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California Summer Reading Program: Outcomes-Based Summer Reading
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Outcomes-based summer reading

Public library summer reading programs make a difference. They help children and teens retain and enhance their reading skills during the summer. They help adults model reading activity for youth. And they provide a haven and a community for readers.

But how do we share the impact of our work? How do we extend our programs effectively to underserved communities? And how do we ensure that our programs remain relevant? Outcomes-based programming and evaluation are effective methods for accomplishing all of this and more. Outcomes-based programs:

  • show meaningful results that demonstrate the value and impact of summer reading;
  • are relevant to the community;
  • are attractive to funders;
  • build capacity among staff;
  • are cost-effective;
  • contribute to improved management decision-making.

* The California Summer Reading Outcomes Initiative has been cited by ALA as a summer reading best practice * 1

You can participate by taking these five simple steps:

  • Adopt California's statewide outcomes
  • Plan your summer reading program with the outcomes in mind: design programs, activities, and outreach strategies that will help you achieve your outcomes
  • Collect data to determine whether your outcomes have been achieved: issue surveys to summer reading participants and talk to patrons in small focus groups to obtain even richer data
  • Report your results to CLA
  • Use your results to improve your summer reading program, demonstrate the impact and value of your work, and set targets for next year

CLA has developed resources to help you every step of the way. We can also provide you with an electronic survey to use to collect your data, and a report of your library's results at the end of the summer. See sample reports here and here. We encourage all public libraries to use our materials to develop outcomes-based summer reading programs!


Project consultant: Professor Virginia Walter, Ph.D., UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies

Project director: Natalie Cole, Ph.D., California Library Association

Project monitor: Cindy Mediavilla, Ph.D., California State Library

All quotes on the outcomes pages of the website are from librarians who have participated in the California Summer Reading Outcomes Initiative.