Year after year, grown adults would belly up to the desk and ask why there was no summer reading program for adults, since there was a summer reading program for kids. I usually managed to say something politic about the point of summer reading being the creation of lifelong readers, etc, even though I thought the idea of adult summer reading was a little silly and wanted to say so. It reminds me of a situation that comes up occasionally where an adult in one area of the library will be making a lot of noise (hollering into their phone, for example) at the same time that a small child is fussing or crying in another area. I’ll go and tell the adult to quiet down a bit and they will want to know why we aren’t telling “them” (thumb jerk at the toddler who is crying) to be quiet. They don’t seem to appreciate that, in this world anyway, we treat kids differently than we treat adults. If we treated them the way we treat toddlers, I’d like to tell them, they could only show up to the library when Mommy took them and they’d have to stay with her. I half expect such people to show up at my house on October 31st demanding to know why I’m not giving adults candy when I just gave “them” (thumb jerk at a little hobo or ghost or whatever kids are dressing up as this year) Kit Kats.
But, buckling under pressure as we always do, we started an adult summer reading thing some years back. We justified it to ourselves by saying that it is a way to funnel people into the library-sponsored book groups the same way that children’s summer reading is a way to get kids excited about reading. (Book group membership stayed pretty low, btw.) It did not take long for the adults to complain that there were no prizes for the adult summer reading program. After all, we give prizes to “them” (thumb jerk at the child who just selected Diary of a Wimpy Kid as their prize book).
So we started giving out prizes. The prize budget came from that special brand of parsimony that all library programs run on, so the prizes were conspicuously not awesome. So the complaints started up immediately about the crappy prizes.
For the last few years, though, more money and prize solicitation effort have been expended, so now the prizes arepretty awesome. Awesome enough that I kind of wish that library employees and their families could enter the drawings. Now we have drawings all summer long for super cool stuff.
Today a patron complained he hadn’t won anything.