Library Kicks Off Summer Friday

Summer reading has long been a staple of public libraries across the country. At Salina Public Library, one of our most frequent fond recollections from adult patrons is participating in summer reading as a child. Efforts to promote reading, especially during the summer, are central to the library’s calendar with our first inter-departmental planning meeting held in the fall the year before.

There is a reason we put staff time and resources into the summer. The “summer slide” refers to children’s risk of losing reading and math skills gained over the course of the school year during summer break. This is especially true for younger children and disproportionally affects children from low-income families.

The good news is that helping children retain what they learned over the school year doesn’t have to involve long days in a classroom or expensive learning tools. Simple things like encouraging reading and making time for educational play can make a big difference. That’s why the library sets a summer reading goal with prize incentives and offers about 100 free educational youth programs over the summer. A traditional summer reading program has evolved at the library to include STEM programs, Moby Max and book club sessions with a certified teacher and learning packets that include math and reading worksheets.

The goal is for the community to read 15,000 books over the course of nine weeks. Participation in the library’s summer reading goal is simple and no registration is required. Each week beginning May 19 through July 20, readers of all ages can submit the number of books they have read online at or by completing a paper form at the library. We encourage adults to participate in the reading goal as well because children who have adults who read in their lives are more likely to be readers themselves. At the end of the week, 10 winners will be drawn from the submissions. Prizes will include gift certificates, toys and books.

Summer at the Library will start with a kickoff celebration from 5-7 p.m. Friday, May 19, in Caldwell Plaza. There will be games, prize drawing and hot dogs. The summer will wrap up with a pool party for youth on July 23 and a gathering for adults at Ad Astra Books & Coffee on Aug. 4. The Friends of the Salina Public Library have provided support for summer prizes and parties. A full listing of events can be found at or by picking up a library calendar at the library or around town.

Health and nutrition are impacted by the summer months with students who rely on school lunches needing to fill the gap. To help our community with this issue over the summer, the library partners with St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church to be a summer lunch site by handing out meals from 11:30-12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at the McKenzie Center. Priority is given to youth 0-18. The library is continuing its partnership with Salina Family Healthcare who will be at the library from 1:30-3:30 p.m. June 1 and July 6. They’ll provide health screenings and education.