Children

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Tweens (10-12)

Read to Swim

Read to Swim is a joint summer program with the Yukon Public Library and the local community pool that strives to get children familiar with the library space and reading during their break. It took place from July 6, 2018, through the end of August 2018.

After reading for one hour at the library, kids are given a voucher for free admission to the pool.

Advanced Planning

The goal for this program was to increase the number of children using the library (specifically, reading in the library) during the summer months. Additionally, this program was aimed at providing children, who may not normally have the funds to access the pool, with a free swimming voucher. Therefore, an added benefit was to offer children an opportunity to engage in a free fitness activity during the summer.

Planning began in late May. The program involved the Haines Junction community librarian, a Whitehorse librarian (a support staff member associated with Yukon Government) and the pool manager at the Shakwak Pool.

Organizing the program was fairly straightforward. A Yukon Public Libraries librarian spoke to the Shakwak Pool manager to gauge the interest in this joint program (and to confirm the cost of a child’s admission). The pool manager expressed interest in being part of the program, and so the community librarian contacted the Haines Junction Public Library Board to secure funding.

Once this was approved, promotional materials and the pool vouchers were created, and the program was ready to run!

Marketing

Immediately after the program was approved, promotional posters were created. The program was promoted locally, via posters that were placed around town. Yukon Public Libraries also promoted it through their Facebook and Twitter and in a brief interview with a local radio station. 

Budgeting

Program cost was determined by the community library board and the community librarian. As the number of participants was low and the only expense was child's admission passes to the pool, the program cost around $50 total.

We agreed that the pool would collect the vouchers given to them by children throughout the summer. At the end, the pool tallied how many they collected and relayed that number to the library, who then reimbursed the pool for the amount owed.

In order to curb costs, our program was held only twice per week. We could have also chosen to limit the number of vouchers given to children to a certain number per session (i.e. handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis), which would have allowed total costs to be more predictable. However, that wasn't necessary for us.

Other methods of cost-cutting might include placing parameters around when the program runs.

Day-of-event Activity

Set-up for this event was minimal. The community librarian printed vouchers for the pool each morning before the program began. Any other set-up beyond this was optional. Librarians could find it helpful to collect some book suggestions for children before each session, if they anticipated that they would be busy and not have the time to provide individual assistance to each child.

One staff member (Haines Junction library’s part-time community librarian) was needed to run this program.

Program Execution

The program created more interest in reading and use of the library for children. Around eight kids used the program semi-regularly, usually in groups of around two to four per session.

The program certainly met the goals of increasing children’s interest in the library and increasing participation in literacy activities during the summer months. The program also succeeded in filling a gap in the library’s summertime youth programming. Some of the children attending the program were kids who had taken part in previous library events (designed for a younger audience), but did not see programming available for their age range.

However, it proved challenging to engage kids who were not already regular users of the library. At the end of the program it was evident that most of the children who participated were already regular library patrons.

The main outcomes of the program was the establishment of a new community partnership between the Haines Junction library and the Shakwak Pool and the creation of a joint literacy-fitness program model that could be brought to other rural communities in the Yukon.

Advice

As the program is one that is designed to take place in the summer, planning should ideally begin in early spring. Planning for this year was later than would be ideal — earlier planning would have allowed for longer, possibly more effective promotion of the program.

Furthermore, early planning around promotion might have also increased engagement from children who were not regular library patrons. As this program is aimed at children and tweens, promoting it before summer to both parents and kids might have improved attendance from non-regular users.

Additionally, some community pools may be enthusiastic about their involvement in such a program. If so, pool managers could implement swimming-literacy games for children on the days that the program will run.

Supporting Materials