28,829 children, 26,402 books, 38,418 adventures, 166 public libraries
And the final figures are still trickling in as many programmes host their closing functions.
This summer, children across Aotearoa took part in holiday programmes at their local libraries. Public Libraries of New Zealand (PLNZ) supported the programmes with a dedicated webpage, tracking progress and participation by children throughout the period. We received lots of photos of kids enjoying library-based activities, reading in a quiet moment on their holidays, or relaxing with the whole family over crafting, puzzles and books.
Reading-based programmes are popular options for libraries, delivering directly on retaining literacy levels throughout the school holidays. Many libraries also offer plenty of skill-based activities that address a range of literacies; numerical, digital, and spatial, to name a few. The different approaches all have the one important thing in common - the children; with libraries providing access to knowledge, the sharing of knowledge and the creation of knowledge.
One parent from Lower Hutt told the library staff, “Doing the Summer Reading Challenge last summer was the best thing for my son. It got him back into reading after he’d lost interest and confidence. This year he is loving reading for the Challenge again, and his reading skills are being amazingly and painlessly boosted. It’s the best thing I could have done with him and for him, thank you so much for offering Summer Reading!” An Otorohanga parent had similar feedback, saying, "Thank you for this opportunity to develop reading skills and an introduction of library usage to my boys. They have developed an enthusiasm to read and use the library's resources."
In mid-December, Westland library told us they were busier than anticipated. “We have had over 100 children and their families participate in our Summer Holiday Programme this week, getting creative with our crafting activities, spending time in the library choosing books to read for the challenge and just relaxing.” And over at Tasman District Libraries in mid-January, the options were equally plentiful: “Experiences include chalk art, origami drop-in sessions, beading sessions, creating a reading hideout, sharing jokes, Summer Safari Scavenger Hunts and more fun to come.” At one Central Otago library, an excited young girl came back within the hour of signing up to the reading challenge to increase her target after seeing her booklet!
In Dunedin, the librarians found that offering the activities increased their participation numbers, telling us “[There was a] great level of engagement with children and families this year. The activities accompanying the reading programme have really helped to boost participation and encourage the children.” Eve Moodie of Media Melt ran one activity that saw children tasked with making a dramatic movie trailer with the Library as a film set and using books as a theme…with often hilarious results. The videos can be found on the Dunedin Public Libraries Facebook page
, and we’ve put a couple on our webpage
These programmes are a great way to ensure your children keep up academically over the summer holiday and are well prepared for the school year. Whatever the programme available in your area, the lessons go beyond the summer, bringing the joy of libraries and reading back into the classroom with the tamariki. That's the time to instill life-long learning, when our young ones are inspired. Children shared with their librarians many times, that reading made them feel more confident at school.
PLNZ says thank you to all the librarians dedicated to engaging young hearts and minds. They ignited a spark the children will carry with them into the 2019 school year. And to all our member libraries - the numbers are spectacular! Congratulations on a successful holiday programme season!