Collaborative Summer Library Program

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The Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) is a nonprofit, charitable organization that supports literacy, education and science through summer reading events in public libraries across the United States. The management of CSLP is overseen by the Board of Directors which consists of state representatives or librarians from participating libraries who plan, communicate and coordinate all operations.[1] The mission statement of the CSLP is to "empower libraries to foster community".[2] Today, the CSLP is a consortium of libraries with representation from all 50 of the United States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa and the Mariana Islands working together to share and develop high-quality programs for children, teens and adults.[3] The Collaborative Summer Library Program provides program materials, artwork and technical expertise in the form of a manual that membership libraries can order to help create meaningful and exciting experiences during the summer. Its current office is in Mason City, Iowa.


CSLP began in 1987 with ten Minnesota regional library systems that joined together to create a theme, artwork and program ideas for libraries to use for children's programming. By combining resources and collaborating with a commercial vendor, the libraries were able to provide cheaper, higher-quality resources to promote child and teen reading during the summer.[4]

Summer Reading Programs in Libraries[edit]

Many public libraries offer summer reading programs for teens and children in coordination with local school districts. These reading programs can contain events that are art or craft related, technology based or science related. Many of the programs help children and teens develop STEM or STEAM skills as well as encourage reading with summer reading lists or programs about books. Events like this can include computer programs on office software, robotics, coding or other events like science camps. Many libraries also help children and teens develop important life skills with programs about sewing, knitting, cooking and art. According to Bertin 2004[5] a study by the U. S. Department of Education found that 95% of all public libraries offered a summer reading program. These programs are used to prevent summer learning loss. Children's programs in libraries began around the turn of the century beginning with the Cleveland Library League in 1895. For more information about the early development of children’s librarianship see McDowell 1995. Early reading programs focused on the quality of the books and contained required reading, but newer education trends focus on breadth of reading to create an “avid reader,” as is discussed in The Enduring Effects of Education by Herbert H. Hyman, Charles R. Wright and John Shelton Reed.

The Official Summer Reading Program[edit]

The Collaborative Summer Reading Program provides an extensive manual of program and promotional ideas to participating public libraries. This includes artwork such as logos and program scripts with supply lists for activities and crafts. Presenting the Summer Reading Program is a large undertaking for many public libraries. It often entails coordinating with the local school district to market and encourage student participation.[6] In addition, a majority of a library's program numbers are gained during the summer months. Libraries rely on the content created in the CSLP manual to be able to offer numerous programs and classes, sometimes daily, for children and teens over the summer. This low cost program is now something that the majority of public libraries offer and this would not be possible without the help from CSLP. This program encourages children to continue learning while not in school; it is free, easy, and fun for all involved. The American Library Association recognizes the importance of this and its website states that they provide a grant for public libraries in order for them to afford this program and offer it to all their patrons for free. In addition, Baker & Taylor offers the Summer Reading Program Grant for up to three thousand dollars to assist libraries in purchasing this program. It also recognizes ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) libraries and their employees for the outstanding development of the program[7].

Summer reading programs are tailored to different age groups (early literacy, children, teens and adults) and promote literacy and community in a fun way.[8] Each summer a theme is picked and content is created around this theme that libraries can use. Depending on the age group, different skills are highlighted. The early literacy program helps young children build reading and language skills by fostering a love of reading and building confidence in children surrounding books and the library. It also offers resources for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.[9] The children's program helps prepare students in developing early language skills and helps maintain reading during the summer vacation. It also promotes working cooperatively and furthers their sense of discovery. In many areas, the public library is the only place during the summer where children can access free educational resources and enrichment activities.[10] The teen program works to motivate students to read and learn how to discuss literature. The activities helps promote reading comprehension, which is often a component on standardized tests, and is necessary for higher education and employment.[11] Added in 2009, the adult summer reading program offers a variety of ways for adults to pursue the enjoyment of reading. It also offers ideas for serving senior citizens in care facilities or nursing homes.[12]



  • 1996: Get in the Game at Your Library
  • 1997: Thrills & Chills at the Library
  • 1998: Rock 'N Read
  • 1999: Treasure Your Library
  • 2000: Cosmic Connections
  • 2001: Reading Road Trip USA
  • 2002: Join the Winners' Circle
  • 2003: Laugh it up @ Your Library
  • 2004: Discover New Trails
  • 2005: Dragon, Dreams & Daring Deeds
  • 2006: Paws, Claws, Scales & Tales
  • 2007: Get a Clue @ Your Library
  • 2008: Catch the Reading Bug @ Your Library
  • 2009: Be Creative @ Your Library
  • 2010: Make a Splash @ Your Library
  • 2011: One World, Many Stories
  • 2012: Dream Big - Read!
  • 2013: Dig Into Reading
  • 2014: Fizz, Boom, Read!
  • 2015: Every Hero Has a Story
  • 2016: On Your Mark, Get Set, Read
  • 2017: Build A Better World
  • 2018: Libraries Rock


  • 2004: Get Lost
  • 2005: Joust Read
  • 2006: Creature Features
  • 2007: YNK You Never Know @ Your Library
  • 2008: Metamorphosis @ Your Library
  • 2009: Be Creative @ Your Library
  • 2010: Make Waves @ Your Library
  • 2011: You Are Here
  • 2012: Own the Night
  • 2013: Beneath the Surface
  • 2014: Spark a Reaction
  • 2015: Unmask!
  • 2016: Get In The Game, Read
  • 2017: Build A Better World
  • 2018: Libraries Rock


  • 2009: Master The Art Of Reading
  • 2010: Water Your Mind - Read!
  • 2011: Novel Destinations
  • 2012: Between the Covers
  • 2013: Groundbreaking Reads
  • 2014: Literary Elements
  • 2015: Escape the Ordinary
  • 2016: Exercise Your Mind: Read
  • 2017: Build A Better World
  • 2018: Libraries Rock


  1. ^ "Collaborative Summer Library Program – CSLP Bylaws". Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  2. ^ "Collaborative Summer Library Program – Mission Statement". Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  3. ^ "Collaborative Summer Library Program – About". Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  4. ^ "Collaborative Summer Library Program – About". Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  5. ^ Bertin, Stephanie (2004). "A history of youth summer reading programs in public libraries" (PDF). A Masters paper for the MLS degree: 69.
  6. ^ "Collaborative Summer Library Program – CSLP FAQs". Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  7. ^ "Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Program Grant". Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). 1999-11-30. Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  8. ^ "Collaborative Summer Library Program – Programs". Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  9. ^ "Collaborative Summer Library Program – 2018 Early Literacy Program: Libraries Rock!". Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  10. ^ "Collaborative Summer Library Program – 2018 Children's Program: Libraries Rock!". Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  11. ^ "Collaborative Summer Library Program – 2018 Teen Program: Libraries Rock!". Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  12. ^ "Collaborative Summer Library Program – 2018 Adult Program: Libraries Rock!". Retrieved 2017-11-24.

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