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 growth in participation in Statewide Summer Reading Programs from 344,000 in 2000 to 2.2 million in 2017. Click on the chart above to enlarge it, or click here for a .PDF version of this chart.PDF icon [134k]

2.2 million students and children statewide participated in the 2017 summer reading program

2.2 million students and children statewide participated in the 2017 summer reading program, an increase of approximately 94,000 participants over last year’s program, the New York State Education Department and State Library announced today. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the State Library’s summer reading program.

“Reading with our children is such an important learning tool to help them build a lifelong connection with books,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “The free, annual summer reading program is a tremendous educational resource for our children and their families. Studies show that children’s literacy skills improve when they read during the summer. We encourage all children to continue in the joy of reading throughout the year and engage in educational activities 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. “We know that summer reading helps children prevent summer learning loss and prepares them for a successful school year. I encourage children to continue visiting their local library throughout the year and participate in next summer’s program too. I also encourage libraries to partner with schools and community organizations to promote the importance of summer reading and this vital program. By collaborating with other educational and community organizations, we can increase participation and improve children’s reading skills.”

The State Library partners with 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, 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 “Libraries Rock!”

-- November 14, 2017, SED Press Release; also available in PDF format PDF icon [45k]

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. Over 2.1 million New York children and teens participated in the State Library-sponsored program in 2016.

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. Click on the image to see other SRP photos from libraries.

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: November 17, 2017 -- asm