Ideas for Summer Reading Programs and Other Engaging Library Events

Ideas for Summer Reading Programs and Other Engaging Library Events

The goal of summer reading programs is to help bridge the socioeconomic gap among students of all ages. Unfortunately, it has been observed that the summer break is where the disparity often arises. Disadvantaged students do not have the same opportunities and resources available and are more inclined to fall behind compared to their peers. How do we close the learning gap?



Online resources customized for each grade level will allow kids access to learning programs and kid-friendly videos. Many databases have interactive and printable handouts that can be distributed to those who do not have access to a computer at home. Many also offer inclusive options, such as subtitles and Read Aloud for those with disabilities. Plus, language tools like Google Translate will help reach a broader audience. 

Host a Summer Reading Event with Live Streaming

Virtual storytimes and readings are fun ways for families to come together at their own convenience. These events can be viewed live, or you can provide a link to the recorded session to anyone who registered so they can watch at another time.

Watch this webinar to get more ideas for facilitating community engagement.  

Pick a Theme

Libraries can choose fun themes for their summer reading programs—research what the most popular books are for each age group. Encourage kids to dress up in costume—even at home!

Theme Ideas:

  • Fairy Tales & Myths
  • Underwater Animals/Creatures
  • Space & Aliens
  • Bedtime Stories

Reading Challenges

What better way to help kids get excited about reading than to make a game of it! Use databases that offer printable activities with challenges like reading-themed crossword puzzles, word searches, and bingo.



How Do I Get Teenagers to Put Down Their Phones and Pick Up a Book?

Students have been busy throughout the school year with homework and testing, so it can be a struggle to get older kids to enjoy reading on their own. Why not make it fun? Here is a list of books that have been made into movies or that are streaming on platforms like Netflix for 2020. Encourage kids to read the book and then watch the movie adaptation!

  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  • Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Learn more about engaging teens with community competitions at the library.



Help Kids Prepare for the Future 

For older kids who are college-bound or applying, the summer is a great time to prepare for the future. In anticipation of the upcoming fall semester, a proactive way to reach college-age students, those taking summer classes, or those who want to stay ahead, is to have books set aside on the popular majors in your area or to provide easy access to your eBook collections. It may be beneficial to speak with local community colleges and universities in the area for reference. 

 According to Niche, these are the top five popular majors:

  • Business and Management
  • Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Biology
  • Energy

Host a Mock Interview Night or Résumé Workshop

Your online resources can also be valuable for older students and young adults who need assistance with job interviews and résumés. Databases such as Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center offer articles and how-to videos on writing résumés and cover letters.  

Whether they are held in person or virtually, these sessions can be recorded, uploaded to your website, and emailed to those who signed up. Get in contact with local colleges and universities and see if any students or professors would want to volunteer their services.

How has your library handled the new normal? What are other ways we can help bridge the gap between students?

Related Blog Posts:

5 Easy Remote Programming Ideas for Public Libraries

A Better New Normal for Libraries