One-Question Survey
What's Your Must-Do Summer Recharge Activity?

Summer weeks can be a great time to prepare for a new school year that always seems to start back up before we can blink twice. In our One-Question Survey this month, we asked school librarians how they use this valuable time to recharge. Some of you chose to write in some of your own recharge activities, and there are some great examples of how librarians reinvigorate.

Get caught up on reading—41.4%

Unplug from school/library work completely—16%


Attend a professional development opportunity with other school librarians—13.9%

Read up on current library trends and dream/plan how to apply them to your library—8%

Redecorate/rearrange your library space to capture your vision for the new school year—6.2%


Looking at the survey results, not surprisingly, reading was the top response with 41.4% of respondents using the summer to get caught up on new books as their preferred method for recharging. In addition, many who chose one of the other options also commented that reading was an important summer activity for them. Certainly the summer does provide more uninterrupted minutes in the day allowing us to whittle away at our to-be-read stacks.

Although some of the reading we will be doing over the summer will be for our own enjoyment, it is also true that we will add to our own mental catalog of books to recommend to teachers and students. An important piece of reading and knowing about great books, is sharing them with other librarians and our stakeholders.

  • How could you share your thoughts on the titles you read this summer?
  • Write short reviews and post them to your social media platform of choice, or
  • Discuss your favorites with school librarians and teachers in your schools and districts, or
  • Provide your suggestions to your students and teachers over the summer via your own blog, library website, and/or social media.

Since we are better together, let us also share and discuss the sources and lists we use to find the best new titles.

Attend PD Opportunities

Confession time, I did not choose reading as my must-do activity. Don't get me wrong, I will definitely read this summer, especially from this year's Kentucky Bluegrass Award list (the Kentucky Association of School Librarians student-choice reading program). However, for me, this summer is a time for reunions with many of my edu-friends. The summer provides the time and opportunity for me to see many of the awesome people I've met online in real life. The conference sessions and professional development activities are good, but it's also having the opportunity to spend time together sharing stories and struggles that helps energize me for the coming school year. My colleagues' guidance, knowledge, and willingness to share inspires me to keep going, try new things, and reminds me how important our work is. I consider myself beyond lucky to have another librarian in my building to work with every day, but for many librarians, nearly 14% of respondents, the summer is when we are inspired by other teacher librarians in our field who share their expertise with us at ALA, ISTE, edcamps, teachmeets, and local school professional development.

The One-Question Survey this month produced some additional creative and entertaining comments on our topic of recharging. These were some of my favorites:

"I spend so much effort and energy during the school year focusing on info lit and integrated tech projects, I need to spend my summer reading for its simple pleasure and thinking about which students will want to read them."

"Read what I want to read without checking for language/adult situations etc. In other words, just read for me!!"

"I also value personal travel and reading just for me. Need to have a balance to personal and professional life. Best life advice comes from airline stewards, "In the event of loss of cabin pressure, please secure your own oxygen mask before you try to assist others."

"I am so encircled with my work during the school year, I have to totally unplug from everything having to do with my work in order to recharge. It's my time to read what I want, do what I want, etc."

"Normally, the first 2-3 weeks are spent sleeping and playing World of Warcraft."

A goal of the One-Question Survey is not only to collect and share data in this single moment of time, but also to encourage and support continuous conversations and discussions on topics that are important to school librarians. You can read Jennifer Gilbert's take on these survey results and join the discussion on our Community page.

Recommended Reading from SLC:

Steven Weber "Reflections from a Veteran Edcamper."

Ellen Zschunke and Brittany Tignor. "#sharetheawesome."

Judi Paradis. "Building a Reading Culture."

About the Author

James Allen is a teacher librarian and EDhub Director at Eminence Independent, a K–12 public school in Kentucky. He is an organizer and regular moderator of #KyLChat, which gives librarians across Kentucky a place to share and explore new ideas. He is also a co-founder of the #KyGoPlay movement, which is changing the way people think about libraries, makerspaces, and play in school. James is a Google for Education Certified Innovator. He is also a past president of the Kentucky Association of School Librarians.

MLA Citation Allen, James. "What's Your Must-Do Summer Recharge Activity?" School Library Connection, August 2018,

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Entry ID: 2154787

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