Summer Reading at New York Libraries logoSummer Reading Reaches Persistently Low Achieving (PLA) School Communities

image of flyerThis information is taken from a revised version of the brochure originally presented at the March 2011 Regents Cultural Education Committee meeting. The full document is available in .PDF -- two-sided, color [546k] PDF icon


Libraries develop young writers through mentoring

Public Library System: Westchester Library System
PLA School District: Greenburgh 11 District

During summers 2006 - 2009, the Westchester Library System partnered with the Westchester County Youth Bureau to sponsor research projects for income-eligible students. Teens from this Special Act School District teamed with teens from local high schools and worked with notable journalists to investigate current concerns in their communities, and write collaborative reports summarizing their research. Each report offered recommendation on how to rectify problems. At the end of the summer the teens had a published document they could share with family, friends and teachers. One of the former teen participants reports back that he now attends community college in Manhattan.

Public Library/Public Library System: New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Library
PLA School District: NYC DOE

In 2007 NYC libraries added an on-line tool for book logs and book review composition as part of the Summer Reading Program. Teens especially liked to write reviews and read reviews written by their peers. By summer’s end teens requested a librarian to work with them to improve the quality of the reviews. Students learned to identify which review sounded good and which sounded “lame.”

Libraries partner with service organizations and increase reading by children and teens

Public Library/Public Library System: Brooklyn Public Library
PLA School District: NYC DOE

The public library partnered with the NYC Housing Authority to recruit teens from housing projects to serve as Teen Ambassadors reaching out to promote the program and register children and teens for summer reading. The model was so successful that it was continued and adapted for the year-round Multicultural Internship Program for which teen interns promote summer reading to their peers and communities.

Public Library/Public Library System: Buffalo and Erie County Public Library
PLA School: Bilingual Center and Waterfront School

As part of their Summer Reading Program, the Niagara Branch Library holds an end-of-summer picnic for the community. After attending the picnic, children from Journey’s End Refugee Services continued to visit the library on a regular basis for help with homework, family information needs, and to borrow books to read.

Public Library/Public Library System: Queens Library
PLA School District: NYC DOE

Since 2009, Queens Library has partnered with the NYC DOE’s Office for Students in Temporary Housing (STH) in Queens, the Department of Homeless Services and non-profits to provide library cards and introduce summer reading to kids, teens and parents who live in Queens’ homeless shelters.  Queens Library participates each year in the STH End-of-School Celebration and Community Fair, and reaches over 100 teens at each event.

Libraries partner with federally-funded programs and bring in non-English speakers to the Summer Reading Program

Public Library/Public Library System: Brooklyn Public Library
PLA School District: NYC DOE

Several Brooklyn Public Library branches participated in the federally-funded Summer Meals Program.   The number of meals served increased especially as word-of-mouth promotion reached various part of the Borough. A community of new Chinese immigrants learned of the program and nearly every person who came for lunch also registered a child for the Summer Reading Program and a library card. Over 90% of the people who came for the free lunch had never been in the library before, and most of the adults did not speak English. 

Libraries reach out to rural communities & boost support for family reading groups

Public Library System: Four County Library System
School District: A Rural School District
(Not identified as a PLA)
The library’s summer reading program attracts isolated rural families. The children share reading and other cultural experiences with their peers, and at the same time an impromptu “mom’s group” sprung up to support the efforts of the parents of these children.

Libraries partner with schools and increase participation in Summer Reading

Public Library/Public Library System: Brooklyn Public Library
PLA School: JHS 166 George Gershwin

Teens from the New Lots neighborhood became involved with the summer reading program after hearing about it at a school visit. These teens were then instrumental in planning and producing a talent show open to the community.

Public Library/Public Library System: Brooklyn Public Library
PLA School District: NYC DOE #19

Cypress Hills branch librarians visited the local HS cafeteria with a sign: "Tell us your favorite book and get candy."  The students identified their favorite book, picked up their candy, received booklists and library information, and signed up for summer reading. Subsequently, students began to visit the library and some commented, “We saw you at our school.”

Libraries provide a safe haven for community members and help kids succeed in reading

Public Library: Albany Public Library
PLA School District: Albany City School District

The pre-teenager whose father was being held on criminal charges came to the library as a haven from the challenges he was facing in the community.  The youngster was welcomed at the library and was encouraged to participate in the Summer Reading Program. There he began reading and reading and reading and he wrote dozens of book reviews. He is now a successful high school student and public library user while his father remains in federal prison.

Libraries partner with federally-funded programs and bring in non-English speakers to the Summer Reading Program

Public Library/Public Library System: Brooklyn Public Library
PLA School District: NYC DOE

Several Brooklyn Public Library branches participated in the federally-funded Summer Meals Program.   The number of meals served increased especially as word-of-mouth promotion reached various part of the Borough. A community of new Chinese immigrants learned of the program and nearly every person who came for lunch also registered a child for the Summer Reading Program and a library card. Over 90% of the people who came for the free lunch had never been in the library before, and most of the adults did not speak English. 

Libraries partner with schools and increase participation in Summer Reading

Public Library/Public Library System: Brooklyn Public Library
PLA School: JHS 166 George Gershwin

Teens from the New Lots neighborhood became involved with the summer reading program after hearing about it at a school visit. These teens were then instrumental in planning and producing a talent show open to the community

Public Library/Public Library System: Brooklyn Public Library
PLA School District: NYC DOE #19

Cypress Hills branch librarians visited the local HS cafeteria with a sign: "Tell us your favorite book and get candy."  The students identified their favorite book, picked up their candy, received booklists and library information, and signed up for summer reading. Subsequently, students began to visit the library and some commented, “We saw you at our school.”

 Libraries provide a safe haven for community members and help kids succeed in reading

Public Library: Albany Public Library
PLA School District: Albany City School District

The pre-teenager whose father was being held on criminal charges came to the library as a haven from the challenges he was facing in the community.  The youngster was welcomed at the library and was encouraged to participate in the Summer Reading Program. There he began reading and reading and reading and he wrote dozens of book reviews. He is now a successful high school student and public library user while his father remains in federal prison.

 Libraries reach out to rural communities & boost support for family reading groups

Public Library: Four County Library System
PLA School District: A Rural School District
(not identified as a PLA)
The library’s summer reading program attracts isolated rural families. The children share reading and other cultural experiences with their peers, and at the same time an impromptu “mom’s group” sprung up to support the efforts of the parents of these children.

Libraries partner with cultural institutions to bring families in contact with local cultural resources

Public Library/Public Library System: Buffalo and Erie County Public Library
PLA School District: Buffalo City School District

The library partnered with the Buffalo Museum of Science to bring the museum program to an expanded community of families who had never visited a museum. .

Summer Reading programs for children and families improve poor reading skills 

Public Library: Schenectady County Public Library
PLA School District: Schenectady City School District
A developmentally disabled middle school student improved his reading and writing skills by participating in the teen Summer Reading Program at the public library. With library staff encouragement, he read volumes of books and also wrote a poem about “being yourself even if you are different from everyone else.” The library program assisted the entire family in helping the son succeed.

Public Library: Poughkeepsie Public Library
PLA School District: Poughkeepsie School District
One of the public library’s most popular summer reading programs is "Canines in Reading Circles," where each child can read a book of their choice to a therapy dog. The children who struggle with reading gain confidence as they read to their non-judgmental listeners.

Libraries facilitate leadership opportunities for their school-aged patrons 

Public Library/Public Library System: Brooklyn Public Library
PLA School District: NYC DOE
A group of young girls  at the Walt Whitman Neighborhood Library created their own Summer Reading group called the Smartness Girls. With the help of librarians and staff, the girls designed programs with math games and puzzles for themselves and other kids.


State Library Coordination of Summer Reading at New York Libraries

  • Partnerships are developed with the New York State Assembly and Senate, 4-H, New York Council for the Humanities, New York State Alliance with Boys and Girls Clubs, New York State Reading Association, and Hunger Solutions New York.
  • Summer Reading at New York libraries was launched in spring 2013 at eleven public library locations throughout New York State in partnership with the NYS Senate, Assembly, and local government and school officials.
  • SED communication, including monthly “News and Notesexternal link opens in a new window posts plus tweets from Commissioner King, kept educators informed about Summer Reading at New York Libraries.
  • The Research Brief The Importance of Summer Reading: Research Findings on Summer Reading and Learning has been shared extensively with libraries, educators, and families within and outside of New York State.
  • The School Library Summer Reading Partner Manual was viewed more times than any other document on the New York State Library Division of Library Development web site. {School Library Partner Manual [PDF icon .PDF format only; 2.6 megs]}
  • The Summer Reading Early Literacy Partner Manual was distributed to childcare providers and libraries statewide. {Early Literacy Partner Manual [PDF icon .PDF format only; 1.6 megs]}
  • “Explore New York” summer reading recreational reading lists are used statewide by teachers as suggested summer reading lists for their students.
  • The New York State Library “Teen NY” Facebook page and coordination of a NYS Teen Video Challenge are resulting in interest by teens from all over New York State. {“Teen NY” Facebook page flyer [PDF icon .PDF format only; 307k]}
  • The online summer reading registration tool made available through the New York State Library to all public libraries has brought in more teens and young families to the summer reading program.
  • The importance of public library summer reading programs was featured in On Board On Line, the NYS School Board Associationexternal link opens in a new window newsletter; 1/24/2011 Article on reading by Brian Butryexternal link opens in a new window
  • The Summer Reading at New York Libraries Tumblr and blog, Summer Reading News, are updated all year long to reach librarians serving youth.                    

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: March 5, 2014 -- asm