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Successful Summer Reading Program School Visits

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Each community and school library is unique. This means your community will have its own recipe for a successful summer reading program (SRP) visit. Consider our tips and ideas when planning your visits!

Making a Summer Reading Program Visit a Success: Public Librarian’s Guide

  1. Determine how your school librarian prefers to communicate. Start with email, and offer to connect via phone or in-person if preferred.

  2. Coordinate your visits early

    • Contact your school librarian in March to plan visits for May or June.
    • Be open to scheduling options. Offer lots of different time slots and dates to choose from.

  3. Find out how to get SRP information to families. Ask questions such as:

    • Can we send home paper handouts with students? If so, how do we get these approved by the school or district? How many handouts do you need, and in what quantities?

    • Is there a school or district e-newsletter? If so, could we contribute a piece about SRP?

    • In which languages should we provide our SRP information?

  4. Determine the best format for your SRP presentation. As we continue to be COVID-conscious, in-person visits may or may not be an option in your community. Consider one of these alternative formats:

    • Virtual visits, using videoconferencing software such as Zoom or Google Meet. This allows for interaction with students in real-time.

    • A video sharing key information about your SRP. Creating a video to share with all classes is efficient in terms of planning time and presentation time. Teachers often appreciate a video because they can share it at a time that is convenient for them.

    • If you are visiting in person, decide if you will meet with several/all grade levels at once in a common area, visit each classroom individually, or have 2-3 classrooms join together into one area. With current COVID measures, you may find visiting each classroom individually is best.

  5. Plan for an excellent visit!

    • Be respectful of your school’s time. Remember transitioning between classes, answering questions, and dealing with technical difficulties all take time. Prepare a small amount of content and bring a couple of alternate activities in case you have time for them.

    • If visiting in person, ask the school to prepare a rotation schedule and to share it with you and the classroom teachers; you’ll want to make sure the teachers are expecting your visit and you are not conflicting with recess, lunch, specials, etc.

    • Engage your audience with interesting content, colorful visual aids, positive energy, and opportunities for audience participation. You may also consider dressing “in character” or wearing a costume to fit the year’s SRP theme.

Making a Summer Reading Program Visit a Success: School Librarian’s Guide

  1. Connect with all of the public libraries in your area. Chances are, students at your school visit a variety of different public libraries. While you don’t need to host a visit from every library, having information available from each one is helpful. Find out what the differences and similarities are between their summer programs - students and families will be asking!

  2. Schedule visits carefully. Be sure to allow time for transitions between groups and be mindful of the public librarian’s need for a break or two!

  3. Share materials and information in multiple formats.

    • Add a link to your school’s website.

    • Post about SRP on the school’s social media pages.

    • Include information in school newsletters.

  4. Ask the public librarian about set-up needs. Items such as a projector, speakers, a microphone, a table, specific books, and even a puppet theater may be helpful.

  5. Communicate clearly with teachers about visit times and locations.

  6. Give an enthusiastic introduction to the public librarian! Your students will pick up on your energy and attitude.

Whether you’re a public or a school librarian, be sure to send a thank-you note to your colleague after the visit. Suggest collaborating on future endeavors! Stay in touch all year long; you never know when a partnership opportunity might come up.

This message is brought to you through the collaboration of the Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association (WEMTA), Wisconsin Library Association (WLA), and the DPI Library Services Team. If you are interested in working on future tidbits or have other suggestions for collaborations, please contact Marge Lock-Wouters (WLA) or Raquel Rand (WEMTA).


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