Image courtesy of Louisville Public Library, Louisville, OH

Tool Helps Public Library Offer Engaging Year-Round
Reading Programs for All Ages

Before implementing Wandoo Reader, the summer reading program at Louisville (OH) Public Library was successful and well received by participants, but librarians knew there was room to expand it to engage a greater number of community members. “Elementary-age children made up a vast majority (92%) of our participants so summer reading had always been seen as a children’s program,” shared Deborah Long, Adult & Teen Services Manager at Louisville Public Library.

The library’s reading program was also limited temporally, occurring only during the summer months. This was partly because of how difficult it was to manage the program as staff had to document every part of the process the old-fashioned way — via paper and pencil. When considering a more comprehensive solution, one of Long’s main goals was a simple process for managing the prizes that enticed so many patrons to participate: “Without a more efficient way for staff to keep track of progress and accomplishments, we would never be able to extend the program!”

The library needed a robust, engaging and dynamic solution to take its summer reading program up a level, keeping it fun and engaging for children while offering a better experience to staff and older patrons, too. The library needed Wandoo Reader.

Louisville Public Library Needed Something More Than Paper & Pencil

Encouraged by the value, manageability and cost of the soft ware, Long took the initiative to implement Wandoo Reader to manage the 2016 summer reading program at the Louisville Public Library. “I liked what I saw when I investigated Wandoo Reader,” said Long. “Plus, it was free to migrate to their newest version. We like free.” In the past, having built-in incentives was a complicated process for participating children and their parents or grandparents so paper was the least frustrating option for managing the program. The easy-to-implement reading program management tool offered the library many things it lacked when using paper to manage in its summer reading programs — detailed reporting, appealing graphics, an easy-to-use interface and a flexibility that ensured that patrons with varying technological abilities and exposure could participate.

Right away, patrons and staff alike saw a difference in the reading program. The challenges, part of the game-like experience offered by Wandoo Reader, were an especially big hit. “My staff got really excited about setting up challenges and rewards,” described Long, noting how engaging it was for staff to create “challenges specific to [their] personalities.” Patrons, too, got a kick out of the challenges, which the library was able to tie to their 2016 reading program theme. Patrons “enjoyed the site and the ever-expanding list of challenges which gave them an excuse to log on frequently, if not every day,” described Long. “We could not only keep patrons interested, but increase circulation and program attendance while we were at it.”

And increase program attendance, they did. “For 2016, using Wandoo Reader, we tripled the number of teens and adults,” shared Long. “Now teens and adults make up a full third of our registrants.” Other demographics, too, saw expanded participation. “Our web patrons could participate as well,” Long noted. “Wandoo allowed us access to a broad cross-section of our patrons.”

With Wandoo Reader, Summer Reading Extends Beyond Summer

Overall, patrons and staff alike saw the implementation of Wandoo Reader for the library’s 2016 summer reading program as a success. Participation was higher than ever before, and the program reached a larger array of patrons, all with less work — and more fun! — for the staff. Even those within the library that initially resisted using Wandoo Reader now see the value in the management tool. Long recalled that the Children’s Department had such confidence in their existing program management that they decided to let teens and adults be the guinea pigs for year one of Wandoo Reader during the 2016 summer reading program. “When they saw how well the challenges worked for the teens and adults, they’ve now vowed to ditch their incentive sheets in hard copy and translate them into challenges next year.”

Looking forward, Long believes that Wandoo Reader has opened new doors for the Louisville Public Library. For starters, reading programs will no longer be limited to the summer months. “I am jazzed about reading programs all year long,” Long shared. “We’re developing a winter break reading program to run Thanksgiving through the first of the year.” Moving forward, Wandoo Reader will be utilized by all departments in order to ensure patrons feel comfortable with using it during the next summer reading program.

About the Louisville Public Library

Since 1935, the Louisville Public Library has built a rich history of service to residents of the City of Louisville and surrounding Stark County, Ohio. Driven by three main goals - advancement of knowledge; enlightenment of the community; and provision of recreational reading, listening, and viewing materials - the Library takes pride in its longstanding tradition of providing the materials and services required by a changing society.