How to increase participation in your Reading Program for all ages.

Participation is the lifeblood of reading programs

Increase participation in reading programs for your entire community, meaning young readers, toddlers, school aged children, teenagers and even adults and your senior readers.

My experience is that there's no deficit of creativity or desire on the part of public librarians to deploy reading programs for all types of interests and ages of readers. The deficit comes in how many hours you must dedicate to running reading programs, because we know that you're busy.

In this Covid world, when libraries and library programs have been turned upside down, it's difficult to manage the library even in normal circumstances. But nowadays the challenge is much greater than it has been in the past. So, let's talk about what types of reading programs you might want to deploy to your reading community.

Reading Program Examples:

1. Reading challenges

During the month of August last year, we built a reading challenge to read a thousand minutes during the month, and we made it such that our libraries just created a reading program where they set a goal to read a thousand minutes from August 1st to August 31st and invited their readers participate.

It was amazing to see how many people finished this reading challenge of all during the month of August, a month that typically has a huge drop off in reading programs.

2. Genre Based Book Clubs

When we talk about reading programs, we talk about different types of interests.

Libraries run programs, for example, a New Fantasy Reading Club, where every time they add new fantasy books into their collection, they put them into the book bank for a reading program and invite all their patrons who are interested in fantasy books to come and join this reading program.

3. Book of the Month Club

We have a book of the month club where they will have one title every month that is made available to their patrons and the challenge will be to read that certain book in the month.

 Again, this allows you as a librarian, just imagine what type of reading program you would like to deploy to reach a certain segment of your population and then build a reading program around that interest preference. And it just literally takes a few minutes to build a reading program that will meet a specific desire or needles in the library and then deploy to your community.

4. 1000 Books Before Kindergarten

Most every library runs some iteration of a 1KB4K program. Reader Zone allows you to run one program wherein a family can enroll their young child in a reading group according to when the child is set to begin school---you'd have one group called "Kindergarten 2022", another called "Kindergarten 2023" and so on. Family enter the reading program code, select the school that pertains to them and they begin logging books read.

As a reading program organizer, you can communicate with separate age groups on their terms, build out book bank selections that match the age group--high contrast board books for toddlers and early readers for 4 and 5 year-olds.

This is a low management and high impact way of managing a 1KB4K program at any library.


Promote your reading programs

 If you have a Facebook page or communicate with your patrons through some sort of digital means, it's quite simple to get the word out about this new type of reading program.

Reader Zone provides you will all the social media marketing assets you will need to build a great digital marketing campaign for your programs.

It doesn't take you any more time to manage because you're not handling sheets of paper. You're not having to enroll people one by one. They do it on their own. They log the reading on their own and you just see the data and you are more importantly, giving your patrons an opportunity to engage with your library and find value with it, without you having to take hours out of your day to manage this and figure out how you're going to do it.

We're here to help you every step of the way. We have a lot of great librarians who give us ideas every day regarding different types of reading programs that are running. We even have a Facebook group that's dedicated to reading program organizers where organizers talk to each other. They share best practices and ideas. It's fun to see how they work together and how they use Reader Zone to reach segments of their population that might not otherwise participate with the library.

But again, it gives you the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with your patrons and engage them in programs that are interesting and compelling for them.

Click to learn more about adult reading programs, and 1KB4K programs.