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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Reading Postmortem Report 1

Our Summer Reading program ended on Saturday, and Monday afternoon, Kathy and I had a blast with this site generating random numbers to pick our grand prize winners.

But now the fun begins-- the data gathering and postmortem assessment of how it all went.  Today, I have the first of what I see as at least 2 reports on our summer reading program.  First, is the immediate reactions and current action steps for the next three weeks, basically until Labor Day when summer unofficially ends.  The second report, will come sometime after our late August staff meeting where the entire team will be breaking down the pros and cons of what we did this summer, how it all went, what was fantastic, what needs to be tweaked, and what should be scrapped.

Which brings up my first and MOST important point about summer reading programs.  Yes they are a lot of work to plan, yes they boost circulation, yes they make patrons happy, BUT if you just have the reading program and do nothing with the data you collect they are a complete waste of your time.

In order to help you to better use your summer reading program to help your RA service and collection development all year long, here is a run down of what we we are doing.

First, some background. Here is the link to a post I had last year detailing how we have used our summer reading program as an RA and collection development tool in year's past.

And here is the post from earlier this summer in which I talked about all the changes we had in store for this year's summer reading.

I highly suggest you quickly peruse these 2 links before reading the rest of this post.  They should open in a new tab so that you don't loose this page. I am not going to repeat it all here, but those posts provide the necessary context to what comes next.

Now on to the nitty gritty quick data from summer reading.

We gave out 400 lawn signs-- modeled here by our Head of Circ, Crytsal.  There were on lawns all over town, and people kept coming into the library all summer saying that they saw a sign on their friend or neighbor's lawn and wanted one for themselves. YAY!  It was very satisfying to drive through town and see the signs everywhere.

We had close to 1,100 books read and logged by our adult readers and just under 350 books read and logged by our teens!  All of this in a mere 8 weeks!

We are still evaluating the online, Google form system we used for patrons to sign up and log books this year, but one thing we know we are keeping and already using for RA purposes is the mandatory "Tell Us Something About The Book" field.

As I have mentioned on this blog in the past, we have a high traffic area near our desk which we use for "conversation starter displays."  Well, for the next 3 weeks or so [from the end of summer reading through Labor Day] we are using that small area to highlight a book read by a summer reading participant and their comment about said book.  Below you can see a photo of the display and then another photo close-up of the form Kathy created to highlight the patron annotation about the book.

The book here is The Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King and the comment reads:
"I've read most of this author's Mary Russell novels, and have enjoyed them all.  This is a stand-alone, with all new characters, but it captured my attention from beginning to end. The setting is Paris, a city I love, and the story winds around the art world in the time of Man Ray and the surrealists. The ending was a surprise, even though I am not in the habit of trying to guess "who dunnit." I really recommend this book.  --Barb"
Our plan is to leave each book and its corresponding patron comment on display for up to 3 days or until the book is checked out and then replace and repeat.  It is an easy "Patrons' Picks" display, but also, the patrons can clearly see we are paying attention to them and what they read. This should make them more willing to both participate in summer reading next year and to just stop by and ask for help identifying their next good read.

The display says we listen and we care. It says we paid attention to you all summer. It says we want you to know about the great books your fellow patrons are reading. It screams the RA department is interested in helping you.

So that's how it is going in these first 5 days after we have wrapped up our 8 week summer reading program.  As I mentioned, above we still have to evaluate the online Google forms process and start sifting through the data itself to identify issues for collection development and 2015 display planning.

But that is for Summer Reading Postmortem Report 2 and maybe even 3!

1 comment:

John Rimer said...

Love this idea. We published patron reviews of summer reading books on our blog, but didn't think to mirror with a real world display. Thanks!