Massachusetts Libraries were bustling with activity during their Summer Library Programs in 2016. Over 430,000 people attended programs held in 270 participating libraries across the Commonwealth. These public libraries offered 16,692 programs for all ages during the six-to-eight week span of the program; an increase of 700 programs from 2015. In 2016 113,268 participants registered for Summer Library Programs, with almost 35,000 using Wandoo Reader, our online tool offering registration and tracking reading from anywhere with Internet access-that’s a 4% increase over the previous year.
2016 was our sixth year as members of the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP), allowing MA libraries to share the same program, theme, incentives, and artwork with many other states across the nation. The Massachusetts Library System (MLS) continues to provide membership to the CSLP for each public library member along with the program manual, posters, and bookmarks.
Participating libraries were pleased with the children’s and early literacy program artwork, created by New England author and illustrator, Matt Tavares. This year’s theme of sports, wellness and fitness was especially engaging. The Summer Olympics provided a perfect complement at many libraries and several worked with local organizations to provide programs to fit with the theme. As one librarian stated, “Our best part was working with our organizations that help with health and fitness in our community. We were able to work with karate, gymnastics, dance, & local rec department to offer programs for kids.”
MLS also continued working with the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) to bring the much loved and appreciated Boston Bruins Partnership to libraries. The Bruins visited 11 libraries for special events with Blades the Bear and Bruins Ice Girls. Additionally, thanks to the Bruins support, poster costs were covered for all programs for all libraries, and participants had the opportunity to win prizes provided by the Boston Bruins. The Western MA Library Advocates (WMLA) once again coordinated the donations of incentives from the Big E, Yankee Candle, USS Constitution and Friendly’s Restaurants. Librarians statewide report the high value of these incentives and partnerships.
MLS and Massachusetts libraries are already planning for summer 2017, inspired by the theme of “Build a Better World”, and will continue our tradition of offering a quality, educational, and fun program for all ages available at your public library.
April Mazza & Christi Showman Farrar