Sunday, July 26, 2015

Thoughts on SRP 2015


These are my accumulated musings on my first Summer Reading Program or SRP at my new job.  This ramble is based on previous experience with an ever evolving SRP at my previous jobs. It's all compared to my SRP experience as a youth services librarian this summer and what I read on ALA Think Tank, Storytime Underground, TeenThinkTank, Teen  Services Underground and Storytimes and More on the Go on Facebook regarding SRP. 

    Decorating paint stick swords
  • If the whole department isn't doing programs until week two, don't be the weirdo who has to go first. Give yourself time to adapt and see how busy it's really going to be.  Don't assume the time you are used to having off desk is the same amount of time you'll get during SRP.  Time has no meaning during SRP. 
  • Be prepared to offer more outreach in May and August so that you are focusing on in house SRP awesomeness as the programing is full swing. 
  • Turn in your supply order as soon as humanly possibly.  You can always add things later and hope that you get those but if the whole order just doesn't get placed you are going to really be up a creek.
  • Don't make swords as a craft and then act surprised when your teens want to duel each other.  We made swords with paint sticks.  Once the paint was dry they beat each other with the swords and only a few teens went home with an intact sword.  What was the point of that exactly? At least when they made and devoured minions only the minions were in danger. 
  • Eat all the things.  You will need your strength. Pack snacks. Drink extra coffee.  Do whatever it takes.  I got sick the second week of SRP and had to drag myself along by my shoelaces to get anything done. You will get tired and no one is going to care, so you might as will buoy yourself with calories, sugar and caffeine.  Of course you don't have to ingest junk.  I got onto this smoothie kick and all the extra protein sure is helping me.  
  • Get your decorations up at a least a week before SRP starts.  You can be a raging optimist all you want, but once those doors open and the activities are going full tilt boogey, you won't have time for decorating. 
    Usually this is the face parents
    make when I tell them storytime
    starts again in September.  
  • Precut as many forms and flyers as you can.  Does your library give out a paper for keeping track of books or hours read?  How many did you use?  Print at least that many ahead of time to prevent quick dashes to the copy machine. Ditto for program flyers.  Figure out how many you needed and just make a stockpile.  If you make library cards for kids consider running off a lot of extra library card forms.
  • If you don't confirm outreach dates ahead of time now would be the time to start.  You might still be stood up but you might also save time not having to set up at all. Keep track of groups with poor attendance records and utilize this information when  planning for next year. Remember the group that missed a session and next time they arrived nearly half an hour late? Next year you'll want to touch base with them more often so that things might go more smoothly.

  • Don't lock yourself into a rigid theme.  You might have way more kids in your storytimes that normal so cut yourself a break.  Elephants have very little to do with our superhero theme and really no one minded at all.
  • Take more pictures.  By next year this is all going to be a blur.  Pictures will help jog your memory.  They also can help keep your boss in the loop if they can't always been around when you are doing your programs. 
  • Be ready to take some time off and you should.  You should limit programing for a while so everyone can rest and plan. Also you should take a personal day and pamper yourself. Good job self, you survived. Now we can nap.
Just think of all the changes you can make for next and write down in a good spot where you can actually find them.  Now you get to rest and relax and did I mention your fall PR was due in June?  Better get on that.



  1. WOW! Lots of great insight and perspective. Keep all of this in mind for after the New Year when planning will start for 2016 SRP.

    1. Might start even earlier. I think that pesky manual shows up in December.