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Summer Reading Program | Teacher Talk

In a previous segment of Teacher Talk, Love the Library!, I shared my lifelong love of reading and libraries. When working as a public librarian, I had the opportunity to relive my childhood through the library’s Summer Reading Program. Now, as a board member for the Vermillion Public Library, I’m excited to share that this year is their 50th anniversary of the Summer Reading Program.

No matter where you live, libraries across the country host summer reading programs to encourage young people to spend their summer enjoying the magic of reading. Here are a few of the amazing free reading opportunities you can find at your local library.


Storytime is a classic staple of our local libraries. Typically designed for families with children ages 2-5 (although everyone is always welcome!), Storytime includes songs, rhymes, and of course, reading amazing children’s books. You don’t have to sign up, and you can go sit with the children in your life and watch them fall in love with reading. During the summer, many libraries add more opportunities for you to attend Storytime, so check out your local library’s summer schedule.

Kids & Family Programming

During the Summer Reading Program, libraries will often add additional programs for kids and families like special performers who bring animals, perform magic, sing songs and dance, and more. There is often a kick-off and/or end of Summer Reading Party that the whole family can attend.

Teen & Adult Programming

The Summer Reading Program isn’t just for kids! There are plenty of adult and teen programs to attend. Teen programs often include Escape Rooms, or Library Lock-Ins where teens spend the night in the library, Manga/Comic Book Clubs, Learn to Code Clubs, Chess Clubs, and author visits. Adults also can attend book clubs, author visits, knitting and sewing circles, or simply enjoy taking their kids to the library.


Many libraries give away prizes for those who complete different activities, read a certain number of hours, or a set number of books. Some libraries give away free books, stickers, games, gift cards, and more. Visit your local library to find out how to participate and check out what prizes are available for meeting the Summer Reading Program goals.

Library Services

Year round, libraries provide exceptional services for the public including free internet and computer access, printing, scanning, and faxing services, test exam proctoring, literacy programming for children and adults, meeting spaces, access to countless online and print materials, as well as books, DVDs, magazines, newspapers, and even seeds for your garden. Those same services are available in the summer too.

If you don’t already have a library card, visit your local library. Library cards are free and usually require only an ID and proof of address to obtain one. Enjoy the Summer Reading Program this summer at your local library!

The views and opinions expressed on Teacher Talk are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of South Dakota.

Jacqueline Wilber, Ed.D. is an experienced educator from South Dakota. She is currently a faculty member at the University of South Dakota and Director of the Center for Student and Professional Services in the School of Education.

She began her career in public schools in 2007 and has served as a teacher, librarian, and administrator. Jackie holds a Nebraska Teaching Certificate for 7-12 grade English/Language Arts, a Nebraska Public Library Certificate, and an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 500) credential through Yoga Alliance. She was a 2014 Sioux Falls School District Teacher of the Year Finalist.