California’s Summer @ Your Library: Explore, Learn, Read, Connect outcome and outreach initiative helps libraries present outcome- and outreach-based programs and is an ALA summer reading best practice.1
The initiative has been designed as an outcome- and outreach-based approach to engaging people of all ages during the time when traditionally school is out. This approach allows libraries of all sizes to create opportunities for the people in their communities to connect with each other and with resources for learning, enjoyment, and personal development. This framework further recognizes that for too long traditional summer reading programs attracted the same people — regular library users who enjoy books and reading. There was a need to be more intentional about attracting underserved members of the community so they could reap the same benefits as their neighbors.
The following pages on children and caregivers, teens, adults, and outreach-based programs give more detail about the outcomes that have been developed to guide the planning, implementation, and evaluation of California’s public library summer programs and about the outreach initiative that encourages a more proactive effort to extend participation to previously underserved populations.
Public libraries can present outcome- and outreach-based summer programs by taking these five simple steps:
- Let us know you are adopting California’s statewide outcomes and our outcome- and outreach-based framework so that we can provide you with help and support.
- Plan your summer program with the outcomes and outreach in mind: design programs, activities, and outreach strategies that will help you achieve your outcomes and engage underserved members of the community.
- Collect data to determine whether your outcomes have been achieved: issue surveys to participants, talk to patrons in small focus groups to obtain even richer data, and record how many previously-underserved members of the community took part in your summer programs.
- Report your results to CLA — including your survey data and how many previously-underserved community members you engaged with your summer program — and receive tailored reports demonstrating the impact of your library’s summer program.
- Use your results to improve your summer program, demonstrate the impact and value of your work, maintain relationships with your targeted underserved groups, and set targets for next year.
The Summer @ Your Library project has developed resources to help you every step of the way! They include e-surveys to collect your data, a mentoring program, information on community assessment and reaching out to undeserved groups, and tips on conducting effective focus groups. We also provide you with reports of your library’s results at the end of the summer.
We encourage all public libraries to use these resources and draw on the Summer @ Your Library quality principles and indicators to help you achieve program outcomes and foster reflective practice around summer program planning and evaluation.
Please contact us about planning an outcome- and outreach-based summer reading program today.