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Summer Reading Program

About Summer Reading Programs

Summer reading programs in libraries began in the 1890s. Through summer reading programs and other library activities for children and teens, public librarians support literacy by encouraging lifelong reading. Public libraries provide access to not only to books, but also to eBooks, audiobooks, internet, computers and literacy based programming during summer and all year long.

Importance of summer reading programs in public libraries

  • Helps children and teens retain and enhance their reading skills over the summer
    • Studies show that reading over the summer prevents “summer reading loss.”
    • Summer reading loss is cumulative. Non-readers don’t “catch up” in fall because readers are moving ahead with their skills.
  • Fosters a love of reading through public library programs and services
  • Increases successful reading experiences by encouraging reading for pleasure
    • Reading for pleasure, whether it be books, graphic novels or magazines and/or audiobooks, builds children’s confidence as learners and enhances their formal education.

Summer Reading Program Resources

Best Practices/Planning

Books available through Interlibrary Loan from the State Library

  • Children’s Services Today: A Practical Guide for Librarians by Jeanette Larson. Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.
  • Complete Summer Reading Program Manual: From Planning to Evaluation. Young Adult Library Association, 2012.
  • Running Summer Library Reading Programs: A How To Do It Manual by Carole D. Fiore. Neal-Schuman, 1998.
  • Sizzling Summer Reading Programs for Young Adults by Katharine Kan. American Library Association, 1998.

Other Resources

  • Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) Utah State Library is a member of the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP).
  • Early Literacy and Summer Reading Ideas from Oregon Libraries (PDF)  is a compilation of good ideas proposed by Oregon public librarians.
  • ¡Colorín Colorado! serves educators and families of English language learners (ELLs) in Grades PreK-12 and provides free research-based information, activities, and advice to parents, schools, and communities around the country.
  • National Summer Learning Association’s vision is for every child to be safe, healthy, and engaged in learning during the summer. The NSLA connects summer learning program providers and stakeholders with tools, resources, and expertise to improve program quality, generate support, and increase youth access and participation.
  • Reading Rockets provides information about summer reading and summer learning loss, including tips for parents as well as resources for teachers and librarians.


Summer Food Service Program

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is designed to offer nutritionally balanced, high quality meals to children during summer vacations, interim, and off-track periods. The program is particularly targeted to low-income children who may not have adequate nutrition when schools are not in session. Public libraries can partner with other local organizations and be sites for the program.


In partnership with the Utah Educational Savings Plan, BookYourSummer is a sweepstakes that encourages children to participate in the summer reading program and parents to save for their children’s college education.


For more information or assistance contact:

Sharon Deeds
Youth Services Coordinator
Phone Number (801) 715-6742 or (800) 662-9150 (Utah toll-free)
Email address