By Anna Smith
As Susan Andersen Library turns the last page on their Summer Reading Program for 2022, they enjoy being able to offer more in-person programs after two years of altered or missing programs.
Everyone was excited to have a return to form, said Library Manager Kathryn Van Dorp.
“After two years of either not having one or a very modified program this year was pretty much back to normal of how we like to do things here at the library for the summer reading programs,” said Van Dorp. “So, it was wonderful.”
The program was overall a success, with 53 kids registered, said Van Dorp.
“That’s for ages six to 12 and the majority were six to nine year olds. They seem to have the most interest in our programming that we do here,” said Van Dorp. The number is lower than than pre-COVID numbers of 60–70 youth, but Van Dorp still considers it a success.
“What the program is, of course, it’s all promoting summer literacy, right? Keep the kids reading, keep the kids interested, and feeling welcome and interested in the library, and knowing that they can come on in, right,” said Van Dorp. “So that’s what they do. And so with that summer literacy, we do things like, you know, a lot of crafts, a lot of games, they get little prizes for answering little kinds of library trivia questions.”
One of the highlights of the program included three teams that the youngsters could contribute points to, to inspire a form of friendly competition.
“With the three teams, they can earn points for each library book that they’ve read. So it’s not an individual thing, it’s for their team, they can get points for their team,” said Van Dorp. “So you know, a little competitiveness kind of encourages some of those more reluctant readers, you know, they feel like there’s a little bit of competition. It’s kind of another sneaky way, I guess, to promote literacy while having fun, right?”
Every year, the library hires a summer student to do the program through the Canada Summer Jobs grant.
“We love it that we can create a summer job opportunity for our local students that return home for the summer,” said Van Dorp. “Like that’s a big deal to us too, right, just so we can even offer that opportunity for them to be at home and have some work experience while they’re having a summer.”
“We were very blessed and happy with our summer students that we have this year. Her name was Alexa Kielstra and she did an awesome job and she has returned to university for her second year of education,” said Van Dorp.
In addition to the summer reading program, the library also offered a preschool story time this summer, as well as a pilot program Low German storytime which may be revisited after September, which the library usually takes to plan for the autumn programming.
Van Dorp has been with the library for 20 years and in the management position for seven, and despite all the changes that libraries and library technology has seen over the years and the world becomes more and more online, but the community’s love and support of their local library has never changed.
“After these last two years of libraries being open and closed, the restrictions, I am very, extremely happy to see that the numbers of people are growing and they’re returning to the library,” said Van Dorp. “The interest and support; supporting the library; and the services — is wonderful.”