Winter Reading Programs

snowflakesSummer Reading has long since wrapped up (though you may already be planning for summer 2014!). For many libraries, Summer Reading is a major program that brings lots of kids to the library. Why not take advantage of other school vacations to keep kids coming back to the library after summer ends? Christmas Break and Spring Break are both great opportunities to attract kids to the library during the snowy months!

Angie Manfredi, who blogs at Fat Girl Reading and works for the Los Alamos County Library System in New Mexico, outlines how her library holds a low-maintenance Winter Reading Program that runs over the course of two months and is organized around a bingo card, as well as a five days of Spring Break Programming.

The Winter Reading Program bingo card is easy to create. Angie even provides PDFs of the templates she uses! They use separate cards for 2-6 year olds and 7-12 year olds. Some squares stay the same each year, while others change. When deciding on a theme for a square, make sure you have enough books to meet patron demand.

The bingo card gives you a lot of flexibility to run the program whenever works best for your community and for however long you want. Many small libraries without much space count on the warm summer weather to hold outdoor programs because all the participants won’t necessarily fit in the library at one time. With the bingo card, all the kids don’t need to be in the library at the same time.

For Spring Break, Angie planned five days of programs, which she based on their successful stand-alone summer programs, so every day was different:

  • Monday – Game Day
  • Tuesday – Teen Movie Night
  • Wednesday – Clifford’s Birthday Party
  • Thursday – Amelia Bedelia’s Birthday Party
  • Friday – Makerspace

Spring Break programming doesn’t have to be themed like Summer Reading is, but you could make it easy on yourself and use successful or extra activities out of last summer’s manual. Or you could use it as promotion for next summer’s program! The manuals for 2014 are already available (request one, if you haven’t already), so try out a new idea and see how it works!

For those libraries without much space, you may need to partner with a community organization that has more space, or focus on promoting activities the kids can complete on their own, without all having to gather at a specified time.

Grand Forks Public Library has a Winter Reading Program. Any others in North Dakota? Have you tried reading programs at other times of the year besides summer? What works for your library? Share your stories in the comments!

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