Sunday, June 5, 2022

Summer Readin', Happened So Fast....


....Summer Readin', Are We Having A Blast??

You may have noticed my blog has been rather quiet lately, or maybe you haven't, because like me you have been so busy getting everything ready for summer reading that you've barely had time to even breathe! I started thinking about summer reading as soon as I got here in December and started seriously planning in February, but June 1st came way too fast!

Though I'm not new to summer reading, this is the first time I was responsible for designing and planning the whole thing, rather than just implementing what someone else had planned and being responsible only for a handful of my own programs. Add to that all the uncertainties due to Covid and being new to this library and community, getting a late start in planning since I just got here in December, having my initial plans rejected by a new director and having to instead use an online tracking program that was a beast to figure out and get set up, and our marketing/website/social media/graphic artist person unexpectedly quitting in April, I have been feeling very stressed and overwhelmed.

Luckily I have some very supportive coworkers and talented staff members who have helped out a lot, and was finally able to fill a vacant part-time position in May with someone who has proven to be a great addition to the team and is the only reason we were able to get all the decorating done that we did. She has also made a huge dent in organizing the chaos that I inherited, which has been a huge blessing. I helped with some of the decorating, but I had to spend most of my time working on figuring out Beanstack and getting it all set up, getting all the events and registration set up on our website; making signs, flyers, and brochures; and getting everything ready for the kick-off event. 

I've had to put in a lot of extra hours to get everything ready, and I still haven't finished planning all my in-house programming! I was super stressed about the Kick-Off: would we have everything ready on time, would the paid entertainers show up, would we have a good turnout, would we have way too many people, should I have planned something bigger and flashier, should I have had it outside, etc. I really wished I'd had another couple of weeks, but I suppose we all say that every year.

Well, the kick-off was yesterday, and it went really well! The paid entertainers showed up on time and were great, we had a really good turnout without it being overly crowded, everything went well, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. I got lots of compliments on it from patrons and staff alike. I enjoyed it as well, basking in the normalcy of it all and having a very kumbaya moment, nearly moved to tears at how well things were going and how all the staff (well, except one) really pulled together as a team to help out and provide support. It was something really missing from my last position, and so nice to have again. In case you were wondering, here's what I had going on at the kick-off:

  • Island Princess & Demigod entertainers who posed for photos & did a storytime and sing-along
  • Staff Member in inflatable shark costume (best $35 ever spent!)
  • Artist drawing caricatures
  • Games in the meeting room (ring-toss, bean-bag, dart balls, feed-the-shark)
  • 3 craft stations in the program room (dot painting, stamping, seahorse craft)
  • fishing hole/duck pond game for small prizes
  • shark and mermaid cardboard cutouts for photo ops
  • bubbles and sidewalk chalk in the courtyard
  • gross motor challenge course (scuttle like a crab, flap like a ray, etc.) with facts about each animal (I got this from a generous librarian in one of my online groups) along the front sidewalk
  • our usual coloring sheets and scavenger hunt that we always have
  • signing up for the reading challenge and picking out prize books (we set up our small teen room, which is used primarily for an after school hangout and sits empty all summer, as our little prize bookstore and called it "The Treasure Trove")
So now that the kick-off has gone well, I feel a huge sense of relief. I've proven to myself and everyone else that I do know what I'm doing, and I've gotten results. While I wish I'd had a chance to really plan out all my in-house programming in advance to better market it, I'm very good at winging it and pulling things together when it gets down to the wire. Though I know the rest of the summer will be busy, and I still have a lot of work ahead of me, I feel like I can finally pause and take a breath. I look forward to the normal summer busy-ness, and even if the sense of normalcy proves to be something of an illusion and short-lived, it will be a nice break. But I'm hoping it will be the springboard to our new normal, and get people and programming back in the library for good.

I hope everyone else has a great summer! Here's a few photos from the Kick-Off, and a slideshow of all the decorations:

As a certain famous blue tang fish once said, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...."

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