Thanks to Alisha Green from the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library for this great report on how their Summer Library Program's Charity Challenge turned out!
I originally wanted to try an alternative to SLP prizes, but I also knew that not everyone would be in agreement with eliminating prizes all together. The Charity Challenge worked nicely as it was presented as another prize option – they could choose to receive their prize (a coupon for free ice cream, for example) or they could “donate” their prize to the chosen charity. Yes, more kids chose the ice cream than not, but there were many kids who chose to donate some, if not all of their prizes throughout the summer to the charity! And they were so proud to do so. Teens put their Book Bucks toward the Charity Challenge goal as well.
In addition to being a prize alternative, kids and teens could contribute to the charity by completing a number of literacy activities (encouraging the literacy goals of the Summer Library Program!) such as telling a favorite story from another character’s point of view, putting on a puppet show, creating a wordless picture book, singing their favorite song or nursery rhyme, etc. There was also a place in Youth Services where they could display poems or short stories they wrote for others to read. Each time they completed a literacy activity or donated their prize they could put a sticker on a large display. This was a nice visual to see their progress toward reaching the goal….and they met it!! Charter Bank, the sponsor for our program, agreed to donate up to $500 to the charity based on the literacy activities completed by SLP participants.
The chosen charity was the Give-A-Kid-A-Book Project, sponsored by the Friends of the Library, which distributes books during the holiday season to children in the community who might not otherwise have books to call their own. This charity tied in perfectly with the Summer Library Program. The sponsoring bank, our chosen charity, Youth Services staff and library patrons were all thrilled with the success of our first Charity Challenge and we all agreed to offer this again next year!