the day i suggested we slay the sacred SRP cow

This is my 4th SRP. The past 3, I have been a mess. Completely panicked and totally stressed and…well…a mess. We start signups on June 1 and our kickoff party is June 6 and I keep waiting for the panic to seize me, but I think this might be the year I finally realize SRP is no different than any other part of the year. It’s just busier.

On twitter a few nights ago, I caught a snippet of a conversation where someone asked if SRP is a sacred cow that needs slaying.

Can I get an AMEN?!


Yeah. I didn’t think so.

I know, I know. SRP is important. We help prevent summer slide! (But do we really? My library doesn’t have any empirical evidence that’s the case…I mean, obviously if kids are encouraged to read over the summer and they do then maybe, but aren’t those kids going to be more likely to be engaged readers in the first place? We still rely on caregivers to get kids to the library during the summer so are we reaching those who can’t come? Especially with programs that require repeat visits throughout the summer?) We get non-readers to read by giving away prizes! (Yeeeeah, but there’s a lot of research that suggests rewarding reading doesn’t work in the long run and if anything, by rewarding kids who already LIKE to read, we could be turning them off to reading.) Our community loves our summer program and they would be so upset if we got rid of it! (Okay, you’ve got me there….except shouldn’t engagement be the goal year ’round? Are our SRP designed for our entire communities or the ones that are the most vocal and supportive already?)

I’m obviously being a bit cheeky, but the whole business of slaying sacred cows means we’ve got to be on the lookout for the “Because we’ve always done it!” answer and at the end of the day, isn’t that why SRP is the ultimate sacred cow?

I don’t have any answers or a big finish here. So, I’m just going to leave this picture of a shaker egg I got from Cory during Guerrilla Storytime at Midwinter. 



3 thoughts on “the day i suggested we slay the sacred SRP cow

  1. You hit the nail on the head – not just for SRP/SLP but all our work in libraries – why are we doing anything that we do? When we question and examine it helps us make sure our service meets the ever-changing needs of kids and families. Ranganathan’s Fifth Law of Library Science (The library is a growing organism) is as true today as when he proposed it in 1931!

  2. I don’t think we need to slay SRP, but it can certainly become something different. I personally don’t have empirical evidence, but others have done studies, and folks in our community TELL US that their kids read more because of our program. And I sure don’t want to get rid of the one program that makes everyone in our library system remember that we do YOUTH programs and they are important. Yes, it is a lot of work (I too am experiencing the SRP stress sysmptoms), but somehow it is worth it. I hope.

  3. Such a good point to keep in perceptive. Are we offering the best services we can for our community? And we need to keep asking ourselves this question on a continuous basis. Glad you aren’t feeling as stressed – as this isn’t a program we shouldn’t be stressed about. Yes, we need to prepare ahead of time for what to possibly expect, but in the end it all works out! Just remember Pete the Cat’s moral – “It’s all good!”

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