At the beginning of the year, I was so excited with the prospect of having the busiest Summer Reading Program I've ever had. With nearly six months to go before the SRP season began in mid to late May, I had 74 shows at 59 libraries in 5 states on my calendar. I had new tricks and routines designed to fit the new Fairy Tale them; posters were printed and I had another set of postcards ready for my final promotional mailing. It was going to be a GREAT summer!
Then we started hearing rumblings about a virus that had popped up overseas. There was some concern, but no one was panicking. In early February my wife and I took the trip of a lifetime to Australia. At LAX as we waited for our connecting flight to Sydney, we noticed more and more people wearing face masks. AFter five wonderful days in Sydney, we hopped on a cruise ship for a 10-day cruise to Perth. Although we were ending the cruise in Perth, the Majestic Princess was scheduled to continue on to a few ports in Malaysia before winding up in Singapore. About seven days into the cruise, it was announced that the cruise would be ending in Perth. They couldn't guarantee that Singapore, or any other port, would be open in a week. On our flight back to the States, we saw more masks, temperature checks, hand sanitizer and were constantly being asked if we had been to China.
We arrived back home in late February. By mid March, my phone started ringing with cancellations. Schools and post-proms were first on the chopping block, but then I started getting calls from libraries. It was a trickle at first, but then it grew to where I was getting 2-3 library cancellations per day. As of this writing, my 74-show Summer Reading Program season has dwindled to 5 (and even those aren't guaranteed).
But, to every cloud, there is a silver lining. Seeing the writing on the wall, I made plans to put together a prerecorded Summer Reading Program magic show. The response was incredible. DOZENS of libraries came on board and ran my magic show on their websites and Facebook pages. For that, I am very grateful.
It is now the end of June. In a normal year I'd be gearing up for the second half of the Summer Reading Program season. Instead, I'm looking ahead to next year. I"m getting things in place for a wildlife-themed magic show that will fit in perfectly with the popular national theme. Several tricks and routines are ready to go and I'm working on updating this website to fit the animal theme. So, although I may not be racing from library to library like I normally do this time of year, I'm still working on my library show.
Next year is going to be wonderful and I hope the 59 libraries will consider having me back for a truly WILD Summer Reading Program show.