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CHECK THIS OUT: Banner Summer Reading Club turnout is a community effort

Jackie Barber writes about the people who helped out with this year’s club
A collage of some highlights from the 2023 Nelson Summer Reading Club. Photo: Submitted

by Jackie Barber

I vividly remember a few BC Summer Reading Clubs from my childhood. One that particularly stands out to me is 1995’s theme Flights of Fantasy. The Reading Record artwork of dragons and wizards is imprinted in my memory, and I remember the excitement of visiting my childhood librarian, Alice, at the North Vancouver District Library to collect the stickers.

(While looking at the BCSRC archive just now to double check the year, I realized the artist that year was, in fact, my dear colleague Anne DeGrace!? MIND BLOWN!)

I have been professionally involved with BCSRC for five years now, and I have to say this summer was the best so far, with the largest registration numbers and interest ever! I think the banner turnout illustrates the need for human connection after the pandemic. No longer are we tentatively socializing, but instead gathering together in full force.

A few times during the chaos of our programs, with children covered in paint running around the library, I questioned what our activities really have to do with literacy and preventing the Summer Slide I talked about in a previous column.

But talking with a few parents on our last day reinforced how important and impactful library programming can be. Simply increasing the amount of time children spend in the library directly leads to increasing their reading outside of the library. The regular visits ensure that families are always checking out new books, and the fun crafts and games cement positive associations with the library and reading in the children’s minds.

At last week’s awards ceremony, a big compliment I received from a parent was that we “make magic happen,” but it really wasn’t my doing at all. I certainly could not have done this year’s Summer Reading Club without all the collaborating and community input. Thank you to the Young Canada Works grant for enabling me to hire the indispensable and priceless Erin Busaan as SRC co-ordinator, as she is the one who really did all the work this summer!

The kids were exposed to so many wonderful, diverse, and educational activities from our special guests. Thank you, Phoebe Stewart, for sharing your Métis culture and traditional beading with us. The final crafts ended up looking so professional. Drumming and storytelling with Liam Fitzpatrick from Circle of Indigenous Nations Society was, in the words of one of the kiddos, “The best of the best!”

Our field trips to the Nelson Museum and Bunker, and the Capitol Theatre to watch a dress rehearsal for Matilda were thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you for opening your doors and accepting our crazy group.

Thank you to Serena Slonowski, from the UBCO Let’s Talk Science program, for coming in on a Saturday and sharing information about the life cycle of butterflies.

It was great making connections with born-and-raised Nelsonian, nurse and author Dawn Leslie, who joined us for a “Wee Wednesday” story time. I cannot wait to add your upcoming book to our collection!

I personally appreciated moving my body with Ann Paisner from Seed and Sapling Yoga, and I know the kids did too.

Thank you Angela Lacroix and Daniela Sirois, ambassadors from Wildsight’s Youth Climate Corps, for teaching us more about composting. You made stinky food fun! Our SRC awards ceremony would not have been the same without city councilor Jesse Pineiro handing out the medals, cake and watermelon donated by Save-On-Foods. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

My hope is that next year’s summer reading club will be even more awesome. I can’t wait!

Jackie Barber is children’s services librarian at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out appears monthly.