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Summer Reading News

2012 Summer Reading at New York Libraries Reaches 1.7 Million

The 2012 Public Library Program Reaches Increasing Numbers of Young People with Fun Activities to Encourage a Summer of Reading Pleasures


October 23, 2012 – New York State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries Bernard A. Margolis announced today that 1.74 million children and teens throughout New York State participated in “Summer Reading at New York Libraries” at their local libraries. The 2012 program saw a 5% increase over 2011. Kids are reading for fun during the summer months and that summer reading is associated with academic success.

“Public libraries, through their summer reading programs, put books in the hands of children. Access to books and library programs over the summer results in more reading which, in turn, results in improved reading skills,” according to Bernie Margolis.

Research has shown that children who continue to read during the summer vacation perform better in the fall when school resumes, and that reading for simple summer enjoyment helps children with literacy skills, while helping prevent learning losses.

“Statistics point to the disappointing loss of learning that takes place when young people are not in school during the summer,” said Commissioner of the New York State Education Department John B. King, Jr. “The effects of summer learning loss are especially dramatic for students from high-needs communities. By providing summer reading programs, the State Library and public libraries throughout the State can provide young people and their parents with the tools necessary to ensure year-long learning success and cultivate a love of reading.”

For more information on the positive value of public library summer reading programs see “The Importance of Summer Reading: Public Library Summer Reading Programs and Learning” (

“Summer Reading at New York Libraries” Coordinator Karen Balsen points out that it is the hard work and creativity of library systems and libraries that made “Summer Reading at New York Libraries” a continued success in 2012. New York’s public library system youth and teen services consultants offered training and technical support. School libraries partnered with public libraries to promote summer reading; public library staff and volunteers provided the programming and resources that made kids want to join the fun.


This year most public library systems reported an increase in participation levels over 2011. Of those, four reported increases of 15% or higher.  Congratulations to these *Stars* and to all the systems for a wonderful 2012 “Summer Reading at New York Libraries.”




*  Monroe County Library System *

*  North Country Library System*

*  Pioneer Library System*

*  Queens Library *

For 2013, Schools will be able to order CSLP summer reading promotional materials

 Last year New York State requested that the CSLP board allow school libraries to purchase summer reading promotional materials directly. Schools are a public library’s best partner for reaching children throughout the community to promote the public library’s summer reading program.

CSLP has responded to this request:

From the CSLP website,, Rules of Use – FAQs:

**New for Program Year 2013: CSLP members who partner with local schools and non-profit organizations may print a pdf order page from the CSLP website to share with the school or non-profit organization so that the school or non-profit organization may order from a selection of CSLP’s promotional items.  The items on the pdf order page are the only items available for purchase/use by local schools or non-profit organizations with whom the CSLP member library has formed a partnership. (All public libraries in NYS are “CSLP member libraries”).

A link to the PDF order page will be available on the members-only part of the CSLP website.  Members will need to log in to access the order form. (Staff from public libraries in NYS should sign up to gain full access to  the member area of the website).

Schools and school libraries wishing to promote the summer reading program at their public library should partner with their public library to recieve the order form for promotional materials.

We hope this helps your libraries and your partners promote summer reading at their local library. If you have any questions please contact Karen Balsen, “Summer Reading at New York Libraries” Coordinator,

CSLP Upstart Catalog for 2013 Summer Reading Products Now Available

The CSLP Upstart Catalog for 2013 summer reading products is now available through the CSLP website Libraries can begin ordering 2013 summer reading products by logging into the CSLP website to place their orders. In order to access the store you must create a log in and password if you do not already have one. Once the application for a log in and password is approved by CSLP you will have access to the entire website and all its resources.  If you have a problem logging-in, please contact Karen Day at

CSLP has begun shipping all 2013 manuals to all states. For NYS they will be sent to each system for delivery.

If you have any other questions, please contact Karen Balsen, “Summer Reading at New York Libraries” coordinator, or 518-486-2194

2012 Teen Video Challenge – NYS Viewers’ Choice Award Winner Announced

September 14, 2012 – State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries, Bernard Margolis, is pleased to announce the winner of the 2012 Teen Video Challenge – NYS Viewers’ Choice Award  – “Books Can Change the World, One Page at a Time.” The video was created by Jacob Harelick and submitted through the White Plains Public Library.

The Teen Video Challenge – 2012 Viewers’ Choice Award is a competition organized by the New York State Library so that viewers can vote for their favorite teen-created video to promote Summer Reading at New York Libraries.

Votes were cast during the summer concluding on August 15, 2012.  The winning video, “Books Can Change the World, One Page at a Time” received 7,707 votes, making it the first place winner. In second and third place, respectively, were “LevittownSummer Reading” (5,481 votes) submitted by the Levittown Public Library and “Own the World” (4,793 votes) submitted by the Washington Public Library.

The first-place winner will receive a Certificate from the New York State Library. A set of teen books will be donated to the White Plains Public Library in Jacob’s honor by the New York State Library. The donated books will each include a bookplate acknowledging the award.

The 2012 Teen Video Challenge – NYS Viewers’ Choice Award brought over 34,000 voters to the Summer Reading at New York Libraries website ( to view and vote for their favorite teen-created video. Each video uniquely conveyed the teen theme for the Summer Reading Program for 2012, “Own the Night.”

To view the 2012 Teen Video Challenge winning videos, the NYS Viewers’ Choice Award winner along with the CSLP New York State 2012 Teen Video Challenge winner, please visit

Thank you to all those who created a video and also to those who submitted their votes.

Program: “Learning to Examine Film: Teen Video Shorts”

Does your library have a teen video club or do they hope to create one? Did your library participate in the 2012 Teen Video Challenge? Does your library plan on promoting and participating in the 2013 Teen Video Challenge? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this programming idea would be great for your library.

“Learning to Examine Film: Teen Video Shorts”

The goal of this program is to promote the Teen Video Challenge and to help improve the video making skills of teens that are interested in participating in the challenge.


  1. Visit, where all of the videos submitted in the 2012 Teen Video Challenge by teens in New York State are listed.
  2. Explain to the teens what the Teen Video Challenge is.
  3. Explain that the theme for each 2012 video is “Own the Night.”
  4. View each individual video and then discuss it as a group. The goal is to critically analyze each video and learn from it. See below for points to consider when analyzing each video.
  5. Have the teens vote for their favorite videos at as part of the 2012 Teen Video Challenge – NYS Viewer’s Choice Award.

While constructively critiquing each video, here are some points to consider:

  1. Does the video bring the message across? Was the script written well?
  2. Can the viewer hear the sound? Is the sound balanced?
  3. Are the actors using good diction?
  4. Was the video filmed well? Was it filmed creatively?
  5. Did the teens use any special effects? If so, were they effective?
  6. How effective were the costumes?
  7. What was the best feature of this video? What could have been done better?

Helpful Information:

  1. Each question can be expanded upon.
  2. There may be more to learn from one video than another.
  3. Some vocabulary words may need to be defined.
  4. In order to get to all 24 videos, you can either divide the program into more than one session, choose only certain videos to show, or set a time limit to each video discussion.
  5. This program can be used as an introduction to making short films. Choose and present 3-5 videos that you feel have the most value and learn from them.

10 Things You Should Know About Summer Reading

New York City based alternative newsweekly “The Village Voice” last week posted onto their blog “10 Things You Should Know about Summer Reading.” In the post writer Victoria Bekiempis shares some interesting historical facts about summer reading that have led to the development of current programs held annually throughout the country. The article can be viewed on their website at

Read Kiddo Read

Author James Patterson has developed the website “Read Kiddo Read” which helps parents and educators connect children with the books that will turn them into lifelong readers. The website is divided into four age groups with age appropriate literature divided into genres. There is also a great annotated summer reading list available here.

Applebee’s Franchisee: “Summer Reading Challenge”

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurants across upstate New York are teaming up with The Salvation Army to encourage children to ‘give and get’ an appetite for reading this summer through its “Summer Reading Challenge.”

Kids and their parents who drop off a new book into The Salvation Army barrels at Applebee’s restaurants in upstate New York and Connecticut receive a bookmark and a special Applebee’s Bookworm Club card featuring a free Oreo Cookie sundae coupon, redeemable on their next visit. Once kids 10 and under read and record 10 books on their Bookworm Club Card, they will also receive a free kid’s meal.

The book drive runs through the months of July and August. The goal is to collect more than one ton of books in upstate New York and Connecticut and distribute more than 230,000 Bookworm Club Reading Cards through area library summer reading programs and at restaurants during the “Summer Reading Challenge” timeframe.

Individuals who do not wish to donate a book but would like to participate in Applebee’s Bookworm Club can find cards at participating schools and libraries across upstate New York. Parents can also download the card online at The Bookworm Club is a reading-focused reward program that encourages students to record the books they’re reading on Bookworm Club cards.

Summer Reading Launch in Watertown 6/27/12

North Country libraries celebrated the start of “Summer Reading at New York Libraries” with an exciting all-day kickoff event at the historic Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library inWatertown,New York. The launch event included a press conference at noon followed by activities involving the entire community: children, teens, families,FortDrummilitary personnel, legislators, and library and education professionals.  The kick-off activities were held outside of the library as part ofWatertown’s Wednesday Farmer’s Market.

Speaking at the press conference were Senator Patricia A. Ritchie, Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, Jenny Adfit, Jefferson County Legislator, and New York State Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education Jeffrey W. Cannell, with introductions by Barbara Wheeler, director of the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library.

In attendance at the event were Stephen Bolton, Director of the North Country Library System, Emily Owen, Youth Services Consultant for the North Country Library System, Karen Balsen, Coordinator of “Summer Reading at new York Libraries,” as well as community members and local media.

New York Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education Jeffrey W. Cannell remarked on the importance of summer reading, “It is our fervent hope, that through the efforts of our formidable and committed team, young people throughout the state will begin school this September committed to and prepared for academic excellence.”

“In a time when so many of our youths are using electronic gadgets, it’s important to endorse libraries,” said state Senator Patricia A. Ritchie. “It’s important to teach our children how important reading is.”

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell is partnering with the summer reading program by participating in the “Assembly Summer Reading Challenge.” If a child reads 15 minutes a day for at least 40 days in July and August he or she will receive a state Assembly Excellence in Reading certificate from Assemblywoman Russell.“I send every certificate in the mail,” she said. “I have to keep signing and signing and signing because so many kids are reading.”



Immediately following the press conference was a live performance by “Austin Davis & the Movement.” Austin Davis, lead singer and guitarist, is a soldier musician from Fort Drum who recently served in Afghanistanas a combat engineer.Daviswas joined on stage with his wife, Chelsea Davis, playing rhythm, and her brother, Adam Falge, on bass. This event was sponsored by the library’s Adult Services department.

Children’s librarian Ashley Groff held a story time before the press conference that had over 60 children and their families in attendance.

There were also library volunteers like Tammy Stout, a professional face painter, who donated her services for the day. Also on the library lawn were craft stations, a duck pond game, and henna tattoos for teens.

A used book sale took place all day long to benefit the library. The book sale takes place every Wednesday outside of the library. At each event children were given the opportunity to sign up for “Summer Reading at New York Libraries.” Over 200 children and their families participated in the launch festivities.

Local media reported on the launch:

The WatertownDaily Times:


For more information about the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library, please visit

New York State Library

Summer Reading at New York Libraries is funded in part through the Federal Library Services and Technology Act, with funds awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. The New York State Library is a program of the Office of Cultural Education in the New York State Education Department.