Summer time is one of my favorite seasons at the library.
The library staff enjoys helping all of our patrons and seeing what everyone is enjoying for their summer reads. Summer is not only a great time to catch up on reading, but it has been proven that keeping up with reading during the summer prevents what the experts call “the summer slide.”
While usually this pertains to children and their skills, the same can be true for adults. In young people, learning losses are experienced when they don’t engage in educational activities during the summer.
Students who read through the summer score higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the school year than those who did not read.
An easy and fun way to prevent this summer slide is to participate in our summer reading program. Our summer reading program is virtual again this year using a program called READsquared.
Now, for more library history. Our library, as most others of the day, circulated mostly books and then added periodicals to the collection. To check out, the patron would sign their name on a card inside the book and a due date was stamped on a slip inside the book.
When I first started working at the library, the majority of checkouts were books, magazines, and some media. If you wanted to checkout a library book, you brought your card to the librarian’s desk and she put the card in a Gaylord stamp machine.
These old machines made a clunking sound as they bit into the checkout card and stamped your library card number onto the card. We put a green due date card in the book and your checkout was complete.
Many of our long-time patrons can remember the familiar “ka-chunk” sound of that old machine. As there were different circulation periods for different items, the library staff was careful to change the circulation times before stamping the checkout card.
As time has progressed, we have broadened our horizons. With the use of the computerized catalog, e-books, faster inter-library loan services and streaming music and movies, our patrons have access to diverse collections of materials.
Our current library cards are barcoded and a simple scan can check materials out as well as enable the patron to download e-books, audio books and movies electronically.
I often wonder what Minnie Simons, the librarian when our building was built in 1912, would say seeing the many changes that have happened over the last 100 years. One thing has not changed; reading is still our focus. We love Rochelle Readers.
Sarah Flanagan is the Flagg-Rochelle Public Library Director.