Show Me The Awesome: Stepping Outside the SRP Box

I’m kind of late to the game, but I wanted to do a post for the series, “Show Me the Awesome!”, that was started by Kelly, Liz, & Sophie. (For more AWESOME, please check over at their sites for the official link-up and check out the #30awesome on Twitter/Tumblr/Vine/Instagram)

I want to talk about stepping out of the summer reading box and trying something different. For my library, June 1st has always been the start date for SRP, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it didn’t work for my teens. Well, let me rephrase that. It didn’t work well for teens I saw during my school visits. I was spending my entire month of May getting the teens hyped at the schools and expecting them to keep that excitement for 2 – 4 weeks. When in reality, the hype for most only lasted, if lucky, until that evening. So, I did something kind of scary, and made my start date May 1st.

You have no idea how many crazy looks I’ve gotten when I’ve said that. And it’s almost always followed by a WHY or ARE YOU SERIOUS?

Yes to both, but I thought…what do I really have to lose? My program is online so it wouldn’t be adding any additional work to my co-workers since teens only have to go to staff members to claim prizes. It meant that I had to have the level prizes (candy/book/lock-in) ready to go on May 1st, but that wa a piece of cake. (Programming still doesn’t start until June since I’m in the schools so much) On the other hand, it would mean I could tell teens they could sign up when they went home; in some cases I would even be able to sign them up on the spot. For me, all the pros outweighed any cons I could possibly think of.  Plus, if I failed, I failed. It would mean I would just go back to June 1st next year. Nothing would have been wasted except a bit of my time.

Failure, however,  is not in the cards. It’s basically been 1 month and I have 215 teens who have already logged books (422 who have signed up!). With two months left to go, I am about 100 away from my overall total from last year. Considering a lot of my summer crowd hasn’t even come in yet, this is huge.

The real success to me, though, is how the numbers have soared in the schools I visited. I can’t even believe how high the numbers already are.

School One:

Last Year: Over 2 days I talked to 249 teens and had 24 participate in the program. (9.6%)
This Year: Over 2 days I talked to 402 teens and have 77 who have already logged time. (19.2%)

So, I did talk to more teens this year, but the return rate is considerably higher already. Of course, I have to give a big hand to the teachers who have been helping kids log in during school hours and to their School Librarian who will be treating any of her kids who read 1,000 pages/10 hours or more to a pizza party this fall. (15 have already hit this goal, with about another 20 very, very close).

School Two:
Last Year: Over 5 days I talked to 643 teens and had 6 participate in the program. (0.9%)
This Year: Over 3 days I talked to 490 teens and have 63 who have already logged time. (12.9%)

This was the school that made me depressed last year. I spent a week there and only got 6 teens to participate! Already, this year is looking up! The percentage may be a little off as the School Librarian talked to the kids I missed, but even figured she talked to another 100 teens or so the return rate is still 10%. Considering I did even make it to 1% last year, this makes me extremely happy. With this school, allowing them to sign up/log books right away has been the difference. Now that they see how easy it is, I hoping they’ll continue this trend.

School Three:

Last Year: Over 3 days I talked to 585 teens and had 47 participate in the program. (8.3%)
This Year: Over 4 days I talked to 265 teens and have 26 who have already logged time. (9.8%)

While the number is lower, at the moment, the percentage is already higher. This School Librarian is also offering a breakfast/more prizes for just participating in my program, so it’ll be interesting to see how the numbers change. Also, I have a LOT of regulars who haven’t logged anything yet, so I’m positive the end number for this school will be higher

Now, I haven’t run down the exact numbers of how many signed up because of a school visit (see 2012), but I figure this is a good start. I am very anxious to see how many of the teens continue to log once school is out. Most of them put in an email address, so at least they’ll be including in my reminder emails throughout the summer.

While a lot of this may just seem like stats, for me it’s proof that stepping outside of the SRP box was worth it. It’s so simple to keep things the same because it’s easier and it’s the way that things have always been done, but sometimes even small changes can bring about big results.

If you have any comments or questions or just want to get a conversation started don’t hesitate to leave a comment or reach me @YALibrarianDrea on twitter.


One comment

  1. I love it! We have the same problem with the kids losing excitement after our visits and I think we’re going to open signups May 1 next year and then allow the kids to start logging time/books around whenever we’d normally “start”. If they’re signed up, we can send out an email when it’s time for them to start reading/logging to remind people. That’s awesome that it’s going so well for you! 😀 😀

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