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The 2021 Incentive Catalog is live Click here to view!
Note: All orders placed in 2020 have shipped. If you placed your order in 2020 and it has not yet arrived, please contact customer service at
Coming April 1: "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!

2020 Summer Reading for Children

by Jackie Peters, Children’s Programming Coordinator Charleston County Public Library

Summer Reading 2020 was one that will go down in the history books! The plans for CCPL's Summer Reading Program were well in place by March 2020, so when staff had to reimagine what the programs they had planned as in-person events and now had to be switched to virtual, they did not disappoint!

The Children's Services staff created a plethora of fun and educational virtual programs tied to the theme, "Imagine Your Story." Some of these events included a virtual Hogwarts Camp series where kids could learn how to make their wand, attend potions class, and make Honeydukes treats. Another fun book-themed virtual series was Merlin Missions in which a different Magic Tree House title was featured and an activity or craft that tied-in with the book was explained at the end.

We also had fun DIY craft virtual programs like making your own mermaid puppet theater or creating your own unicorn horn. For those who love cooking, we offered a virtual Fairy Tale Foods program. Some of the recipes that were made included Three Little Pigs in a Blanket, Snow White's Easy Baked Apple, Three Bears Overnight Oatmeal, and Goldilocks Smoothie. Of course, we had a ton of fun virtual storytimes by staff and we even had special virtual guest storytimes by Children's book author, Melinda Long, who read her book, "How I Became a Pirate" and a Gullah Geechee storytime with Children's book author, Kyndra Joi reading her book "Who Dem Gullah... Ask Princess Anyika!".

We also added more physical prizes to our Summer Reading Program for kids. We were able to provide a cool Summer Reading t-shirt to participants who reached the 30 hours of reading. The story of how we used the Turning Leaf Project as our t-shirt print shop is very heartwarming! Overall, Summer Reading was a success!

2020 Summer Reading for Teens

by Darcy Coover, Young Adult Programming Coordinator Charleston County Public Library

While the cancellation of in-person programs was a blow for the Teen Summer Reading Program, this did provide some opportunities for us. Funds earmarked for summer reading still needed to be spent after our performer and workshop were canceled, so we were able to expand the incentives we offered this age group.

Teens participating in summer reading at CCPL last year received a number of new prizes, which we're happy to say contributed to a dramatic increase in the percentage of teen participants who completed the program -- no mean feat, as we had also increased the number of points necessary to complete this year! We're confident that we'll be able to maintain these incentives for teens in 2021, so hope to see even higher completion rates.

Shifting our programming to virtual also opened up new possibilities -- our Girls on the Beat journalism camp traditionally features local professionals, but this year we were able to book journalists from all over the region who otherwise would not have been able to make the trip to Charleston to speak in person.

Summer Reading for Adults

by Karli Gallagher, Adult Programming Coordinator Charleston County Public Library

Summer 2019 was the first year we emphasized online logging for adults and we saw growth in participation in 2020. Adults did more reading and logging online. This was also the first year we had physical prizes for adults, which garnered tons of compliments and drove participation up. Patrons could pick up their prizes at curbside appointments, once branches began offering this service.

Additionally, we offered a multitude of virtual programs for adults. A virtual summer reading program allowed us to offer more programs to adults than ever before. We were not constrained by location or scheduling, as we often are when doing indoor programming. Presenters and partners were able to record content that we could post when our virtual schedule allowed. Additionally, there was an increase in staff collaboration at various branches and participation in creating programming once our library website and social media turned into a virtual branch!
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?
Public libraries feed hungry bodies as well as hungry minds during the summer – and throughout the year. The CSLP’s Child and Community Well-Being committee encourages library involvement in activities that support wellness, from summer and afterschool meals, to well-being programming, to support for basic needs, all to help children, teens, and communities stay nourished, active, and healthy when school is out. 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.

Spreading a Little Kindness

by Rhonda Frevert, Burlington (Iowa) Public Library
Inspired by a youth program at the nearby Keokuk Public Library, a staff team at the Burlington Public Library developed a plan for an all-ages Kindness Club set to start in March 2020. The pandemic forced a decision just days ahead of the kickoff event. Opting not to cancel, they quickly adapted and went virtual by creating a Facebook group for participants.

Using videos and informational posts, the staff introduces a new kindness topic each month. They also promote the club through bookmarks and the library’s newsletter.

To encourage connection, the club started with letter writing and then constructed and delivered hundreds of May baskets to local seniors. Other projects included learning about pollinators and distributing seeds to support them, collecting supplies for area schools, spotlighting the importance of supporting local businesses, and painting an outdoor obstacle course on the riverfront for families to enjoy. A winter project focused on backyard birds with kits including identification guides and supplies to make simple homemade bird feeders.

The library has a longstanding tradition of collecting food in November as part of Burlington’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner. When the dinner was canceled, the Kindness Club partnered with Miss Great River to collect canned goods to distribute to local food pantries, created a display on food insecurity, and made handouts about area food pantries. They also collected warm outerwear to distribute locally.

This month the club celebrated Black History Month by sharing stories of local Black history, developing a book display, and distributing hands-on activity kits for families to learn about Black historical figures.

All of the club’s projects use items already on hand or low-cost materials with support from the Friends group. One of the May basket recipients even made a donation to support the club’s efforts.

Starting the Kindness Club in the midst of a pandemic and remaining active over the past year speaks to the creativity and dedication of our staff. It has been a valuable cross-departmental team experience, an overall bright spot in a tough time, and a nice connection with our community. We look forward to having that first in-person club meeting someday. Until then, we continue to look for ways to spread a little kindness.

SRP Incentives in a Pandemic

by Aimee Adams, Events Coordinator, Medina County District Library

When COVID got us down, library staff got inventive. In 2020, the CSLP Stats Committee conducted a survey regarding incentives. 60% of respondents had purchased CSLP incentives in preparation for 2020 SRP. Normally, most libraries would dump the toy incentives into a “treasure chest” and let the kiddos rifle through to find their prize. With COVID, we realized, “EGADS! We can’t let them sift through the beloved treasure chest! How can we still hand out these fun rewards to our budding readers?”

I asked public library staff around Ohio for their methods of handing out prizes and was surprised at the creativity implemented. Many libraries such as Avon Lake and Kaubisch Memorial Library offered “grab & go” bags as part of their curbside service. Other libraries provided trays displaying the prizes as part of their curbside offerings.

Staff at the Medina County District Library used an enclosed display case so children could peruse the prize offerings before heading to the desk to announce their selection—the prize was placed in a VERY long-handled bug net and extended the selection to the recipient.  

Archbold Public Library staff used a large poster with Velcro and a laminator to put up images of their incentives. When they were out of a prize for that day, they could take it down only to replace it the next day.

As we prepare for the 2021 Summer Reading season, we may see a light is flickering at the end of the tunnel. However, we are still far from the finish line. Hopefully, your library can implement a few of these ideas to pass out your incentives this summer.

I continue to sit in awe of your ingenuity and your dedication to providing a sense of normalcy and excitement during this bleak time. If you haven’t already, join CSLP's Official Summer Library Programming Group - 2021 Tails & Tales on Facebook - for  more ideas.

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
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