I usually write about some sort of coming-of-age moment or memory, relate it to something broader, and then sprinkle in some 90s references that I hope are appreciated. 

This one is a little different. 

This is a thank you letter. To you. 

As the Youth Services Coordinator, one part of my job is to oversee the Summer Reading Program. This takes months and months of planning, hours and hours of work, and, in my case, some tears. But, just as the holiday season is the busy season of retail, the Summer Reading Program is the same for libraries. Every year, we pack the summer full of programs, prizes, and reading logs, doing everything we can to encourage people to read and to help kids avoid the summer slide. I want to add here that I don’t do all of this work alone. So, a thank you letter to other JCLS staff, from me, is definitely in order.  

And then 2020 showed up, and things were different. Of course, we had Take & Makes, virtual programming, and Beanstack (our virtual reading log system) to help us out, but it definitely wasn’t the same.  

So when this summer came, and it proved to be more of the same, I was discouraged.  

But I recently crunched the numbers for this year’s participation, and I want to thank you for all the reading you did this summer. 

Here is a quick overview: 

  • We had a total of 1,533 people register for the Summer Reading Program, with 1,052 of those people actively logging their reading. That is a 28% increase from last year. 
  • There were 969 book reviews written during the program, a 42% increase from last year. 
  • You all read for 347,606 minutes, a 77% increase from last year. 
  • There were more badges in Beanstack earned this year over last year, and program attendance also significantly increased. 
  • The only place where we saw a dip was the total number of books read: 18,408, which is a 10% decrease from last year, but I’m still smiling because that’s still a ton of books, and I like to think that since we allow folks to track minutes, that they are encouraged to read some bigger books. 

I know this summer was hard. Pandemic fatigue is very real, and it makes it extra challenging to participate in things that are otherwise easy to participate in. 

But you did it! You still read books, came to programs, shared your thoughts about what you read, and some of you even won some prizes for doing it! 

So, thank you. Thank you for participating and making this Summer Reading Program feel a little more normal than last year.  

Oh! If you want to know what the top read books of the summer were, just check out this list here: Most Read Books of Summer Reading 2021 | Main library (jcls.org)