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Insider Article [January 2014] [1/7/14] (Report on Funded Projects: Summer Matters)
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Report on Funded Projects: Summer Matters: A New Vision for Summer in California

 Gilroy Library’s Super Power Summer Camp

Children who attend summer programs enter school half a grade ahead of their peers who do not. However, many children lack access to enrichment programming during the summer. Across California, schools, after-school providers, libraries, parks, and other groups are coming together, as part of the Summer Matters initiative, to develop a New Vision for Summer in our state. We are providing unique programs, experiences, and resources to broaden the horizons of all children, strengthen their connections to their community’s resources, and fill the empty weeks of summer with enrichment and academic activities that form a bridge from one school year to the next.

The California Library Association is supporting partnerships between libraries and their local community-based summer enrichment programs, and developing and evaluating libraries’ role in the Summer Matters initiative. The Summer Matters library partnerships provide opportunities for children and their families to get library cards, participate in the summer reading program, and visit the library for family literacy nights, class visits, and special programs. Librarians also take programming and resources out to the summer program sites so that students get to see library staff outside the library and as part of their community.

Children and teens told us:

  • “I would like to come back because it is fun.”
  • “I enjoyed the library’s summer reading program because we have books to read and magic.”
  • “I enjoyed it because it is fun to read.”
  • “Thanks for being an awesome library.”
  • “It’s a great thing to improve your reading. It’s a great place to have fun.”
  • “I love this library.”

The library partnerships help summer programs offer an engaging curriculum and meet their literacy goals, and help libraries enhance their relationships with the community.  In 2013, CLA facilitated partnerships between:

  • Los Angeles Public Library and the LA’s BEST summer program;
  • Oakland Public Library and the East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC);
  • Orland Free Library, Willows Public Library, and the Glenn County Office of
  • Education’s Expect Success Summer Camp;
  • Sacramento Public Library and Sacramento Unified School District;
  • San Bernardino County Library (Highland Sam J. Racadio Library and Environmental Learning Center) and San Bernardino City Unified School District’s CAPS program;
  • San Francisco Public Library and the Hillcrest School and Mo’ Magic summer programs;
  • Santa Ana Public Library and the THINK Together summer program;
  • Santa Clara County Library District (Gilroy Library) and Gilroy’s Super Power Summer Camp;
  • Whittier Public Library and Whittier Unified School District’s Jump Start program

CLA has created a set of resources to help libraries and community-based summer enrichment programs across the state create effective and successful partnerships. They include criteria and key activities for a successful partnership; programming ideas; and tips on preparing to partner, communicating effectively, and setting and meeting expectations. All resources are available on CLA’s website.

The Summer Matters library partnerships are funded by a grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The Summer Matters Initiative is spearheaded by Partnership for Children and Youth.

Natalie Cole
CLA Associate Executive Director