Summer Reading at New York Libraries logoInformation

Chart showing participants in summer reading programs, from summer 2000 -- 344,000 readers, to summer 2017 -- 2.2 million readers. Our goal is 2.5 million readers by 2018.
The chart above shows the growth in participation in Statewide Summer Reading Programs from 344,000 in 2000 to 2.4 million in 2018. Click on the chart above to enlarge it. (.PDF version of this chartPDF icon [58k])

2.4 million children participated in State Library's 2018 Summer Reading Program

Nearly 1.5 million minutes of reading logged on myON e-book platform

More than 2.4 million students and children statewide participated in the 2018 summer reading program, an increase of approximately 230,000 participants over last year’s program, the New York State Education Department and State Library announced today. In addition, the State Education Department announced results from its partnership with the myON e-book platform, which offered free access to thousands of enhanced digital books to children from birth to 8th grade and their families last summer: 192,711 books were opened/browsed, 113,517 books were read, and 1,496,384 minutes of reading were logged within the myON platform.

“The free, annual summer reading program is a tremendous educational resource for our children and their families,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “Libraries are cornerstones of communities and we’re proud that 2.4 million children participated in a public library summer reading program this year. We encourage all children to continue in the joy of reading throughout the year and use all the resources and programs offered at their local library.”

“Thanks to the efforts of librarians, educators and parents across the state, more children participated in summer reading this year than ever,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “Whether a child borrowed books to read at home with family, read e-books through our myON partnership, or participated in an educational program at their library, we are proud of each child’s summer reading achievement this year. I encourage libraries to continue to partner with schools and community organizations to promote the importance of reading year-round. By collaborating with other educational and community organizations, we can increase participation and improve children’s reading skills.”

The State Library partners with 23 public library systems, 756 public libraries and 311 neighborhood branches statewide every year on the summer reading program. The free, annual program is supported by the State Library in conjunction with the State Assembly and Senate and partners like Hunger Solutions New York, the New York State Reading Association, the School Library Systems Association of New York State, 4-H and the New York Council for the Humanities. The program gives children the opportunity to access the vast resources of New York’s public libraries to support their summer reading. Participants receive reading lists and book recommendations and engage in educational activities at their local libraries. At the end of the program, participants receive formal recognition for their reading achievement. Next year’s summer reading theme is “A Universe of Stories!”.

New this year, NYSED partnered with myON to provide thousands of enhanced digital books to children from birth to 8th grade and their families all around the state. Readers logged into myON to access a digital library of more than 6,000 e-books using any web-enabled device. Readers were offered an option to download up to 20 books at a time through a free app for reading offline, as well as resources and tips for parents and educators, including on-demand videos, tip sheets, strategies and more to support meaningful family literacy experiences. This access to free digital children’s books was available for New York State students and families from May 2018 through September 2018.

Many public libraries also offer snacks or meals to children to ensure that they have access to healthy food year-round, including when school is not in session. In 2018, 127 public libraries served summer meals or snacks through the Summer Food Service Program and Hunger Solutions New York. The Summer Food Service Program is a federally funded program that enables qualified organizations – including public libraries – to serve free meals to kids and teens in low-income areas.

-- from an October 29, 2018, SED Press Release; also available in PDF format PDF icon [75k]

Joint Summer Reading Events from the Aurora Free Library and the Hazard Library in Poplar Ridge

Revised: Promoting Summer Reading at New York Libraries: A Local Approach; as a .PDFPDF icon [785k] or PowerPoint slide show PowerPoint icon [11.5 meg].

Presented by Karen Balsen, April 2011; revised June 2011 with additional notes. NOTE: in the .PDF version, "mouseover" the icon pdf note icon at the upper left of each page, or right-click on that icon, to see the Presenter Notes for that page.

SEE ALSO Suggestions for Promoting Your Library’s Summer Reading Program

Summer Reading Program registration in Westchester Library System.

Summer Reading at New York Libraries is an annual program that brings children and families into local public libraries for reading and activities. Some 2.4 million New York children and teens participated in the State Library-sponsored program in 2018.

The State Library coordinates the program and works with the 23 library systems throughout the state providing a summer reading theme, promotional materials, a creative idea manual, and state-level support.

Studies show that library summer reading programs will raise student learning levels and help prevent learning losses during the summer months.

Summer Reading at New York Libraries is a growing program and is always reaching out to include more children and families.

In 2007, New York joined the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP)external link, a national consortium of 50 states, the District of Columbia and two territories, that pools resources. The theme and many of the materials available to New York's libraries come from the work of this collaboration.

Some 1,100 local libraries throughout New York State use the theme and materials provided by the New York State Library and CSLP to create a summer reading program geared towards their communities needs. They partner with local organizations and schools to help promote and create the program. The library staff help children select reading materials and provide literacy-enhancing programs such as storytelling, music, creative arts, and performances.

Summer Reading Program Circus in the Mid-York Library System

Summer Reading at New York Libraries is the best summer bargain in town:

  • Library programs are offered free of charge to all children from toddlers to teens. Parents are encouraged to participate as well.
  • The New York State Library provides the CSLP Summer Reading Program manual to all 1,100 public library, branch library and reading center locations in the state, making available a professional-quality reading program to every community.
  • Local libraries throughout the State work with the New York State Library and CSLP to create the best program for each community.

Summer Reading at New York Libraries is funded through the Federal Library Services and Technology Act, with funds awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. The New York State Library is a program of the Office of Cultural Education in the New York State Education Department.

Last Updated: September 24, 2019 -- sm