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It All Started in Minnesota

Summer reading has been around for a long time at East Central Regional Library. Vickie Sorn, our Youth and Community Services Librarian, has a list of ECRL’s summer reading themes going back to 1978*. Bionic Readout was the theme that year—must have been the year of the Six Million Dollar Man. The early themes, prizes and bookmarks were originated at the local level. In 1987, ten Minnesota regional library systems developed a summer library program for children, choosing a theme, creating artwork and selecting incentives that public libraries in the regions could purchase and use. This was the beginning of what’s known as the national Collaborative Summer Library Program and membership has grown to include libraries from all 50 states.

Paws to Read was the first Collaborative Summer Library Program.  According to Vickie, in the early years a graphic artist was hired. Librarians later agreed to choose an illustrator to do the thematic art. For example, Lane Smith, illustrator of The Stinky Cheese Man and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, did the art work for Wolfin’ down Books in 2001. Vickie has said that economics drives part of the program—what vendor can get the best prices and of course bringing in more libraries brings prices down.

Much of the work is done by multiple committees of librarians, of which Vickie has been a part of for many years. One committee puts together the big manual of ideas that librarians use as a resource throughout the summer. Other committees negotiate with the artist and still others work on the incentives. In recent years, Upstart has been the vendor that has worked with CSLP on the process of negotiation and offering incentives for the CSLP-selected nationwide theme. Since working with committees is a slow process, much advance planning is needed. That’s why librarians are buying summer reading prizes in December. Vickie said that the themes for summer reading have been chosen up to 2015!

This year author Brian Lies, is the illustrator for the theme, Dream Big Read. Look for graphics of stars and bats, cats, owls, beavers and alligators camping out and reading. Some of his books include Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Library and Bats at the Ballgame. ECRL Librarians have ordered hundreds of dollars’ worth of reading records, bookmarks, and incentive prizes, and have planned many activities and storytimes to keep children coming to the library over the summer.

2012-Dream Big-Read

Kathy Morrow, Branch Librarian
Mille Lacs Community Library in Isle

*Summer Reading Program Themes
contributed by Vickie Sorn, Youth and Community Services Librarian
1978 BIONIC READOUT
1979 QUEST TO DAER
1980 LIBRARY OLYMPICS
1981 RUNESTONE READING
1982 DRAGONSUMMER MAGIC
1983 COSMIC CAPERS
1984 FROGS, TREES, AND BUMBLEBEES (LEAF THROUGH A BOOK)
1985 CRACK THE CODE
1986 LIBERTY ENLIGHTENING THE WORLD
1987 PAWS AT YOUR LIBRARY
1988 DIVE INTO YOUR LIBRARY
1989 DINO-SOAR INTO SUMMER
1990 WHEELIN’ THRU SUMMER
1991 HATS OFF TO LIBRARIES
1992 LIBRARY ALL STARS
1993 HOOK A BOOK
1994 GO WILD FOR LIBRARIES
1995 THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
1996 GET IN THE GAME AT YOUR LIBRARY
1997 THRILLS AND CHILLS
1998 ROCK AND READ
1999 TREASURE YOUR LIBRARY
2000 COSMIC CONNECTIONS AT YOUR LIBRARY
2001 WOLFIN’ DOWN BOOKS @ YOUR LIBRARY
2002 DISCOVER A HOPPIN’ PLACE @ YOUR LIBRARY
2003 EXPLORE BRIGHT IDEAS @ YOUR LIBRARY
2004 TRACK IT DOWN AT YOUR LIBRARY
2005 WHAT’S BUZZIN’ AT YOUR LIBRARY
2006 CATCH THE BEAT AT YOUR LIBRARY
2007 GO BANANAS AT YOUR LIBRARY
2008 LOOK WHAT’S COOKIN’ AT YOUR LIBRARY
2009 GET CREATIVE @ YOUR LIBRARY
      Teens – EXPRESS YOURSELF @ YOUR LIBRARY
2010 MAKE A SPLASH – READ
      Teens – MAKE WAVES @ YOUR LIBRARY
20011 ONE WORLD, MANY STORIES
      Teens – You are Here
2012 DREAM BIG – READ
      Teens – OWN THE NIGHT

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