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Insider Article [January 2014] [1/7/14] (Report on Funded Projects: California Summer Reading Progra
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Report on Funded Projects: California Summer Reading Program


California’s public library summer reading programs help prevent summer learning loss among children and teens. They encourage free voluntary reading, motivate students to set and meet reading goals, help adults model good reading habits for children, provide free library events that extend the reading experience, and encourage underserved groups to begin using the library.

In 2013, over 670,000 Californians signed up for summer reading and over 1.1 million attended summer reading events and activities. California’s summer reading programs created communities of readers and library users in our state. Summer readers told us: *

They enjoy the summer reading program
90% of children | 82% of teens | 80% of adults | 99% of families

They share books and talk about the books they read
61% of children | 66% of teens | 78% of adults | 97% of families

They plan to come back to the library after the summer
86% of children | 83% of teens | 85% of adults | 98% of families

They know that the library is a place where they can find things to read
79% of children | 78% of teens | 79% of adults | 94% of families

Children, teens, and adults in over 800 libraries enjoyed enrichment activities based on the statewide summer reading theme, Reading Is So Delicious! Over 70 libraries hosted a children’s Stuffed Animal Sleepover and Midnight Feast program. One library created a community pizza mural, and others presented cookery workshops, a children’s author tea, a fear factor challenge, a food Olympics, a twilight movie screening of James and The Giant Peach and picnic, a chocolate tasting, and much more!

Over 175 libraries held food drives for hungry families and collected more than 40,000 pounds of food—exceeding the original program goal by over 300%. In response to the rising number of Americans dealing with food insecurity, CLA’s Acquire A Taste for Giving program encouraged libraries to create partnerships with local food banks, hold summer food drives, run food-for-fines programs, and highlight issues relating to hunger in America. Library collection totals ranged from 10 pounds at some branches, to over a thousand pounds at others. Every little bit helped. CLA President, Derek Wolfgram, said, “When libraries make a commitment to do something positive for their communities, they always follow through. I'm exceedingly proud of CLA and the 175 participating libraries for contributing over 20 tons of food to help fight hunger in California. This food drive, along with the highly successful Summer Reading Program, are excellent examples of the ways that libraries transform the lives of Californians.”

Libraries who participate in the statewide California Summer Reading Program have access, free of charge, to high-quality iREAD summer reading materials (including a Resource Guide and CD of program graphics); training workshops; PowerPoint files and handouts to help them present in-house training; a resource-rich website; technical support from CLA staff; high-quality, low-cost themed program materials; and opportunities to guide the development of the iREAD program.

CLA’s partnership with iREAD enables us to generate income for the association and continue to provide a statewide summer reading program for California. Every purchase from the iREAD store supports advocacy for libraries.

Participating librarians say:

  • “All libraries benefit from the opportunity to use the California Summer Reading Program materials. This effort brings libraries together as one voice for the community to hear how they can get involved in reading during the summer.”
  • “The materials are professional and reflect the importance of summer reading. The graphics are extremely beneficial for presenting a polished look and are a timesaver for staff.”
  • “We absolutely depend on the summer reading materials! Our staff has been cut back so much in recent years, we simply wouldn't have time to plan programs without the manual and all the wonderful suggestions and program outlines.”

If you are not a California Summer Reading Program library, contact us today to find out how to participate and receive your free summer reading materials

* Results are based on a survey of 9,996 children, teens, and adults in 15 California library jurisdictions during summer 2013.
The California Summer Reading Program is a project of the California Library Association, supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

Natalie Cole
Associate Executive Director