Today the New York Times is hosting a conversation about summer reading. A lot of other organizations–YALSA, ALSC, Figment, NYPL and the Brooklyn Public Library, the Office of Letters and Light, and more–have joined in the conversation, so here at The Hub, we’re sharing what summer reading means to us.
I have been in a library’s summer reading club since kindergarten. Now I work in youth services, so sometimes it feels like I never stopped participating. Every summer I wrestle with feelings of nostalgia as readers of all ages and their parents approach the desk with near trepidation to ask if the reading program is still on. I cannot imagine a situation in which there would be no SRP, but with tighter budgets and failing levies, I guess it makes sense that they don’t assume. As ubiquitous as libraries themselves, the summer reading program feels like a rare constant and I love it.
— Laura Perenic
I remember the old Pizza Hut summer reading program called Book It! When you signed up you got this awesome holographic button (thank you 90s) and for every book you read you got a sticker. I wore my button everywhere!
On a more library-related note, around 5th or 6th grade I took a summer school class held in the library. I can’t remember what the class was about, but I remember that we kept track of our reading with a paper ice cream cone on the wall with our name on it. Every book we read was another scoop on our cone. My cone got so tall that summer that it began to arch over the ceiling! That was the summer I discovered Tamora Pierce and read all her books in about two weeks.
— Kate Pickett
My most distinct summer reading memory is not a very happy one, sadly. I remember this one summer in high school when I procrastinated on getting my assigned summer reading books because I just kept reading all the fun stuff I wanted to read, and all that was left was Frank Herbert’s Dune and Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Both huge, long, hard-to-read books that I had no interest in at all. *sigh* It was a long couple of weeks at the end of that summer. Thank goodness it didn’t kill my love of reading, but rather reinforced that I just want to be able to choose my own books!
— Jessica Miller
My grandparents own a lake cottage that wasn’t far from where I grew up, so my whole extended family would go up there throughout summer, sometimes just for a day or for a weekend, but sometimes for weeks at a time. There was no Internet connection (there still isn’t!), so we made frequent trips to the nearest library even though we had to pay out-of-district fees to use it.
The library was pretty small, and when I was growing up, none of the libraries I ever visited had specific young adult sections, but they did have a handful of Christopher Pike paperbacks that I read and re-read. Whenever we were headed up to the lake for an extended period, I’d also pack an entire bag of books in addition to my bag of clothes and toiletries! Summer at the lake meant reading.
Even now, when I live 750 miles away and only make it back to the lake about once a year (once summer reading at the library is over!), when I do return, I always have a book or two with me. I swim and enjoy time on the boat and hang out with my family–but I always make time for reading, because summer just doesn’t feel like summer without reading at the lake.
— Gretchen Kolderup
How about you, dear readers? What does summer reading mean to you?
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