SRC Programming Guide


Welcome to the SRC

Service to children, young people and their families is an important part of public library services.

The Summer Reading Club (SRC) program aims to assist public libraries in stimulating a love of reading and building a lifelong library habit in children, young people and their families.

Libraries participating in the SRC program receive access to themed content and resources to enable parents, library staff and others to support the local engagement of children in an enjoyable reading program during the summer holidays. Development of program materials at a national scale minimises participation costs for public libraries while allowing libraries the flexibility to deliver SRC programming that is responsive to their members’ needs.

Library SRC programs should encourage children and young people to:

  • ENGAGE with libraries and library collections,
  • DISCOVER and develop knowledge, understanding and skills related to the annual theme and
  • ENJOY reading books and participating in activities that inspire a love of reading, literature and the library habit.

The SRC Programming Guide: Get Ready, Get Set and Go! is provided as a tool to assist libraries develop their annual SRC programs. It has been compiled as a reference for planning, marketing and delivering your SRC. Ideally, libraries participating in the Summer Reading Club will develop their Summer Reading Club programs in alignment with the national theme, and incorporate themed merchandise and activities into their plan for engaging with children and their families during the summer. Please note: any timelines mentioned are provided as a general guide.

Independent of the theme, the planning processes outlined in this guide may be used in developing any program of activities you think would be appealing to your community. Feedback on the guide is welcomed and assists in the continued development of the SRC program.

Please send suggestions or comments to:

Get Ready (April – June)

Annually, the Summer Reading Club is officially delivered from 1 December to 31 January. Participating libraries generally deliver their SRC programs in accordance with these dates, but the start, finish and length of your program is flexible and will depend on your library’s capabilities, your staff’s enthusiasm, and the population in your community during the summer months.

To assist you with forward planning for your SRC, the annual programming theme is released in December each year and is found on the Resources page of the SRC Program website. SRC
Merchandise is made available for purchase by June of each year.

Getting ready for the SRC is as simple as one, two three:

1. Register your library’s participation in the Summer Reading Club. Registering your participation also subscribes you to the SRC newsletter—the primary method of communicating key information and activities related to the delivery of your SRC. If you have previously registered, you will receive a notification email from the Summer Reading Club confirming your library’s registration details. You will not need to register each year.

2. Order your Summer Reading Club Merchandise for use in promoting your program, rewarding participation, or to use as reading incentives in your libraries. Registered libraries will receive a notification email instructing them when to place their orders. The window for ordering remains open for 4-5 weeks. Orders are placed using the Summer Reading Club Program website.

3. Download the Summer Reading Club resources from the Resource page of the SRC Program website. Discover all the elements you need to promote and brand your summer reading club program including logos, graphics, posters, registration forms, reading logs, feedback forms, templates, activity booklets and more.


Get Set (April – November)

The Summer Reading Club is a great program that libraries can adapt to suite their own needs. No matter the size of your library, budget, numbers of children, young people and their families attending your library or your experience in delivering programming, the key to delivering a successful SRC in your library is planning and preparation.

It is recommended to use a calendar when planning for your Summer Reading Club. Identify key dates, generate a to-do list, and list the materials/resources that you will need for your program. Be sure to also include alternative program or modified program ideas that you can substitute or adapt to in the event that weather or other unforeseen circumstances prevent you from delivering your preferred program.

To ensure you build sufficient time into your program plan, check with the individuals responsible for maintaining your library website and producing your marketing materials and What’s On guides for the deadlines for submission if you plan to promote your SRC using these resources. Some Councils require longer lead times for inclusion of copy about Summer Holiday activities in their marketing materials.

Use the following tips to help you Get Set to deliver your SRC program:

1. Schedule the dates your library will run the program. At least four weeks is best. Identify when you will begin to promote your SRC to the children, young people and families in your community, what date you will launch your program and what date you will close. Your experience will be the best guide in determining the ideal time and length for your program

2. Develop a program of activities ideally aligned to the annual Summer Reading Club theme, which encourage children and young people to read and use their library during their summer break. Ensure that the activities and services you provide are available to all children regardless of their mental or physical abilities. To source ideas for your program, talk to fellow librarians, look for ideas online, visit the SRC News blog on the SRC Program website and review the Programming Ideas section of this guide.

3. Obtain prizes and/or sponsorship from local organisations. The Summer Reading Club is non-competitive, but most libraries like to offer incentives for participation or prizes to give away. In addition to Summer Reading Club Merchandise, you may want to source more prizes to give away to participants. You can use your existing program funding to purchase prizes or approach local organisations for sponsorship.

4. Promote your program. Promotion of your program will be primarily directed to three audiences:children, parents and the community at large. Your first efforts will be to invite children to participate. Second you will want to make their parents aware of your program so they will encourage and support their children’s participation. Finally you will want to promote the services of your library available to the community. Talk to everyone: to your library visitors, local schools, businesses and community groups. Publicity efforts should keep the community aware of the library and reinforce the image of the library as an important community organisation. You can effectively use the local newspaper, radio, and television (where feasible) for coverage of your program as library news is community news. A suite of resources, including a Letter to Schools and Media Release templates can be downloaded from the Resources page of the SRC Program website to assist you with your promotional activities. The Promoting Your SRC and Working with the Community sections of this guide also offer additional hints and tips for promoting your program.

5. Build a library display in your library promoting your SRC and the annual programming theme.

  • Put posters where people linger: the circulation desk, information kiosks, noticeboards etc.
  • Create your display close to the library entrance or near the Children/Young Adult areas.
  • Make the displays fun and interesting; include the posters and bookmarks as well as items that children and young people can borrow.
  • Display the art work, stories and activities that children have created as a part of the program.
  • Take pictures of your display and enter them into the Library Display Competition.

To see examples of SRC Library Displays, go to the SRC on Display page of the Summer Reading Club program website.

6. Print, prepare, and package materials to be distributed throughout the duration of your Summer Reading Club, and as part of your SRC activities. Things to prepare might include:

    • SRC Participation Packs; which may include a bookmark, tattoo and SRC activity sheets relevant to their age level. You might also want to include information about your library’s opening hours, a timetable of dates and details of activities your library will be running and feedback forms for parents/carers and participants. Some libraries like to give a participation pack out to all children who register; others like to use the SRC Merchandise as incentives throughout the program. How you use these materials is entirely up to you.
    • SRC Activity booklets available for download from the Resources page of the SRC Program website
    • Registration forms, Reading Logs, Participation Certificates, SRC Program Flyers, Information for parents
    • Prepare materials for craft workshops, storytelling sessions and other activities that will part of your program.


Summer Reading Club Program Planning Worksheet

This outline is provided as a guide to help you to Get Ready for you Summer Reading Club. It highlights key activities for consideration when planning your program.

Get Ready

  • Register/Confirm Library Registration details with SRC Program Coordinator
  • Order SRC Merchandise

Get Set

  • Our SRC Program begins:
  • Our SRC Program ends:
  • SRC Budget:

Activities scheduled
* Use table to plan/outline key events of your SRC program. You are encouraged to plan each week in further detail if necessary.

 December  January
 Week 1
 Week 2
 Week 3
 Week 4
 Week 5

Book and Confirm

  • Speakers/Authors/Guests:

* Use table to identify the awards/prizes you would like to offer.

(registration draw, book log draw, etc.)
 Item  Cost  Purchase or seek sponsorship


  • School Holidays begin:
  • Schools to Visit:
  • Print deadlines for local newspapers:
  • Write news release on:
  • Forward news release on:
  • Copy for What’s On/ Council Library Guide:
  • Copy for Library website:

Build your Library Display
* Use table to plan the theming/displaying you would like to offer.

(Entry, Info desk, Children’s space, etc.)
 Display/Theming Ideas  Materials  Staff  Budget  Time

Print, Prepare and Package materials
* Use table to identify materials that will be used/distributed

 Item/Activity (SRC Registration Pack, Registration Form, Launch Party, etc.)  Materials Needed  Print or Purchase  QTY  Cost



Somewhere between getting ready for and planning your Summer Reading Club the time arrives for you to Go to Work and deliver your program.

It is in the delivery of your program that you will find the reward of your efforts in engaging with children, young people and their families during the summer period. Libraries continually share that they are excited and pleased with their involvement in the Summer Reading Club and express that it is a fun and exciting way to encourage children to continue to read and visit the library during the holidays.

Use the following tips to guide you through the delivery of your program (and remember—have fun!):

1. Launch your Summer Reading Club. This can be a simple event held one morning or afternoon during the first week you start the Summer Reading Club. Some libraries will launch their program in schools before school lets out, others include raffles, prize drawings, games and local entertainers (clowns, magicians etc). For more ideas refer to the Programming ideas section of this

2. Register participation of children and young people using the paper template (available for download from the SRC Dropbox, located on the Resources page of the Summer Reading Club program website or use the online registration form, located on the SRC Themed or Club site.)

  • You may want to designate a specific location or information kiosk for children and young people to register at.
  • Registration should be unhurried and friendly—each child should be made to feel special and welcome.
  • Highlight children who are returning to the library to once again participate in the SRC.
  • You may want to give first-time visitors a tour of the library—or at least an orientation of the area’s that will be most appealing to children and young people.
  • Record participant details including their name, level, gender and Library membership number–or suggest they join the library if not a member. Collecting this information is important as it provides an overview of participant statistics and assists with the planning of future Summer Reading Clubs.

3. Direct participants to the SRC Club site to post book raves, artwork, and to engage in the online activities and national competitions. During the holiday period, you may consider using the Summer Reading Club themed activity website as the home page on your library computers.

4. Engage with participants:

  • Provide participants with a participation pack which may include a bookmark, sticker, tattoo and activity sheets relevant to their age level.
  • Distribute and collect Reading Logs. The responsibility of reading and submitting reading logs is left with the participant. You may want to encourage increased participation by
    connecting the return of their logs to entry into a prize draw or other incentive based system. The collection of the participant reading logs will enable you to report back the number of books
    recorded as having been read by participants in your library.
  • Recommend books to read. Have a conversation with your younger library patrons and their families. Find out what is of interest them and offer suggestions of books and other materials to
    borrow. Encourage them to keep track of what they are reading on their reading logs.
  • Deliver themed activities.
  • Host in-house competitions associated with participation.
  • Give out prizes and incentives to encourage participants and help them identify as being part of a community of readers—the Summer Reading Club of readers.
    • Use the SRC Merchandise to reward your SRC participants for completing book logs, attending SRC activities, and completing library challenges. Some libraries will put one of each item in their SRC sign-up/participation packs, while others use the collateral as prizes in lucky dips. It’s really up to you!
    • Give out reusable/recycled book bags with the library’s name or logo on them when people sign up. This will help children and teens recognise other summer reading participants and help them feel like they are part of a community.
    • When participants have read a certain number of pages or books, or read for a certain number of hours, place a personalized bookplate in their honour on a new library book of their choice.
    • If budget allows, give books as summer reading prizes. Try to buy a selection of books so that children and teens can choose which book they would like.

5. Collect feedback. Encourage children, young people and their parents to give feedback on your Summer Reading Club and on the SRC Program by completing the SRC Feedback forms available for download from the SRC Dropbox. You may wish to include a copy of these forms in the registration packs or email them the online survey links.

6. Celebrate your Summer Reading Club Members at the end of the program. Host a party or end of program celebration and present all participating children and young people with a participation certificate and prizes from any competitions you developed. Let them know you hope to see them the following summer!

7. Complete the Library Feedback and Evaluation form. The return of data assists in improving the quality of the national SRC program and ensures that an evidence-based approach to decision making is used. Feedback from libraries also ensures the program continues to reflect the needs of libraries and those of the children and young people in their communities. Notification of how to submit end of program data will be provided by email, prior to the conclusion of the program.


Promoting your Summer Reading Club

When promoting the program, keep in mind that you may want to promote to non-library visitors and people that have not participated in a Summer Reading Club before as well as to existing library users.

Here are some ideas:

  • Library display – Create a display close to the library entrance or near the Children/Young Adult areas. Make the displays fun and interesting; include the SRC posters, merchandise incentives and bookmarks as well as items that children and young people can borrow. Add to your display art work, stories and activities that children create as a part of your program. Ask children and teens for their ideas about how to decorate the library during the summer.

Use your display area to publicly acknowledge and promote all the reading that’s being done and to help participants feel part of a reading community. Some options include:

  • Place a clear, Perspex box in the library and invite children and teens to place the titles of books they have read during the summer into the box. Everyone can watch the number of papers grow, and the library will have a running total of books of how many books have been read.
  • Display an interactive board that shows the growing number of books read in your community during the summer.
  • Invite everyone who signs up for or completes the summer reading program to write their name on a theme-based die-cut shape (or write their name on one large shape) and display them (or it) prominently in the library.
  • Create a readers paper chain around the library: add one link for each book read by a summer reading participant.
    Examples of SRC Library Displays are available at
  • School visits – Primary and secondary schools are a good place to promote the Summer Reading Club and other public library services. Use the Letter to Schools template located in the SRC Dropbox to promote your SRC to local schools in your area. Ask if you can have an article in the school newsletter or go and speak about the Summer Reading Club at an assembly. You could even send them bookmarks to put in their school library.
  • Local media – Local media are always looking for stories from the community. Customise the Media Release template located in the SRC Dropbox and distribute to local newspapers and radio stations. It’s a good idea is to send out a second media release to the local paper shortly after you start running the club. Invite them to write an article and take photos of one of your activities. This can be a great way to promote other activities you have planned and encourage more people to sign up to your club.
  • Parents – Advertise the program in venues that parents frequent e.g. child care centres, supermarkets, dentists, medical centres and real estate agencies to catch the attention of parents
    new to the area. Send information to school Parent & Citizen or Parent & Friends associations.
  • Community groups – Similar to school visits, you may be able to send information and/or go and talk to local community groups such as Scouts and Guides, sporting clubs, youth groups and church groups.
  • Young people – One of the best ways to reach out to young people is through other young people. Talk to the young people who visit your library; if they’re interested they will tell their friends about your club or may be able to suggest places that young people may see your posters, such as a shopping centre or youth space area. Your council’s youth officer will have direct access to young people and may also be able to pass on information.
  • Local Council – Email council staff involved in youth and community development or send information to the staff newsletter about the Summer Reading Club. If your library or council has an email update or newsletter they send to residents, get an article about the Summer Reading Club included in the December and January issue.
  • Holiday Care programs – Approach the local holiday care programs and offer to run a session on the website or invite them to weekly activity sessions in the library.


Working with the Community

How do I approach my community for sponsorship of our Summer Reading Club?

Seeking sponsorship is not mandatory to run your Summer Reading Club program, but it can help to enhance your program and increase your participation. If you decide that you would like to offer prizes and incentives to participating children and young people, you can either purchase prizes from your existing budget or approach local organisations for sponsorship.

People are sometimes overwhelmed trying to source sponsorship and avoid it, but it is very beneficial as it helps you save money in your budget, encourages community involvement and as long as you ask the right people is really quite easy.

Before approaching any organisations, check with your Council to see if they have a sponsorship policy and/or a staff member who can assist you. There may already be a standard procedure or letter you can adapt to suit your needs.

Approaching sponsors

Contact your potential sponsors with a proposal, which is a short and concise letter explaining who you are, information about the Summer Reading Club, what you would like and the benefits they can receive. Some larger businesses may have a sponsorship request form available on their website so check this before you approach them. With local business owners and companies, look on their website or call to ask who you should speak with in regards to seeking sponsorship. Your sponsorship proposal should include:

  • An overview of your Summer Reading Club–Dates, types of activities, and its purpose–encouraging a love of books and reading and sustaining literacy skills in the summer holidays.
  • What type of sponsorship you are seeking–Be very clear with what you ideally would like in terms of items and quantity (e.g.10 movie passes or $500 for purchasing prizes). Often
    sponsors are able to accommodate your needs and if not they will help as much as they can. Movie passes, gift vouchers for local activities such as the swimming pool or go-kart track,
    books and related items such as toys, stationery, DVD’s and CD’s are great prize ideas to source sponsorship for.
  • How they will benefit from sponsoring–Share the outcomes of your SRC; participation numbers, books read, activities held, numbers of children and families in your library and
    acknowledge their part in the success of your program. If appropriate, display a sign with their logo and details acknowledging their support in the library. Visual acknowledgement might also include, printing their logo onto labels and attach it to posters and activity sheets, or perhaps including their promotional material in the SRC participation packs.

Things to Remember

  • Give the businesses you approach time to get back to you. If you haven’t heard from back from them within a few weeks give them a phone call or send them a reminder that you have requested sponsorship and are waiting for their response and ideas.
  • Some businesses are keen supporters of community projects and although they may not supply items suitable as prizes they may be able to support you in other ways. For example, the local
    Rotary Club may be able to hold a fundraising event that generates money to buy major prizes. Think broadly about which local organisations and businesses would be willing to sponsor and how they can contribute to the program and use your existing networks in the community to rally support.
  • Once an agreement has been made, send a follow-up letter or email thanking them and confirming the details of their sponsorship.
  • At the end of the Summer Reading Club send a thankyou card or a certificate that recognises your sponsors’ contribution and support of your library and your Summer Reading Club program, and share some of the wonderful outcomes and feedback generated from participants with all of your sponsors.


Programming Ideas

Activities and special SRC events attract children to the library. Plan activities that will appeal to children who are not regular library users as well as activities that will enrich the background of
children who regularly attend and who are already avid readers. Special SRC themed activities will make your library an enticing and popular place to visit during the summer holidays.

In addition to theme-related activities, think of ways you can expand the annual SRC programming theme to highlight the entire range of your library collection. Encourage children to look at author biographies, historical artefacts, and collections from your non-fiction collections.

The following ideas are provided as a starting point in the planning of your SRC program or activities.

Some ideas will be perfect for your library—and some may seem unfeasible. Develop the ideas you like to incorporate into your program. You decide how much you can do in your library based on your resources, your space, and your community.

Programming ideas (passive)

    • When signing new readers up, say: ‘Welcome to the Australian Summer Reading Club.’
    • At the beginning of Summer Reading Club programs and activities, ask participants to turn to the person next to them and tell their neighbour what book they’re reading. Invite one person to share his or her book recommendation in front of the audience and give that person a book as a prize.
    • Have a summer reading cheer that you do at the beginning of children’s programs and activities.
    • Set up a ‘SRC Readers Recommend…’ table in the library where children and teens can place books they’ve read and recommend for others, and from where they can select a recommended
      book. Invite your young library patrons to write a note to go with the book explaining why they recommend it.
    • Create a Reading Corner filled with SRC theme related books.
    • Decorate your library in connection with the annual SRC programming theme.
    • Set up wall displays of questions about books that align to the SRC theme.
    • Create I-SPY cabinets filled with theme related items.
    • Living Bulletin boards: kids who read five books get to write their name on a die cut.
    • Living Bulletin boards: teens write and post book reviews for others to read.
    • Hang mirrors in the teen area for teens to write on with paint pens, creating a communal book list and review area.

Programming ideas (active)

  • Host a weekly SRC Book Club. Discussions don’t have to focus on one book: participants could each talk about and recommend a different book they’ve read, or they could read books of their
    choice relating to the annual programming theme.
  • Initiate a summer book buddies program where younger children read to older kids.
  • Offer craft making activities associated with the SRC annual theme.
  • Have an SRC Read-in (like a Drive-in): invite children or teens to bring beach chairs and towels and read in the library.
  • Host a Bookswap: a program where teens exchange books they’ve already read.
  • Create a Hidden Book contest which can run for several weeks during the height of the summer reading program: each day a gift-wrapped book is hidden in the stacks of the children’s/YA areas. The first child to find the book receives a prize and has their name displayed in the library. Prize winners could pick a lucky dip SRC Merchandise prize or have their names entered into a bigger, end of program prize draw.
  • Create a themed scavenger hunt. Hide clues throughout the library relating to the annual programming theme. Hand children an activity sheet to write their answers on. All completed
    answer sheets could be entered into a prize draw. Create a few alternate scavenger hunt routes.
  • Create your own book cover workshop: replace book covers on teen books with covers created by teens.
  • Host an art program for teens whereby participants design new book jackets for tatty books and write their own book description and recommendation on the jacket.

Programming ideas (online)

  • Add links to the Summer Reading Club themed/Club site to your library homepage and pages for children and teens. There are prizes associated with participation in most of the online activities.
  • Familiarise yourself with the guest authors featured on the Summer Reading Club themed/Club website. Add their books to your display. You might offer rewards to children who borrow titles from the featured celebrity authors.
  • Familiarise yourself with the content and activities on the Summer Reading Club themed/Club website and encourage your children and teens to participate in the online competitions.
  • Encourage children and teens to post their book raves to the Summer Reading Club themed/Club site and to post reviews about the activities happening in your library on the What’s Happening in Your Library blog.
  • The SRC is a collaborative program. SRC participants’ Australia-wide will benefit from the collective programming experience of libraries across Australia. Your programming ideas are welcomed.

Please send your ideas to:


The Australian Summer Reading Club is a collaborative program. Its success depends on you! Share your feedback or ask questions about the SRC program or the content in this manual by:

Summer Reading Club
Reading Program Coordinator
C/O: State Library Queensland–LYPS
PO Box 3488, South Brisbane, QLD 4101

+61 7 3840 7853


SRC Program website

The information contained in this guide is available for download from the Summer Reading Club program website.

The web address for the SRC Program site is:

The following links are mentioned throughout this guide and are provided as a quick-link reference:


© State Library of Queensland 2017

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