5 Summer Reading Ideas for a Successful Season

Are you looking to create more successful and engaging summer programs for your patrons? It can be a challenge to keep returning patrons informed and attract new community members. And let’s not forget managing resources and costs for big events. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! We’ve gathered proven summer reading ideas from libraries across the country to help make your summer programs a hit.

1. Get to Know Your Community’s Interests: New Rochelle Public Library

Summer Reading Ideas Crafting

Want to create a summer program that excites and brings your community together? Take a cue from the New Rochelle Public Library, who hosted a Summer Reading Kickoff Party that drew over 500 enthusiastic attendees. How did they do it? By asking their patrons what they wanted and delivering a program tailored to their interests. From fun photo ops with beloved book characters to engaging craft activities, they created an event that set the stage for a summer of reading excitement. Read more. 

2. Amp Up Your Marketing Game: Pioneer Library System

When it comes to marketing your summer programs, consistent engagement with patrons is pivotal to program success. Take a page from Pioneer Library System’s award-winning Summer Learning Challenge in 2022, which saw a 48% increase in registrations and a whopping 65% increase in completions from 2021 to 2022. How did they do it? By leveraging targeted marketing efforts and engaging their community every step of the way. From eye-catching social media posts to personalized email reminders, they spread the word and got people excited about learning. Read more.

3. Collaborate with Local Businesses: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Library Outdoor Festival Summer Reading Idea

Collaboration is key when it comes to planning big summer events. Just look at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s post-summer reading celebration, where they teamed up with a variety of local businesses and organizations to host a family-friendly outdoor festival. From musical performances and craft activities to food trucks and storytelling sessions, they created an event that brought the community together in celebration of literacy and learning. By working together with their local business partners, they were able to create an unforgettable experience for attendees while maximizing resources and reaching a broader audience. Read more.

4. Embrace Technology: Hillsborough County Library

In Hillsborough County, libraries are using technology to promote summer reading among children and teens through the Beanstack app. More than 3,600 participants, including 11-year-old Joanna Binu, logged hundreds of hours of summer reading using the app last year. Beanstack allows users to track their reading hours, earn digital badges, and receive book recommendations based on their interests. By leveraging technology, libraries like Hillsborough County are making reading fun and accessible, even for the digital age. Read more.

5. Foster Community Engagement: Free Library of Philadelphia

Summer Reading Ideas Story Time Library

The Free Library of Philadelphia is teaming up with other anchor institutions across the city to ensure that children and teens have the most fun possible this summer. Through initiatives like “It’s A Summer Thing!”, families can access a wide range of free or low-cost programs, including summer camps, swimming lessons, reading activities, and more. By collaborating with partners like Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and the Department of Human Services, the Free Library is creating a summer to remember for young people across the city. Read more.


We hope these summer reading ideas will benefit your library as you plan your summer programs for 2024. If you’re looking for ways to spend more time planning and less time tracking attendance, WhoFi may be able to help. Click the demo button below to set a meeting and learn more about how we can simplify hosting summer events or email us at marketing@whofi.com. Happy Programming!