I think it is GREAT that you want to encourage your children to read over the summer! It is vital that all children keep those reading skills sharp while they are not in school. Thank you for coming to the library and signing up for the Summer Reading Club, a program that is designed to get kids excited about reading and reward them for picking up a book during their vacation.
Also, I understand that you might not feel very "up" on Children and Teen literature, which is why you show up at the Information Desk asking if there is a summer reading list - you want to find quality books for your children. That is great.
But a word of caution - these lists are distributed to EVERY CHILD in the ENTIRE COUNTY! Yes, we buy additional copies of each of these titles, but we can never buy enough that every child can take home the exact books on that list. Plus, the parents that were in right after school let out (as in, 5 minutes after) have ransacked the shelves and have taken one copy of each book, so now we have next to nothing and, rest assured, the books WILL be kept for their full three week checkout period, if not more (we'll talk about post-summer fines in another post).
So, I beg of you, LOOSEN UP! If Timmy is making a face because the only books left for his grade level are Caddie Woodlawn and a picture book about Leonardo Da Vinci, PLEASE let the librarians find him something else to read! Nothing will stamp the love of reading out of little Molly's heart and soul as much as you forcing her to read something she has no interest in.
The librarians are there to help. Please, come up to the info desk and ask for assistance. We read these books. We read book reviews. We at least flip through the books when they arrive at the branch. We know books. Part of our job is to get your child the book that will appeal to them the most - to make them enjoy reading.
And, also, it's summer time, let them read summer books. I don't expect you to take Tolstoy to the beach, why do you insist that your child take a "classic" or a book that feels more like homework than a leisure read. Don't wrinkle your nose when they ask for 'Captain Underpants' or sigh heavily that they could be reading something "on a higher level" when they pick up the Weird School series for a laugh. It's JUNE!
And to all of you parents that EMBRACE just letting your children read - THANK YOU! To those of you glued to your School Reading Lists, please drop those pieces of colored paper and leave them on the floor. Unless the child is required to read a specific title because of an assignment, let their summer vacation be full of FUN books. And YOU should check out some books too and set an example.
Miss Sam, the Librarian