New York State Library

Summer Reading Program Statistics

Over 1.4 million young people from pre-K to teens participated in Summer Reading at New York Libraries in 2022. The summer 2022 reading slogan, focused on oceanography and a water related theme was “Oceans of Possibilities.”

As pandemic restrictions were eased, more people were able to visit libraries and attend programs, and 930 of New York State’s 1,068 public library outlets offered a vibrant 2022 Summer Reading program. Participating libraries offered over 40,000 programs for children and 12,000 programs for teens. Library staff noted that “the Summer Reading program is truly effective at engaging children and their families. The library is a place for all members of the community to borrow books and other materials, do research, and socialize. Libraries are transformative and truly a place for everyone!”

Chart showing participants in summer reading programs, from summer 2000 -- 344,000 readers, to summer 2022 -- 1.4 million readers

Many public libraries collaborated on Summer Reading activities with local schools and school libraries. In 2022, local libraries encouraged student engagement by continuing to offer many different and creative types of onsite programs as well as virtual programs, and take and make activities at the library or throughout the community.

“It is imperative that children continue learning during the summer months and our summer reading program offers a tremendous opportunity to keep them engaged.” said Commissioner Betty A. Rosa. “Children that read in the summer enhance their reading skills, prevent summer learning loss and are better prepared for a successful school year.”

What is Summer Reading at New York Libraries?

Octopus display at Croghan Free Library
Croghan Free Library

The New York State Library partners with New York’s 23 public library systems, 757 public libraries and 311 neighborhood branches statewide every year to offer a statewide summer reading program with a specific theme. Many public libraries work with local schools to encourage students to sign up for Summer Reading and visit the library over the summer. The free, annual program is supported by the New York State Library in conjunction with partners like the School Library Systems Association of New York State, Hunger Solutions New York/Summer Meals, the State Assembly and Senate, 4-H/Cornell Cooperative Extension, the New York State Reading Association, New York Council for the Humanities, the New York Library Association and the New York State Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs Inc. The program gives children and teens the opportunity to access the vast resources of New York State’s public libraries to support their summer reading and learning. Participants can explore and engage in all types of learning activities and events at their local libraries. At the conclusion of the program, participants receive recognition for their participation and achievements.

Summer Reading at New York Libraries is a growing program and is always reaching out to include more children and families and strengthen school and community partnerships. In 2023 the slogan is “All Together Now” and will focus on friendship, kindness and inclusion. Libraries have been busy for months planning exciting programs and events surrounding this theme and slogan.

Local libraries throughout New York State use the annual theme and materials provided by the New York State Library and the Collaborative Summer Library Program/CSLP national consortium to create a summer program geared towards the needs of their local communities. Libraries partner with local organizations and schools to help create and promote a vibrant summer program for all ages. Library staff help participants select reading materials and provide in-person and virtual programs.

Enormous whale drawing on library parking lot as seen from above
Fort Edward Free Library
Underwater fish display on a large board in the library
Saranac Lake Free Library

To further support kids and families during the summer months, a growing number of public libraries offer snacks or meals to ensure access to healthy food year-round through the Summer Meals program. The Summer Food Service Program is a federally funded program that enables qualified organizations – including public libraries – to work with a local sponsor to serve free meals to kids and teens in eligible areas. In 2022, 83 public libraries participated in the Summer Meals program coordinated by Hunger Solutions NY and the NY State Education department.

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

  • Library programs are offered free of charge all summer long to children from toddlers to teens. Parents are encouraged to participate as well.
  • The State Library provides the online CSLP Summer Reading Program manual to all 1,100 public library, branch library and reading center locations in the state, making professional-quality program materials available to every community.
  • The State Library also provides public libraries with free access to READsquared and the READsquared App, so children, teens and families can easily register and track their summer reading progress 24/7.
  • Libraries and schools often work together to coordinate Summer Reading activities or offer Summer Meals.
  • Local libraries throughout the State work with their library systems and the New York State Library to keep students engaged and create the best program for their library and community.
Large group of families playing with bubbles in an auditorium
Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
Last Updated: June 14, 2023