“Selina and Cassie, all the boys are cheating on their reading records!” Arlene opens the door of the Squamish Public Library meeting room and yells in. I hear giggles as she lets the door slam shut after announcing this news. Cassie and I look at each other and roll our eyes. We have had our suspicions about this specific group of boys and their reading records before, but in all honesty, we do not mind so much.
It’s not that the boys don’t read. I am sure they do. They listen to the stories attentively while we read them during the programs, laughing along, and if one of them finishes the craft before all the others, they will usually grab a book and read. However, they do seem to ‘finish’ their week of reading before the week has finished each week. But they are a keen group of boys and they love the programs.
Each week, the boys interact with the library multiple times and in multiple ways. On Fridays, the boys will call in. There are about six boys in this group in total. Five of them are in the older kids group, all either eleven or twelve, and one is in the younger kids group, being eight. He sometimes stands outside the meeting room during the older kids group and stares in through the window. Anyways, on Fridays, all of them either call or come into the Squamish Public Library to register for the next weeks programs. Their parents never seem to participate in their registration, which, in turn, helps them learn independence.
When one of the boys call in, they seem to also register their younger sibling, their cousin, and their best friend as well, usually all for different programs on different days of the week. However, the boys in the group always register for Wednesday afternoons. The ones who don’t phone in physically come into the library to register within the first hour the library has opened on a Friday, also registering siblings, cousins and friends. On Mondays or Tuesdays, the boys will usually roll up to the library on their bikes, come into the library to hang out, look around, and update their reading records. They will all look for books together, and spend at least an hour in here. The library has become their meeting ground. And on Wednesdays, they come in for the program, arriving half an hour early to hang out in the library, and usually spending half an hour in the library once the program is finished.
All of the boys have been participating in the BC Summer Reading Club for a few summers now, and they all enjoy it. The BC Summer Reading Club has given them all an opportunity to get out in their community, expand their mindsets, given them motivation to read, and enjoy their summer. Sure, they are not the best listeners, and they goof off a bit in the programs, but the library has become a special place for them, and I hope it continues to be as they continue to grow older and enter middle school.