading for a good cause.  I’d love to get prize books back too.

I built some other activities into the Beanstack challenge and teens seem to be doing those as well.  It’s a good way to lead them to things that you want them to know about.

2020 Summer Reading Reflections (Part 1)

Most libraries tried new things for the teen summer reading program this year. What worked, what didn’t work, and what do you think you’ll try again next summer regardless of the pandemic? Here are reflections from three libraries:


Celine Vandervlugt at Cook Memorial Library

Despite our best marketing efforts, we had very low participation in our online summer reading program. I think all of the teens were “over” the virtual activities after the spring school chaos. However, the bingo activity I put together turned our very well. I used a template from Canva, posted the bingo card on our web page, and linked it to our Beanstack program. I will try it next year when we can hand out bingo cards, as well as make it available online. We did versions of this for the children’s program and the adult program.

Julie Tibbetts at Lebanon Public Library

Our library had a very condensed summer reading program with one reading log consisting of 7 hours of reading. We had a good teen turn out and the numbers were very consistent with our regular stats. We did a teen take and make and it was a great success.

The craft was a cardboard loom and we provided everything needed to make a small wall hanging. We even made additional kits to meet the demand. We posted a “virtual” Craft Classroom to accompany the kit and posted it on our social media feeds. We have to admit, we had a better participation rate than if we were to do a program at the library. Going forward, we will probably offer a mix of virtual and in-house programming.

Star Todd at Jefferson County Library

For our summer reading program, we had online storytimes and craft kits. For the craft kits, we had a children’s option and a 12+ teen option. For instance, one week we had a princess and the frog theme. The children’s kit had a background with characters and stickers for them to create their own storyboard. It also included a piece of green paper and instructions to fold an origami frog. For the teen kit, there were five pieces of patterned origami paper with instructions on folding a paper crane. Some weeks the kits were the same, like when we had paper journals and pencils, some weeks were different. Our online offerings for teens were thin, just weekly 1-minute book reviews. 

The library partnered with the local school districts and made the craft kits available at free lunch sites. This seemed to go well and increased the number of youth reached in Warm Springs, which were low with our traditional in-person programming. We will likely keep the craft kits option next year even if we have in-person programming available next summer. 

How do we deal with the increased workload?

Summer reading = more patrons + more programs + more circulation + more marketing + + + + +

How do we deal with the increased workload?

Read Ways to Cope with an Increased Workload, a super short article (5 mins or less). You might learn a couple new-to-you strategies to try to deal with your increased workload this summer.

Here area few highlights from the article:

  • Let go of perfection… Good enough is good.” It’s hard for me to let go of perfection so I like to identify what should be as perfect as it can, and what really can be good enough. For example, the media blast that will be everywhere all summer ( as perfect as possible) -vs- my library’s table at the fair (good enough is good).
  • Identify time-wasters. Once you’re clear what they are, start reducing them.” Sometimes I get lost in certain tasks that I particularly enjoy (selecting books for anything) and they become time-wasters. I find that if I chunk these tasks together and set a timer  for how much time I want/need to spend on them, then I significantly  reduce time wasted.
  • Establish priorities… it is imperative to be clear on your priorities, because they may not be what you think they are.”

When my workload increases everything seems URGENT! and super important. When I stop, take a few breaths, calm down, and really think about it (often finding and reading over my original planning document)… my mind starts to work better. I realize, in my overwhelmed state, I prioritized a few things wrong and some things weren’t really as urgent or as important as I thought.

Ways to Cope with an Increased Workload has a great priority matrix I plan to try using. I think I’ll also write the priorities of my projects or work group directly above the chart so they are right in front of me, instead of having to dig through my files to find my planning document.


Slides for OLA 2018 Sessions Now Available

Whether or not you were able to join us in Eugene for OLA, you can now view the slides for most presentations on Northwest Central. Of particular interest to OYAN members:

Mark your calendars: the 2019 OLA-WLA Conference will be held at the Hilton Vancouver in Vancouver, WA from April 17-20, 2019!

Finding Funding: YALSA Summer Learning Grants

Golden dollar bill signs hang from fishing line, dark shadows cast behind themIt can be tough to find funding for all of the great ideas you want to make happen at your library. In this occasional series, we’ll highlight different funding sources you may not know about or may not know how to tap.

Are you looking to take your summer learning program to the next level? YALSA is giving away twenty $1,000 grants to support libraries’ efforts to reach underserved teens over the summer months as well as another twenty $1,000 grants to support hiring teen interns over the summer.

To determine if you are eligible, you must answer yes to the following questions:

  • Is your summer learning program administered through a library?
  • Is your program open to all teens in the community?
  • Do you work directly with teens?
  • Are you a personal member of YALSA?
  • Is your library within 20 miles of a Dollar General store?

If you answered yes to all of those questions, read these tips for writing effective grants and then check out the Teen Read Week website for more details and the application forms! Applications are due by December 1st. Good luck!