I blogged a bit on Tuesday about public librarians filling the gap when school librarians are eliminated, Engaged Readers
is an update of the original gap-filling device. It's set up as a social network for public library summer reading programs which have been churning it out for years (apparently since the 1890
's) to combat summer reading loss in kids and teens.
It ends up looking a like Goodreads
for kids, with a couple important features that make it great for libraries. Librarians are able to easily control the style of the site, swapping in library summer reading themes for branding. Administrators are also able to control all of the user-produced content, a necessity for a social site aimed at children in a public library. There is also more control in the form of an easily accessible staff book recommendations area, long a pillar of public library services to children and young adults.
Library summer reading programs have had their toe in the water of online content for a while
in the form of online reading lists, connections to suggestions in the OPAC
, and promotional videos and materials. NYPL ran a summer reading network
last year which is a little bit slicker than Engaged Readers and features mii-like avatars with a slew of accessible media. Engaged Readers may not be so shiny yet, but it's free for small and medium-sized libraries and just in time for this year's summer reading program.