Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Reading Club at Your Public Library--Join!

When I was a kid, I lived for books. I could not wait to go to the library. I mean, shelves upon shelves of free books? What a concept!

Before I had a magical library card, a friend loaned me a nickel so I could get a one-use card (thank you, Lori Deen). I finally got a real card and one day I tried to check out books with my National Jr. Honor Society card--quite embarassing!

When I was 18 in the late 70s, I got THE CALL and became an employee of the Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library, now called the Dayton Metropolitan Library. I worked there for nine years. Having unlimited access to books and making them available to our patrons was a dream come true. Often ours was the busiest branch in the system, and I was proud of that.

It's difficult to pick out what was the most fun, but I always loved the Summer Reading Club. It didn't matter if I was on the patron side of the desk, watching the librarian stamp each book-representing space on the folder, or if I was the one doing the stamping for some excited kids. The purpose of summer reading club was to keep kids reading after school was out, and to keep those books circulating, and I can tell you it worked like a charm.

We always held a kick-off free marionette show to get kids into the library. Supervisor and children's librarian Treva, LAII Cheryl, and I (LAI) would clamber up on a fold out table behind the Peppermint Palace Marionette Theater and work our magic. Treva's mantra: "Marionettes do not fly," meaning we were to walk their feet across the stage, not lift them. Cheryl and I often regaled our break room companions by floridly reciting the scripts, which were taken from classic picture books and recorded on cassette tapes.

The only title I recalled on my own is Tops and Bottoms, a trickster tale. The version I linked to isn't word for word, and there are a couple of pages missing on Google Books, but you'll get the idea. A random line from another script (Cheryl's favorite) haunted me the other day: "I no move!" I set out to find it. After a few minutes, I was pleased beyond belief to find that a teacher had posted the whole book online: The Gunniwolf . What a treasure!

Take your kids to join your local Summer Reading Club and participate in the free activities at your local library. I promise you they will remember it for the rest of their lives, and maybe they'll take it a step further and work in a library one day, or even write books like I do. Help them join the reading club.


  1. Love this post, Stef! Neat to reminisce about summer reading programs. I thoroughly enjoyed taking Riley to the kick-off programs and helping her choose books to fill the lazy summer days. Thanks for sharing your history with the library! God bless!

    1. Good times for sure! I know Riley appreciated it. <3

  2. We have an amazing library and love the summer reading program. We have to pace ourselves, though. :-) I always wanted to work at a library. Maybe one day!

    1. If it were up to me, I'd spend the whole summer reading in my hammock. ;-)

      I strongly identify with the six-year-old girl in this article:


"A forest would be quiet if no birds sang except the best." Amish Proverb