September 2012 Issue
September 06, 2012

Librarians put the skids on summer reading slide

Author: Liza Frenette
Source: NYSUT United
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Page-turners! Show-stoppers! Those are the kinds of books students read this summer, thanks to some vivacious outreach from school and public librarians.

Weekly story times, Silly Putty craft projects, making bookmarks and tie-dying were activities used by school librarian Lisa Berner and her colleagues, all members of the South Colonie Teachers Association, to draw students to the library this summer. Programs were held at school and promoted through Facebook and a school newsletter.

"The foot traffic crafts bring has been wonderful, which also encourages more book checkouts," Berner said. Students see the library as a creative place. "It has been a wonderful way to strengthen our ties with our local community and our population of readers and creators!"

Teen empowerment

In Nassau County, Syntychia Kendrick-Samuel, president of the Uniondale Public Library Staff Association, won grants the past two years for the teen Empowerment Academy she created.

The five-week program at the public library included workshops on public speaking, modern dance and conflict mediation. Last year, successful graduates received a Kindle to encourage literacy

and embrace new technology. This summer, 178 teens also registered for the "Own the Night" summer reading book club, where they reported on books, won prizes and attended library programs.

Robin Labohm of the Shelter Rock Library union joined colleagues to operate a teen volunteer reading program with public librarian Cathy Loechner. Fifty teens assisted in the children's summer reading club, logging more than 500 hours reading aloud to kids. The Young Adult Reading Club drew teens who reviewed 250 books, took part in a mystery theater program and had a volunteer party.

Quest for summer readers

Ellen Rubin, Wallkill TA retired librarian who is now a Dutchess County reading liaison between school and public libraries, joined Rebecca Gerald, Dutchess BOCES School Library System Coordinator, in the quest for summer readers. They held four roundtables for school and public librarians to stop "the summer slide," when students lose ground by not reading.

High school librarian Michelle Reale, Poughkeepsie Public School TA, used a grant to purchase copies of The Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis for students enrolled in AP U.S. history. Students picked up books at the public library and met every several weeks to discuss them. While at the library, students were introduced to teen novels they could check out.

Five hundred sixth-graders were introduced to Ignite the Flame to READ! by school librarian Aileen Basuljevic of the Wappingers Congress of Teachers. Before school ended in June, the public librarian visited classes to showcase 10 titles she purchased in paperback, e-book and audiobook. They were put in the public library for checkout all summer.

And public librarians in New City in Rockland County partnered with Clarkstown Central school librarians to have students join summer programs, where they collected prizes for reading accomplishments and enjoyed concerts and live animal shows.

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