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June 12, 2018
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JP O'Hare

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New York State Education Department and State Library Launch 2018 Summer Reading Program, “Libraries Rock!”

NYSED Partnering with myON to Expand Digital Book Access for Children and Families

The New York State Education Department and the New York State Library are partnering with 1,100 main public libraries and neighborhood branches statewide to launch "Summer Reading at New York Libraries," the 2018 New York State summer reading program, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today. The free, annual program gives children the opportunity to access the vast resources of New York’s public libraries to support their summer reading.

“For many families, a public library is the only community space available during the summer months where they can access free educational and cultural enrichment activities and programs,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “Our summer reading program puts books in children’s hands and is offered free of charge at over 1,100 public libraries statewide. More than 2.2 million students participated in the program last year and I encourage more children to participate this year and experience the fun and adventure of reading.”

“It’s so important to continue the great work our teachers and students are doing during the school year by encouraging children to read during the summer,” State Education Commissioner Elia said. “New York’s libraries offer creative and exciting programs and services throughout the summer, as well as opening young minds to books, e-books, audio-books and other resources. Together, we can keep students reading and learning all summer long and help prevent summer slide.”

This year’s summer reading program slogan is “Libraries Rock!” Children and teens participating in the program receive book recommendations and engage in creative and fun educational activities at their local libraries. Library staff help children select reading materials and provide literacy-enhancing programs such as storytelling, music, creative arts and performances. At the end of the program, participants receive formal recognition for their reading achievement.

NYSED and the State Library partner with various organizations such as Hunger Solutions New York and 4-H to bring summer reading to communities throughout the state. New this year, NYSED is partnering with myON to provide thousands of enhanced digital books to children from birth to 8th grade and their families all around the state. Readers can log into myON to access a digital library of more than 6,000 e-books using any web-enabled device. There’s an option to download up to 20 books at a time through a free app for reading offline, as well as resources and tips for parents and educators, including on-demand videos, tip sheets, strategies and more to support meaningful family literacy experiences. This access to free digital children’s books is available for New York state students and families through September.

"The summer reading program helps kids build a love for reading and books,” said Senator Carl L. Marcellino, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. “The Summer Reading program brings families into our outstanding public libraries across the State. It opens their eyes to this and other programs that help children learn and discover a passion for learning that can last a lifetime.”

“The summer reading program is a great resource and I would encourage all parents and students to take advantage of this program by visiting participating local libraries around the state” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. “Thank you to Chancellor Rosa and Commissioner Elia for continuing this wonderful program for our students.”

"Just because the school is out for the summer, doesn't mean there has to be an end to learning," said Senator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Libraries. “Every book we can help a young child open during the summer months not only fosters their use of imagination, but it improves their learning skills and keeps their educational progress on track. I highly encourage all children, and their families, to take part in this year’s summer reading program and take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities our local libraries provide."

“Having the time and freedom to get lost in a book is the promise of summertime for so many of us, including our children, and our public libraries are the perfect portals for those summer reading adventures,” said Assemblymember Didi Barrett, Chair of the Assembly Libraries Committee. “As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology -- and as a mother with many happy summer library memories -- I wholeheartedly support our state’s Summer Reading Program. I will always encourage our youngest New Yorkers to pick up a book in their free time rather than an electronic device and discover where the pages take them.”

More information on the 2018 Summer Reading Program can be found on the “Summer Reading at New York Libraries” and NYSED Library Development websites.