This morning I sat in on a conversation between some of the best teen librarians in our area, eavesdropping as they talked about how burned out they feel about summer reading programs. The consensus in the room where teen services librarians from our 54 local public libraries had convened was that they know the kids are, in large part, reading, but it is really hard to get them to participate in a summer reading club, and to make those programs carry real, meaningful value for that age group.
Meanwhile, I had just been having a conversation about how the mission of libraries these days isn’t really about promoting reading, but promoting Learning (with reading being one of the avenues through which one can learn). The buzz is all about Lifelong Learning, which is something we can encourage within our communities in many different ways, not just through the promotion of reading.
The question I found myself asking as I put these two conversations together was this:
“Why, then, are we having Summer Reading Clubs and not Summer Learning Clubs?”