by Angie Andre
At Tredyffrin Public Library we usually see fewer younger patrons during the colder months of the year. February is sometimes a slow month, but not this year. We made one major change and it made a big difference. We promoted Basic Literacy by starting a Winter Reading Club for families. All members of the family were encouraged to participate and read aloud to each other for the month of February. It really is a simplified version of our summer reading club.
We created a brochure with directions, tips for reading aloud, and a calendar to mark the time patrons read with their family. To encourage participation we offer one free book for each family that signed up. We kept the free book cart near the circulation desk on a pretty blue cart to spark interest. Simple registration consisted of a check mark on a tally sheet for participants. (Everyone appreciated the simplicity of this method.)
After the family reached a total of 7 hours each member of the family that participated received a raffle ticket for a chance to win a Family Gift Basket.
We started registering patrons 2 weeks before our kick-off event. On February 1 we held a program called “It’s Snow Much Fun to Read” where we read a story, and made fun snowmen crafts. We explained the details of the Winter Reading Club and started registering. In the end we registered over 80 families with 156 total participants.
We used social media to promote books that would make a good family read aloud selection. We posted books on Instagram (@tplchildren) and had a book display in the library to offer suggestions.
I would like to extend a big thank you to my colleague Susan Farrell, Youth Services Librarian at Henrietta Hankin Library in Chester Springs, for the inspiration for this program.
*editorial note 🙂