Summer Reading Program Up 25 Percent

Summer Reading Program Up 25 Percent
Posted on 07/25/2023
Reading Program at Braden River LibraryUPDATED AUG 1, 2023

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (July 25, 2023) – More than 2,500 local kids are staying engaged with learning this summer through the Manatee County Public Library System’s Summer Reading Program—an increase of 25% over the previous year. Library leaders are pleased to provide this important support to help combat national trends of declining reading scores.

“We are thrilled with the growth of the program,” said Tammy Parrott, Manatee Library’s Library Services Manager. “It is a great way to help beat the ‘summer slide’ while spreading the joy of reading and learning.”

Commissioner Amanda Ballard (District 2) is also delighted to see an uptick in participants. "It is a testament to the hard work of library staff and increasing public outreach. Increased summer reading helps to prevent loss of skills when school is out and helps kids to pass the time in a fun, productive way," said Ballard. 

The Summer Reading Program included prizes, funded by the Manatee Library Foundation, to celebrate reading milestones. Those who completed the final goal of 20 hours of reading won a free book, a free Bradenton Marauders game ticket and a chance at larger grand prizes. Teens received a drawstring backpack when they completed a special teen challenge, on top of these other prizes.

The theme of this year’s program was “All Together Now,” with each Manatee Library location representing a different part of the world, where participants “traveled the world together.” The Summer Reading Program booklet included a mock passport, so children could get their passport “stamped” as they visited different branches. The locations each had themed events weekly, and Manatee Library partnered with community organizations, such as Mote Aquarium, Jungle Gardens and Mad Science, for these events.

“It is wonderful that many of these events include other educational content, like STEM concepts,” said Parrott, “while being fun for children and parents alike.”

All Manatee Library programs are free, eliminating any concerns about cost to parents as well.

A division of the Manatee County Community and Veterans Services Department, Manatee Library has seven locations across the county, with another location opening in Lakewood Ranch in the coming months. In 2022, the system hosted 500,564 visits, and its resources were used over 5 million times.