Kind, Connected Summer Experience
Alameda County Library, Calif.
Kind, Connected Summer was a pandemic responsive summer reading program focused on activities for all abilities that would uplift the community. The activities explored kindness and our strategic priorities: Civic Participation; Innovation & Cultivation; Healthy Families, Healthy Homes; and Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion.
This year, libraries were faced with the challenge of creating a pandemic responsive summer reading program. We saw this as an opportunity to design a program that had low impact on staffing, kept public safety in mind and helped to establish an inclusive connection with our library members and communities. It was a challenge figuring out how to bring all of those pieces together in a meaningful way that built community while remaining socially distant.
Our design focused on our library’s vision statement, “Kind, Connected Humans” and key strategic priorities. Key elements included:
- Singular game board of expansive activities for all ages and abilities
- No sign-ups and no start or finish line
- Weekly prize submissions inspired by activities
- Photo album of submissions to foster community connection
- No online version to encourage less screen time
- Prizes purchased from local small business
- Kindness journals to promote creative process in a digital anthology
Our members continuously wrote to us about the positive impact the game was having on their families. They found ways to express kindness through a time of global sorrow. We achieved:
- A deep connection with our members
- Families felt safe exploring new things together
- Inclusive activities for all abilities allowed families who had previously been excluded to participate
- Members expressed a sense of belonging and self-confidence
- Community was created through shared experiences