In Sussex County, Delaware three youth services librarians are kicking off 2014 with their 2nd Annual Super Bowl Reading Program. In late 2012, Tameca Beckett, Laurel Public Library, Christina Poe, Seaford Public Library, and Jessica Webb, Delmar Public Library decided to start the New Year with a little friendly competition. And what says competition in January better than a little football? They decided to host a one month Super Bowl Winter Reading Program. Each participating library would compete to see who could score the most reading touchdowns. The winner would be announced during the Super Bowl Tailgate party, the Saturday before the Super Bowl. The only prize awarded was a small trophy for the winning library and bragging rights for the year.
Reading logs were distributed to local schools, community centers, and homeschool groups. Throughout the month, each library hosted football themed programs. Each week the touchdown totals were posted in each library as well as on social media. In one month, the youth from Delmar, Seaford and Laurel scored a combine
d 227 touchdowns, which equates to 2,270 reading hours. Over 300 parents and children from each library attended the tailgate party, hosted at the Laurel Public Library. The Laurel High School football team lent football helmets and jerseys for the tailgate party photo shoot. Teen volunteers from each library assisted with the food and games during the party.
This program is a demonstration of the power of collaboration and theme. The football/sports theme drew fathers and sons into the library in droves. Additionally, kids were motivated as they worked as a team for their library. Children actually congratulated each other as they scored reading touchdowns. Yes, there was still a winner but that was all overshadowed in the group effort for both librarians and children. During the height of the tailgate party, filled with smiling children and parents, it was impossible to identify who was on what team. Librarians, volunteers, teens, and kids were all apart of Team Literacy. And it is obvious that we all win on that team.
By Tameca Beckett, ARSL Board Member and Co-Chair of Member Services Committee
Laurel Public Library, DE