View this email in your browser
The last "Order by" "Receive by" date is approaching. Place your order by May 1st to receive by June 1st.
Coming Early April: "Tails and Tales, Part 2", a supplemental collection of worksheets and resources to support your library mitigate the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
2021 Tails & Tales themed StickTogethers available for preorder. Click here to view!

Comparing Apples to Oranges

by Aimee Adams, Events Coordinator, Medina County District Library, Ohio

In the world of statistics, previous years always pop back up since we normally compare them to the current year’s performance. While 2020 is behind us, it continues to haunt us like those leftovers that got pushed to the back of the fridge. You’ve probably heard the age-old idiom that “you can’t compare apples to oranges,“ but what if you could? Using fill rate ratios can add an extra dimension to your system’s programming audits to determine which programs to resume as COVID-19 restrictions relax.

If you are in a multi-branch system perhaps you are accustomed to thinking big branches are apples and small branches are oranges--incomparable. You might also consider your Summer Reading Kick-Off celebration that brings in hundreds or thousands an apple while your story times that only bring in tens are oranges. How can you compare the two? Consider adopting a method of examining the fill rate ratio by using expected and actual attendance stats.

Develop the expected attendance as part of your program planning process. How many people do you expect to attend? Sometimes it’s pretty straightforward:
  • How many people can fit in the room?
  • How many kits of supplies are available?
  • If you booked a presenter, do they have a limit?
Sometimes it takes a bit more thought:
  • Does your library have a target ROI per program?
  • Is there a certain dollar amount per person that your library strives to hit?
  • How many people are likely to attend based on other similar programs?
Now you have a number of how many people you expect to attend—whether it’s 10 or 500.
After the program takes place, take the number of actual attendees and divide it by the expected attendance numbers. This number will give you the fill rate ratio for that particular program. For example, if I plan a story time for 30 people and 25 attend, I end up with a ratio of 83% (25 / 30 = 83.33%).

Once all programs have an expected attendance and fill rate ratio, you have the ability to compare some apples to oranges: small-scale can be compared to larger-scale programs and branches can be compared. This method shows how small-but-mighty branches and programs can hold their own against larger counterparts. It also demonstrates there can be much more to stats and success than merely counting people in chairs.


Tabletop Role Playing Games: A Summer Primer

by Christine Martin-Resotko, Capital Area District Libraries - Mason, MI

Tabletop role playing games make a wonderful addition to any summer reading program.  For this year’s theme, some appropriate games would be Tails of Equestria (My Little Pony Friendship is Magic), Pugmire, The Secret of Cats (FATE supplement), and Anthro Adventures (Dungeons and Dragons supplement).

Summer is a perfect time to get creative with kids and teens.  There are crafts, storytimes, and more that we see every year and all the kids enjoy.  What can sometimes be lacking is a more interactive, cooperative creative outlet.  Tabletop role playing games can feel that niche.

A tabletop role playing game (RPG) is where you and a group of 4-8 people
cooperatively tell a story that you make up as you go along.  You have books with rules to guide your play, dice to help randomize the results of any action you wish to take, and one person who takes the role of the Game Master (GM) or Dungeon Master (DM), the person who guides the whole process. The whole thing takes place in the imaginations of the people playing. All you really need is a rule book, dice, paper, pencils, and a group of players.  There are no age limits for this hobby, and you can explore any genre you like.

The great thing about incorporating tabletop RPGs into summer reading programs is that your theme is already picked out for you.  If your theme is superheroes, start a game with all your players as kids or teens who just got their superpowers and have to navigate life with them.  A space theme leads you to popular franchises like Star Trek and Star Wars.  The sky’s the limit to the choices of games you have.

The best place to start is to look for a Quickstart adventure.  This is an adventure with an abbreviated set of rules and a group of characters for your players.  It is a perfect starting place if you aren’t familiar with tabletop RPGs and don’t want to have to read through several hundred pages of rules and setting information.  Most games require some kind of dice, and there are plenty of free dice roller apps that can accommodate almost any game.

For those familiar with RPGs, look for adventures or settings for a preferred game system.  Many people have created rules to modify games like Dungeons and Dragons for all sorts of settings.  There are also many generic systems that allow for any type of play desired.  FATE and GURPs are two of the most flexible systems on the market, and both have free PDFs available.

The best part is when the group is together.  Kids and teens come up with wild ideas while playing.  The story will take all sorts of twists and turns.  Everyone will laugh, and have stories to tell to all their friends.  Being part of the story is the best part of any RPG.  They are the heroes battling the bad guys, investigating the hidden temple, exploring a new planet.  Imaginations will soar, and they will keep coming back for more.  Enjoy the ride.
What is your library planning to do for 2021? Please send your photos, ideas, and any informative details to Luke Kralik at: I would love to share them in our newsletter.

Looking for some ideas for 2021 to use or share?
Increasingly, public libraries are feeding hungry bodies as well as hungry minds during the summer – and throughout the year. The CSLP’s Child and Community Well-Being committee is developing resources to support and encourage library participation in the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program and other initiatives to help kids and teens stay nourished, active, and healthy when school is out. These resources include the Libraries and Summer Food page on the CSLP website; a Facebook group for news, support, and resource-sharing; and an ongoing series of stories showcasing the experiences of libraries around the country.

2021 Summer Food Service Program: What Libraries Need to Know

By Janet Ingraham Dwyer, Library Consultant, State Library of Ohio & Chair, CSLP Child & Community Well-Being Committee
Hundreds of libraries around the USA participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a USDA-funded program that provides free meals and snacks to children ages 0-18 in communities with high levels of need.
Libraries and SFSP are a great fit! The library is a trusted, accessible community center known for free services, available to everyone, without any stigma of “handout.” Libraries are also justly famous for drop-in enrichment programming, which increases the attractiveness and use of SFSP sites. Libraries enhance meal distribution with Summer Library Program registration, take-and-make crafts, and other programs to-go.

Purchase this banner in the CSLP Shop!

SFSP is also good for the library. Besides the obvious benefits of addressing hunger and supporting vulnerable youth, participation benefits libraries through:
  • Access to new user groups.
  • Visibility of the library as an important stakeholder in community well-being and positive child outcomes.
  • Opportunities for new partnerships.
  • Increased participation in summer programming.
Ordinarily, there are rather strict (but do-able) rules about meal distribution, and sites must be in locations where at least 50% of area children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. However, during the pandemic, several waivers are in effect and have recently been extended through September 30:
  • Meals may be served in many locations that were not previously eligible.
  • Meals may be taken home or delivered, instead of eaten on-site.
  • Parents or guardians may pick up meals without children present.
  • Multiple days’ worth of meals may be picked up at once.
As a SFSP site, you do not have to prepare or pay for meals. You can work with a sponsoring organization that coordinates food service, and the USDA covers the expenses. If your location is eligible, all children who show up are eligible, regardless of family income, and you don’t have to take attendance.

Check with your state administering agency to determine if your location is eligible under the temporary waivers and to learn how to become a site. MANY communities across the USA are eligible to distribute meals this summer. Food insecurity has worsened during the pandemic. This is a great time for your library to become a SFSP site and address food insecurity in your community. With the current waivers, participation can be easier than ever.
See the CSLP’s Libraries and Summer Food guide for detailed, library-oriented guidance on being a SFSP site, supporting nearby sites, or simply spreading the word about free meals for kids and teens.

Download this talking points flyer from the CSLP Libraries and Summer Food guide

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

by Joel Bangilan, Holocaust Museum Houston, Lester and Sue Smith Campus, Houston, TX

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Starting in 1978 when President Carter signed a joint resolution to designate the first 10 days of May as Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week, educators, libraries, and other community groups set aside time to recognize the contributions of Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders. Something to remember when working with the AAPI communities is that there is no one “Asian” ethnicity or culture. The largest continent on earth is home to billions of people who are of every race, ethnicity, religion, color, language, and tradition. Asian Americans have roots and connections all over the world. From the South Central Asian migration to Guadalajara, NYC’s, LA’s, and Chicago’s Chinatowns, Japanese migration to South America, to the Southeast Asian relocations to the Gulf coast, the recorded history of AAPI people started with Filipinos landing in the Americas off Spanish galleons in Louisiana in the 1500s! Libraries can show appreciation for the hundreds of cultures represented by the umbrella group by planning events that show commonalities among human beings while maintaining appreciation for people with Asian and AAPI heritage.


Comics books or “sequential art” are popular the world over for people of all ages. Nowhere else has the medium proliferated as it did in Japan as manga.  American comic books taking physical form as graphic novels are growing in popularity among adults and teens, ironically it still is thought of as a media for young children. Time magazine reads at about 8th grade levels. X-men comics are measured to read at 12th grade! AAPI authors and artists have taken to the media to explore far more than the funnies. Through a collaborative art medium, they explore the human condition, race relations and marginalization of people, and freedom to be who one was meant to be.  Here are a few titles to consider:


American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

Essential X-men by Whilce Portacio

Monstress by Marjorie Liu

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Shattered: The Asian American Comics Anthology  by Jeff Yang

Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary by Keshni Kashyap


What is on the horizon for CSLP?

2021: Theme/Animals; Slogan/”Tails and Tales” Artist/Salina Yoon

2022: Theme/Oceanography; Slogan/"Oceans of Possibility" Artist/Sophie Blackall

2023: Theme/Kindness and Friendship; Slogan/"All Together Now"; Artist/Frank Morrison

2024: Theme/Adventure; Slogan/TBD; Artist/Juana Martinez-Neal
Was this forwarded to you? Click here to sign up for your own copy of the newsletter!
Copyright © 2021 Collaborative Summer Library Program, All rights reserved.