Thank you!

Summer Reading Program ended on July 29th and just like the previous year, before the clock struck noon, I was out the door.  It seems that I am making it a habit of enjoying some vacation time after 9 weeks of SRP craziness. Not sure if I am deserving of it, compared to Brittany and Kelly who deal with 10 times the kids that I do, or Shirley and Kate who have to hold down the fort while the rest of us are with our groups.  I took a trip with my youngest daughter, my husband and my good friends, the Gerlts.  JT joked about what I would share about our adventures in the Bookworm, lucky for him, he has one more week before I share all the details of our trip.  This week is all about Summer Reading Program.

This bookworm happens every year.  I spend time highlighting SRP, with shout outs to all that helped us make it happen.  Before I sit down today, I accumulated a pile of names and numbers.  Names of volunteers and guest readers and numbers of registrations and completions, plus total attendance.  I then found my bookworm from the year before.  I will be honest with you, I actually copied and pasted it, thinking I would just drop the new numbers in.  Nope.  You know how I love stats, well, we have some good ones to share, so hold on for some nerdy numbers. 

We have offered programming to all ages for June and July since 2016, in 2021 and 2022 I have provided specific programming for our teens along with the toddler group and the middles. Last year are total attendance for Story Time programming was 439, this year it was 827.  Yep, almost double!  Last year I discussed getting back to “normal”, well we did even better than that, the total attendance for 2019 (pre-COVID) was 579, our new normal was 298 more.  Wahoo!!

This paragraph is a repeat, with the addition of a SRP Grant written alongside the planning. The Grant included $1325 worth of library materials for our collection, $900 for crafts, $250 for prints and $4650 for presenters.  SRP is the biggest and longest programming we offer and involves months of planning, volunteers, and community support.  Brittany and Kelly start in the fall by attending a workshop that introduces the theme for the year.  In December they set down with the CSLP (Collaborative Summer Library Program) catalog to pick out the backpacks and other fun goodies that are part of every SRP.  In the Spring they start planning each week’s event; the book selection, if there is a presenter, crafts, snacks, and volunteers.  This means pulling or ordering books to use, giving me a list of things to buy and making phone calls.  These phone calls also include contacting various community businesses to help provide funding and items for our incentives.  Then May arrives, faster than we are ever ready for, and Kate jumps in (she did this in baby steps this year, pun intended), preparing all the fun decorations and awesome displays. 

Not only does my staff deserve kudos and praise, let’s spend some time acknowledging our presenters, volunteers, and sponsors. 

We had a total of 7 local-“ish” guest readers; Erik Rottmann, Chris Bass, Runge Nature Center, Officer Bartlett, Brenda Arnold, Kathy Jones and JT Gerlt (I guess I better be nice about vacation stories since he helped us this year).  That SRP Grant amount of $4650 afforded us the opportunity to invite two authors to SRP, Kevin Sherry and Bruce Hale. 

We had a crew of volunteers that showed up over the 9-week time period: Brenda Arnold, Kat Boyd, Hedrick Family, Myrna Schroeder, Mary Jo Jackson, Kathy Jones, Margie Kurka and Joyce Phillips.

Ours sponsors provide the resources for us to make attendance at programming and reading, rewarding on another level besides just the normal, “thanks for participating.”  The sponsors help us provide weekly incentives, including treats, books, etc., prizes for those that complete our incentive chart, and grand prizes for those who finish the chart and their reading record.  Thank you to: Vonda Greenwalt of American Family Insurance, Brenda Arnold, B&B Drive In, Bank of Versailles, Dari Kup, Dear Dental, Emme’s, Gates, McDonalds, Ozark Bait & Tackle, Pizza Hunt, The Ranch House, The Royal Theater, Sonic, Teeple Insurance, Vera Cruz, Walmart, Westlake Aquatic Center and Wright Printing. 

Thank you to this community that recognizes the value of promoting reading during the summer for not only our kiddos, but to all who want to participate.  I am digging this new normal, boy, I never thought I would say that. 

Upcoming Events: 8/10 Story Time at 10am, 8/11 Tax Rate Hearing and Board Meeting at 5:15pm, 8/13 LEGO Play at 10:30am. STEM kits are ready for check out.