Like many libraries in BC, the Terry Fox Library has been completely consumed with Summer Reading Club since June. This year was one of our biggest years ever, with hundreds of kids coming in to get their stickers, prizes, and medals.
This summer was particularly notable, however, because of the increase in Adult Summer Reading Club participants. We had over 400 adults join up and participate in the program from June to September, which is an increase of 14.6% over last year. And, interestingly, last year showed an increase of 38% over the year before. Why the consistent increase over the last two years?
One of the reasons we have had an increase in adult participation is because we have improved the quality of prizes. Staff ventured out into the community to ask local businesses if they’d be willing to support the Adult Summer Reading Club and dropped off a donation request letter. Although larger businesses have donated, we found that smaller businesses were more likely to donate prizes to get their names out into the community and show community involvement. We gave away some fabulous baskets this year with gift cards, books, chocolates, tea and more.
This year we had the kids, teens, and adults SRC at the same desk. I think it made a big difference to promote the ASRC alongside the kid/teen programs because it got the word out to more parents, and it encouraged them to model the importance of reading and literacy to their children.
I also noticed our staff were particularly excellent at chatting up customers about what they were reading and had a lot of enthusiasm. These interactions made the program more special and involved, and for those who hadn’t signed up it was a good segue into an invitation to join the club.
Although it went well, I would change a few things for next time. For example, we gave away one huge basket each month. Even though the massive prize basket looked great and got people really excited, I would create more small draws so that there are more chances to win. One of our libraries had the brilliant idea of doing a family draw, so if everyone in your family signs up you have a chance to win an awesome prize basket. Genius.
I would also like to create easy ways for adults to participate and interact with one another through out the summer, whether it is recommendations for great summer reads from ASRC members that are put on display, simple contests, or incorporating readers into our social media (for example making community recommended lists in Bibliocommons or posting pictures of readers with their favourite summer books on Instagram, Facebook, etc.) Either way, getting people more involved would raise the profile of ASRC and also create more opportunities to have fun.
In the end, the Adult Summer Reading Club is a great way to get adults involved in the library and to celebrate literacy and reading in our communities. We had a lot of fun talking to members about their summer reads and it was a joy to give away the prize baskets to the lucky winners. Why let the kids have all the fun?
Do you have any tips or suggestions on how to make Adult Summer Reading Clubs great? Leave a comment below!
Librarian at the Fraser Valley Regional Library