BC Summer Reading Club goes virtual: let’s explore our universe

For the first time, the public libraries’ BC Summer Reading Club (BC SRC) is being offered virtually to young readers and their families, thanks to a $65,000 investment from the Government of British Columbia.

This literacy program is usually offered in person. This year, as work continues to flatten the curve of COVID-19, young readers will be able to follow their passion for reading and still participate by registering and tracking their progress online.

“Fun and engaging programs like the BC Summer Reading Club that help our kids strengthen their literacy skills and stay motivated to keep reading over the summer are even more important this year,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “I’m so pleased this incredibly popular program will continue this summer with expanded online features thanks to the great work done by library staff and the BC Library Association.”

The BC SRC is a free literacy program offered through B.C.’s 71 public libraries to children ages 5-14. Online registration for BC SRC will open Monday, June 15, 2020, and children and families can access the new website until the end of September. Some of the new online features that have been added to the program include:

  • digital badges for reaching reading goals, as well as a certificate of completion for finishing the program;
  • live events and video demonstrations, including hands-on crafts and experiments;
  • weekly stay-at-home activity packages; and
  • a dashboard for parents/guardians to track their kids’ reading progress and the digital badges they have earned.

All reading counts and participation is easy. Kids can read whatever they want, including story books, information books, graphic novels and comic books, in whatever language they feel most comfortable reading in. They can also listen to someone else read or tell stories. Parents and guardians can register their kids on the BC SRC website, selecting their library and accessing some activities to do at home. This year’s theme is Explore Our Universe, featuring illustrations by B.C. artist Bambi Edlund.

Families are asked to contact their local library to find out about their local programs as branches throughout B.C. have been impacted differently by COVID-19.

The Province’s investment is part of its recently announced digital initiatives funding through the BC Library Association (BCLA), in partnership with the BC Libraries Cooperative, to enhance the BC SRC’s website and make online participation possible.

The BC SRC is sponsored by the British Columbia Library Association and public libraries, with annual support from the Ministry of Education’s libraries branch and CUPE BC. More Information about the BC SRC is also available in several languages on its website.

Quotes:

Christine Middlemass, president, BCLA –

“BCLA is pleased and proud to work with public libraries to deliver the Summer Reading Club to B.C.’s families and children. With the addition of the Summer Reading Club online registration website, we believe families will have greater access to a library program that supports literacy, reading and summer fun.”

Cynthia Ford, provincial co-ordinator, BC SRC –

“The BC Summer Reading Club is a fantastic way for children and their families to maintain and build literacy skills, and to connect to their library community. B.C. libraries do an incredible job of ensuring the program meets the specific needs of their community, and we invite all children and their families to ‘Explore Our Universe!’ at bcsrc.ca and beyond.”

Quick Facts:

  • This year, for the first time, the BC SRC has created a What is the BC Summer Reading Club? brochure. This brochure has been created to welcome and support the participation of newcomer families in the BC SRC. It has been translated into multiple languages and is intended for use by libraries, settlement organizations and community groups: https://kidssrc.libraries.coop/about-us/newcomer-brochures/
  • In 2019, BC SRC reached more than 173,085 children in more than 200 communities.
  • The BC SRC has been in operation for almost 30 years.
  • In B.C., there are 71 public libraries, 247 service locations and six library federations, serving 99% of B.C.’s population.

Learn More:

Kids and parents can watch a video about this year’s theme and sign up for Summer Reading Club here: https://bcsrc.ca/

View the news release about the B.C. government’s recently announced digital initiatives investment, Families throughout B.C. to benefit from enhanced digital library services: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EDUC0019-000652

Learn more about local libraries: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/sports-culture/arts-culture/public-libraries

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