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Collaboration makes Summer Reading Club meaningful to community

Collaboration makes Summer Reading Club meaningful to community

CUPE 389 member Kate Longley, teen services librarian in the youth services department at the North Vancouver City Library. Co-winner was CUPE 389 member Danielle Wing, a children's librarian at the Lynn Valley branch of the North Vancouver District Library (photo unavailable).

This final feature marking National Library Month covers the BCLA Summer Reading Club award given to CUPE 389 members Kate Longley from the North Vancouver City Library and Danielle Wing from the North Vancouver District Library. This commentary by CUPE BC President Karen Ranalletta also spotlights the important services CUPE members provide in libraries.

NORTH VANCOUVER—CUPE 389 members Kate Longley from North Vancouver City Library and Danielle Wing from North Vancouver District Library won the 2021 BC Library Association Summer Reading Club Community Award for their submission detailing the collaborative effort by both library systems to ensure children could participate despite the pandemic.

“I felt really good because although our names were on the award, it really represents all the staff at both libraries who were involved in children’s programs and services over the summer,” said Kate Longley, a teen services librarian at the City library. Longley co-wrote the winning submission with Wing.

Longley explained that summer reading club (SRC) is a great way to keep kids reading. All types of reading are counted including graphic novels, recipes, listening to an audio book, etc. The program encourages kids to read for fun and keep that skill up over the summer.

Libraries were closing just when staff were planning the program. Under normal circumstances SRC is promoted in schools and each library does their own program. Collaboration between the library systems streamlined how the libraries reached out to the community and avoided confusion about where parents should take children and how they could access the program.

“The communications team from both libraries put together an amazing presentation about summer reading club, inviting people to participate with a lot of dignitaries from the two different communities so the kids would get excited,” said Longley. The information was shared through schools.

A committee of staff from various libraries develops the B.C. program each year and works with an artist who incorporates cool graphics to create a reading record, stickers, and bookmarks. Kids track what they read or how much time they spent reading throughout the summer. Longley said it was great to have a network of libraries working on the same issue and sharing what they would do differently to offer the program.

The group did themed programs with everything offered virtually, and mostly pre-recorded. An app was created but parents also had the option to pick up the reading record on a take-out basis. Based on an overarching theme of space, each week offered different activities such as inventing your own planet; or using science and technology to examine how meteors fall. Participants were excited and engaged with virtual author visits where kids could ask questions and learn about different genres.

Longley praised the camaraderie. “I loved seeing how much we can do when we work together. It’s been wonderful to have the support of CUPE members in different libraries as we went through that uncertain time.”

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